16th FHC Early Bird Prep Classic won by Orangeville Prep full of High Level Basketball talent

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Another Father Henry Carr Early Bird Prep Classic (16th) has come and gone and as per usual it was a solid event from start to finish. Kudos go out to FHC Prep Sr. Boy’s basketball coach Paul Melnik and staff, students and volunteers who enabled the well organized tournament to go off without a hitch, producing unforgettable highlights while exposing the crowd in attendance in the Father Ted McLean gymnasium and online to the rising talent this country continues to produce. But also, we have to give props to some of the great coaches on the sidelines including the aforementioned Melnik, Gus Gymnopoulos, Kevin Jeffers, Charles Hantoumakos, Cam Nekkers, Kevin Barnes and many more. Players win games but coaches hold it all together. Myself, Elias Sbiet of North Pole Hoops had the pleasure of calling the games on Championship Saturday, of course brought to you by ILLMindsMedia and On Point Basketball.

In case you missed any of the action check out the ILLMindsMedia YouTube page HERE for the archived semi-finals, bronze medal and Championship games.

It’s time to offer my observations of the event.

Congratulations to a super-talented Orangeville Prep squad who went undefeated in the event, culminating in a victory over a very tough and much-improved hosts Henry Carr.

Shamar Rathan-Mayes was excellent all tourney long and took home the MVP with teammate Jevonnie Scott earning a tournament All-Star selection. Keep in mind O-Prep was without high level baller Tyrese Samuel who was in the U.S. on a recruiting visit. Henry Carr’s Josh Morgan, Jalen Menzies and Kobey Lam had solid weekends for the hosts.

Thornlea took home the Bronze medal defeating York Region rivals Vaughan in a game that was a back and forth affair until the Thunder took the game by seven points. Their young force Jahmyl Telfort showed why he is one of the top prospects in the 2020 class. Thornlea was without Keeshawn Barthelemy (injury) in the tournament. Ryan Brooks shouldered the load for the Voyageurs in the Bronze medal game and was stellar throughout the entire event. Vaughan also got solid contributions from Wazir Latiff, Mateo Spencer-Gomes and Tyson Dunn throughout the tournament.

There were some known studs who did their thing but the tournament also brought some lesser known talents to the forefront.

Orangeville Prep’s Shemar Rathan-Mayes (Tournament MVP)

Shamar Rathan-Mayes-2020 PG Orangeville Prep

Rathan-Mayes was incredible throughout the tournament for Orangeville Prep showing a marked improvement in confidence and basketball ability over the last year. He was confident and made all the right plays a lead guard is expected to make, running the show while finding teammates and then scoring in a timely manner. He scored 23pts, 29pts, 15pts and 15pts (20.5ppg avg.) in the 4 games, but more importantly showed why top schools are interested in the younger brother of current pro Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

Grade: A+

Josh Morgan-2020 G FHC Prep

The “Mr. Do It All” for FHC, Morgan was a man possessed in the Henry Carr semi-final win over Vaughan Prep, notching a blistering & tournament-high 40pts en route to a win. He scored from inside and out and used his imposing physique to bully his way to the basket repeatedly while punishing the Voyageurs from the line. What I really admired about Morgan was his tenacity and toughness on defence. He’s just the kind of two-way player any team at the next level would desire. Unfortunately Morgan was hindered a bit by an ankle injury in the Championship game, which he sustained in the semi, but still earned a well-deserved tournament All-Star honour.

Grade: A

Jahmyl Telfort-2020 G Thornlea Prep

Jahmyl Telfort is a Quebec native who has found his place here in Ontario with the Thornlea Thunder. Telfort was dominant throughout the weekend showing an ability to score inside on the block with a plethora of nifty posts moves as well as from midrange and behind the arc. He also, showed the willingness to mix it up inside against the bigs on the opposing teams in the tournament and will be a player to be reckoned with in the OSBA for the remainder of the season. He’s also extremely humble and what will endear him to coaches at the next level is his even keeled demeanour and his “act like you’ve done it before” personality, not getting to low or too high when he’s on the court.

