CHRIS DYCK has blazed his own trail on the court, but off the court, the 6-foot-3 guard from the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds is proud to follow in the footsteps of another elite basketball player from Winnipeg.
Dyck, 23, was announced on Thursday as the Canada West nominee for the prestigious Ken Shields Award, a national award recognizing excellence in athletics, academics and community service, and a second-team Canadian Interuniversity Sport all-Canadian.
The Shields Award was won last year by Matt Opalko, now a graduate of the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. In 2003, Dyck and Opalko were the top two players coming out of high school in Manitoba.
"The Shields award nomination is one you can be pretty proud of because it's about more than just basketball and it's kind of cool because the national winner of that last year was Matt Opalko and he's one of my best friends," Dyck said in a telephone interview from Vancouver. Dyck is a fifth-year player this year, as he had to sit out a year when he transferred from the University of Manitoba to UBC in 2006.
"Both of us have tried our best to use whatever gifts we've been given to play basketball to try to better the community and impact the people around us," Dyck said, referring to Opalko, who graduated last year. "I know that was a goal of his, and that's a goal of mine also coming to UBC."
Dyck was the leading scorer this season on a deep T-Birds team, with an average of 14 points per game, and one of three captains for the squad, which posted a 21-2 record.
A River East Collegiate graduate, Dyck is eighth all-time in UBC history, with an average of 15.8 points per game, and ranks in the top 15 with 1,594 points after just three years at UBC. It was his third straight year of being named a CIS second-team all-star.
With a 79 per cent average in UBC's Saunder School of Business, Dyck volunteers with Athletes in Action as a coach at camps, with Hoops for Hope (an AIDS awareness program), he organizes Bible study meetings with students, and he represents the basketball team on the Thunderbird Athletic Council.
"Chris has been an exemplary ambassador for UBC and our men's basketball team," UBC head coach Kevin Hanson said. "Obviously, his athletic accomplishments speak for themselves, but what he has done in the community as well as in the classroom makes him so special. He is the definition of a true student athlete."