Leger-dary forward tops Queen’s scoring

Men’s basketball forward Mitch Leger surpasses 1,300 career points to become Queen’s all-time leading scorer

Queen’s forward Mitch Leger, pictured here during the Gaels’ 87-81 win over the Laurentian Voyageurs on Jan. 30, hit a landmark 1,300 points last weekend in Toronto.
Queen’s forward Mitch Leger, pictured here during the Gaels’ 87-81 win over the Laurentian Voyageurs on Jan. 30, hit a landmark 1,300 points last weekend in Toronto.
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Forward Mitch Leger is currently first in the country with 235 rebounds and fourth in the country with 418 points. Leger is the only Queen’s player in the national top-50 for points.
Forward Mitch Leger is currently first in the country with 235 rebounds and fourth in the country with 418 points. Leger is the only Queen’s player in the national top-50 for points.
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Men’s basketball forward Mitch Leger recorded 22 points and 13 rebounds in the Gaels’ 70-62 victory over the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on Sunday, surpassing 1,300 points in his career at Queen’s and making him the highest all-time scorer in the school’s history.

His total places the fourth-year player 24th all-time in OUA career scoring, trailing ex-Ryerson Ram Jan-Michael Nation by just six points with three games left in the regular season.

Leger, a product of Kingston’s Frontenac Secondary School, joined the Gaels four years ago and has evolved to become one of the league’s most dominant forwards, averaging 22 points per game and 12.37 rebounds per game this season. Leger is the only player in the OUA to be averaging a double-double.

Leger said he doesn’t tend to follow his numbers too closely.

“I had no clue that it happened, I read it on the [Queen’s Athletics] website too,” Leger said, laughing. “I think it’s just a product of being given the opportunity to play starting from first year on, getting a lot of minutes and being able to play within an offense that lets me use my skills to help the team. It’s worked out pretty well.”

Leger said he couldn’t take all the credit, acknowledging all of his teammates for their efforts through the years.

“Definitely the four years I’ve been here I’ve been lucky enough to play with a great bunch of guys every year,” he said. “It’s a lot easier when you have guys like Ryan [Hairsine], Baris [Ondul], and Dan [Bannister] and the other guys hitting shots around you and creating more than one threat that the other team has to worry about.”

Since his rookie season, when he weighed a meager 185 pounds, the 235-pound Leger said his strong training regime has allowed him to become a much more complete player.

“The biggest difference for me since I got here was working hard and hitting the weight room so I could be more than a shooter,” Leger said. “I can put the ball inside and I can kick it out when I get there, creating a good net presence.”

Head coach Rob Smart said Leger is part of a core group of players that helped turn the men’s basketball program into a yearly contender.

“He’s probably the guy that’s most important to our team. That’s pretty clear,” he said. “I think Mitch is such a good kid. He’s not extremely vocal, he just works hard at things and leads by example. If you wanted somebody to lead your team, to me he’s the type of person you’d like to see.”

Smart said Leger brings a strong work ethic to the team both on and off the court.

“People that are quiet leaders bring a whole bunch that’s hard to put into words,” he said. “He just plays really hard, and probably plays even harder when the game’s the closest. Bottom line is that we don’t play many games that aren’t close, every point or rebound he gets is in situations in which we really need them. There are definitely no free rebounds or points in his stats.”

The 10-9 Gaels currently sit in a distant third in the OUA East, trailing the nationally-ranked 17-2 Carleton Ravens and the 16-3 University of Ottawa Gee-Gees. The Ravens and Gee-Gees will visit the ARC this weekend in two of the final three games of the season.

“[The season]’s going pretty well,” Smart said. “It would have been nice to win some of the close games but right now we’re in third place and it would be nice to keep third place. Whatever happens, we’ve got to win a playoff game and then we’ll have to win at either Carleton or Ottawa to keep going.”

The Gaels play the Gee-Gees tonight and the Ravens tomorrow at the ARC. Both tip-offs are at 8 p.m.

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