Grade: A

Jevonnie Scott-2019 PF Orangeville Prep

Jevonnie Scott was a highlight reel all weekend, showing his versatility inside the paint with crossover and dunk finishes as well as three pointers over defenders. Scott is a physically intimidating player who had as many positive plays on defence as anyone in the event, notching several big blocks for Orangeville Prep. Scott’s potential is sky-high and will continue to garner high major NCAA Division I interest.

Grade: A

Father Henry Carr’s Jalen Menzies & Josh Morgan (Tournament All-Stars)

Jalen Menzies-2019 PG FHC Prep

Arguably the fastest player in Ted McLean gymnasium, Menzies stands at 6’0″ but plays much bigger and is one of the toughest players on the court. Menzies showed an ability to score, especially out in transition but it was his leadership and tenacious defence that stood out. He battled against all the top guards he faced and showed he can hang with them while leading his team to the finals.

Grade: B+

Ryan Brooks-2019 F Vaughan Prep

Brooks is obviously a very physically dominant player at the High School level and he was a handful to stop inside for the Vaughan Prep Voyageurs. The wide body moves very well and enjoys punishing defenders when he has his back to the basket. But Brooks can also step out and hit jumpers as well as threes which makes him a tough cover for defenders. Vaughan came up short to Thornlea Prep in the semis but through no fault of Brooks who poured in a stellar 35pts in the 89-80 loss.

Grade: A

Shak Price-2019 G Pine Ridge

Price always plays the game with a ton of confidence and swagger. He can shoot the lights out from outside and also isn’t afraid to take it to the hole despite his slender physique. He’s simply a gamer who notched an impressive 27pts for his squad in a preliminary round loss to Thornlea Prep (60-50). Look for Price’s stock to continue to rise as the year progresses while leading the top High School Program in the GTA.

Grade: B+

Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe

Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe- 2020 SG Orangeville Prep

Moncrieffe possesses physical attributes that place him at the upper echelon of athletic perimeter players in this country. He came through with several highlight reel plays in the tournament and continues to use his out of this world athleticism to hinder his opponents defensively throughout the game. Other than needing to be a bit more demanding of the ball at times, Moncrieffe is a player on the radar of a whole lot of Division I NCAA coaches.

Grade: B+

Kobe Elvis- 2020 PG Southwest Academy

Elvis is one of those players you must see in person. He’s an adept ball handler who can get to any place on the court and finishes extremely well in transition. The 2020 player is starting to garner big time attention and put up games of 24pts, 23pts in the prelims as well as a game-high 28pts in the Consolation finals victory over Central Tech Prep. His upside is extremely high.

Grade: B+

Malachi Davis- 2020 PG Central Tech Prep

Davis is a wizard on the court, often making shots that other ballers wouldn’t even dare to take. He’s fearless and a true gamer showing an ability to get to the rack without hesitation as well as let fly long distance bombs from outside the arc. He’s definitely a joy to watch and has nice length at 6’2” for a point guard. He put up 28pts and 22pts in Central Tech’s first two games, which included a tough 77-75 loss to Orangeville Prep in their tournament opener. All eyes will continue to be on Davis as the season progresses.

PLAY OF THE EVENT: Orangeville Prep’s Jefferson Koulibaly’s monster dunk vs. Thornlea Prep in the semi-finals brought the crowd to it’s feet as Koulibaly roared with excitement. That’s the kind of play that fans are used to at the FHC Early Bird Prep Classic. 

