Familia nets second consecutive Mr. Basketball award

Ryan Blevins
By Ryan Blevins February 26, 2016 10:55

Familia nets second consecutive Mr. Basketball award

Isaiah Familia (right) rests during an early season game during the Freed's invitational tournament

Isaiah Familia (right) rests during an early season game during the Freed’s invitational tournament

By Ryan Blevins

The Windsor Essex County Secondary School Athletic Association’s Most Valuable Player award is returning to a familiar face.

February is award season for WECSSAA basketball. Just as the NBA hands out awards at the end of the season for MVP or All-NBA first team so does WECSSAA. These awards are voted on by the coaches during a meeting after the regular season. The Windsor Mr. Basketball award is given to the league’s most valuable student-athlete for that season. In 2015 Holy Names Catholic High School guard Isaiah Familia received the award. Little did Familia know he would go on to win the award again in 2016.

Familia transferred to Holy Names in September 2014 for his senior season following a successful season with the Catholic Central High School Comets. During Familia’s first full senior season at Catholic Central he earned first team all-WECSSAA honours. Seeking a change of scenery and academics, Familia fell into head coach Kyle Kane’s lap.

“In terms of coaching he’s probably the best player I’ve ever coached,” said Kane. “Last year he scored a lot but he played a lot on the perimeter but this year he’s added the element of the inside game.”

The evolution of his game is one that has shaped Familia into the league’s best player. The man known by his teammates as Zeke has made history by becoming only the second player in WECSSAA history to win back-to-back Mr. Basketball awards since Mychal Mulder won the award in 2011 and 2012. Mulder, a Catholic Central graduate, spent some time Vincennes University before transferring to last season’s NCAA runner-up Kentucky Wildcats. The 2015 and 2016 season mark the first time the Windsor Mr. Basketball award called Holy Names home since Rotimi Osuntola Jr. Along with the Mr. Basketball award Zeke also made his third consecutive first team all-WECSSAA team and his second while at Holy Names.

Despite these individual accolades Familia says he would trade it all in for a championship ring.

“Personally I’m more of a team player, instead of having individual goals but I also want to strive for the best,” said Familia. “WECSSAA MVP for two years is nice but the main goal for us is winning WECSSAA and hopefully going on to OFSAA and competing against the best teams in Ontario.”

Unfortunately for Familia and the Knights the WECSSAA championship will escape them for another season. Despite 18 second half points from Mr. Basketball the Knights couldn’t mount a comeback in their semi-final game against the St. Anne Saints. The Saints knocked off the Knights by a score of 67-62 ending Familia’s Holy Names career.

Head coach of the St. Anne Saints basketball team Andy Kiss said he admired Familia’s character as well as his performance following their semi-final matchup.

“I’ve never seen a player that puts the team on his back like Isaiah. You always see Isaiah deliver in the big game and he did tonight,” said Kiss.

Familia carried his team in several games this season scoring 34 or more points four times during the regular season including a 44 point game in the University of Windsor invitational tournament. The Holy Names stat sheet was constantly filled next to Familia’s name. He averaged 28 points, eight rebounds and five assists per game for the Knights while shooting over 50 per cent from the field and over 40 per cent from beyond the three point line.

High school basketball is over for Isaiah Familia and his plans for post-secondary education and playing basketball at the next level are currently up in the air.

Ryan Blevins
By Ryan Blevins February 26, 2016 10:55

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