Other notables/players to watch:

Cashius McNeilly-Thornlea Prep
Wazir Latiff-Vaughan Prep                                                                                        Kobey Lam-FHC Prep
Tyson Dunn-Vaughan Prep
Raheem Dennis-West Toronto Prep
Caleb Johnson-FHC Prep
Mabenny Nam-Athlete Institute Black
JJ Sedore-Athlete Institute Red
Zaiden Cross-Bill Crothers
Nas Robert-Central Tech
Kalyem Liburd-Mullings-Central Tech
Derrell Mclaughlin-Perreira-Lincoln Prep
Jefferson Koulibaly-Orangeville Prep
Justice Prentise-Orangeville Prep
Ziphion Grant-Thornlea Prep
Brian Heileman-Athlete Institute Black                                                                      Thow Biel-Thornlea Prep                                                                                        Caleb Atewe-Vaughan Prep                                                                                      Miles Hall-Pine Ridge                                                                                            Darnelle Peddie-Pine Ridge

Written by Drew Ebanks

Photos by Mariam Konate

Toledo Rockets looking to get back to the dance with the help of Canadian Keshaun Saunders

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Back in March of 1980, President Jimmy Carter announced that the US would boycott the Summer Olympics just a few weeks after American’s famed “Miracle on Ice” where they won the gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. March of 1980 was also the last time the University of Toledo played in the NCAA Tournament.

Toledo had an impressive 2017-18 season going 23-11 and making it to the MAC (Mid-American Conference) Conference championship game against Buffalo only to lose to the Bulls with their conference Player of the Year Tre’Shaun Fletcher sitting on the sideline watching after injuring his knee in the semi-final.

“I still haven’t gotten over it but it motivates us every day to get back to that game”, said ninth-year Rockets head coach Tod Kowalczyk.

However, every new season is an opportunity to create new history and Kowalczyk is confident in his squad that returns 6 of their 8 top scorers. He has also brought in some immediate impact players that could get Toledo over the hump to win that elusive MAC Championship.

Chris Darrington is a 6’1 senior guard who transferred from Tennessee and was granted eligibility to play immediately which will be massive boost to an already talented Toledo team.

6’4 sophomore guard Spencer Littleton is a transfer from Duquesne who sat out last year but will be expected to contribute this season and still has three years of eligibility remaining.

Kowalczyk also came north of the border to Canada to help bolster his Toledo squad and signed Orangeville Prep’s Keshaun Saunders.

Saunders is a 6’5 guard from Brampton was a two-time OSBA All-Star who was selected to play in this year’s Bio Steel All-Canadian game.

“Offensively he’s a very good scorer but I think he can be a special defender and he’s a guy with versatility that can play numerous positions for us”, said Kowalczyk.

 

Kowalczyk’s signing of Saunders was part of a strategy to spend more time recruiting players in the Toronto area. He said, “We’re three and a half hours away from Toronto and I didn’t think we’d recruited that area hard enough and we made a conscious effort to get up there more.”

Saunders will be allowed time to ease into his role at Toledo with such a deep roster of upperclassmen led by 6’4 senior guard Jalean Sanford who is the team’s leading returning scorer averaging 16.3 points per game last year and has started all 100 games he’s played in for Toledo.

The level of talent in MAC basketball is perhaps at its peak in the conference’s 72-year history.

Although Toledo is considered a very strong contender to win the conference they will also be pushed by the likes of Eastern Michigan, Ball State, Miami and the defending champion Buffalo Bulls who also return many of their key pieces from last year’s squad that upset DeAndre Ayton and his Arizona Wildcats in the NCAA tournament before he went on to be selected with the No.1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft.

Kowalczyk said, “The team that stays together, stays consistent and healthy will have the best chance to win.”

If there was ever a good time to break the 38-year drought of not making it to the NCAA tournament now is as good a time as ever for Tod Kowalczyk and his Toledo Rockets.

Do you believe in Miracles?

Written by Chris McKee

Chris Boucher’s monster game helps Raptors 905 to a thrilling 126-125 win over Delaware

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(Mississauga, On) While the Raptors prepare for Lebron James and his Lakers, there was home opener right next door to Toronto. In the City of Mississauga, more commonly known as Sauga, the Raptors 905 hosted their season opener against the Delaware Blue Coats in the newly named Paramount Fine Foods Centre (formerly Hershey Centre).

All three Canadians – Myck Kabongo, Duane Notice and Chris Boucher – saw court time; 12:56, 29:55 and 35:51 minutes, respectively. Boucher, the Raptors two-way player from Montreal, has already seen a sliver of NBA court time against the Milwaukee Bucks, and yesterday afternoon, he let his game do the talking.

His game screamed NBA-ready, finishing with a monstrous 33 points, 14 boards (six offensive rebounds), four assists, three steals and three blocks. There was nothing Boucher couldn’t do.

“I’m obviously part of the (Toronto Raptors) and when they need me, they’ll call me. I’m focusing on what I have to do here,” said Boucher about his urgency to play with the parent team.

“I’m on the 905 right now, playing for them. We’re trying to win as much as we can, and whenever the Raptors are ready to call me, they’ll call me.”

The 905 trailed 36-32 after the first quarter. Led by Boucher and Notice, the 905 outscored Delaware 40-29 in the following frame. It was a back-and-forth affair for the majority of the quarter, but Boucher led his team on a 7-2 run to close out the final 90 seconds of the second.

Boucher got to the line and made both free throws, completed an and-1, stole the ball, saved a loose ball from going out of bounds, and threw it into Kyle Collinsworth’s hands for an easy dunk.

Canadian content on the 905 shined in the second frame; Boucher had 14 and Notice 10. Notice completed an and-1, hit a corner three assisted by Boucher, and made two layups, one after stealing the ball out of Delaware’s passing lanes.

The third quarter, however, was a different story. The 905 got off to an atrocious start, Delaware going on a 12-0 run. Norvel Pelle (14 total points on 7-for-8 shooting, 12 rebounds and three blocks) and Demetrius Jackson (34 total points on 50% shooting, 13 assists and six rebounds) scored a combined 11 points.

The 905’s weakness, their defensive transition, was exposed.

“We gotta get back. We can’t allow so many easy layups at the hoop,” said Head Coach Jama Mahlalela, reflecting on the game afterwards.

“That’s gonna be the first step and then just figuring out what our switching package and our pick-and-roll packages (are).”

Despite a weak defensive third quarter, two-way player Jordan Loyd came to life, scoring eight. Loyd, who had the game’s highlight dunk in the first quarter, kept the 905 deficit within four by hitting a triple, a layup, and assisting Boucher’s dunk.

With 6:10 left in the fourth quarter, the 905 were down by 10 points, 118-108. Unabated, the 905 fought back in the contest.

Notice hit a triple and Boucher followed suit. Though Boucher had a much quieter offensive second half with 11 points, he rose to the occasion when the stakes were high. After stealing the ball, he took the ball coast-to-coast and drew a foul. He made both free throws with 01:52 on the clock, trailing by three points.

Deng Adel then hit a clutch three to tie the game 122 apiece. He had a total 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting, three rebounds and two assists.

The 905 found luck on their side in the dying seconds as Delaware missed key free throws. Delaware’s Jackson missed a free throw with 37.9 seconds on the clock, and it was still a one-possession game (Delaware led 125-122). Loyd then drew contact and hit both free throws to make it 125-124 Delaware.

Down by only one point, Boucher intentionally fouled Delaware’s Haywood Highsmith. Miraculously, he missed both despite going 3-for-3 from the charity stripe beforehand. Delaware forward Jonah Bolden ripped down the offensive board and they took a timeout. But Loyd stole the ball on their inbound play, and drew a foul. He iced a pair of two clutch free throws, giving the 905 in a slim  126-125 lead. Delaware failed to answer back on the ensuing possession, as the 905 eked out a nailing-biting one-point win at home.

The 905 will have four days off before their first game of a back-to-back, and Coach Mahlalela will use this time to study and prepare.

“There’s a ton now that we’re going to start to analyze and look (at). And you need a real game to tell you what you really need to work on. So we’ll watch the film and figure it out the next few days,” he said.

The Raptors 905 will return home to Paramount Fine Foods Centre on Friday, November 9th. They will tip off against the Long Island Nets at 7:30 PM for Affiliate Night. Some Toronto Raptors players are expected to be attending.

MORE CANADIAN CONTENT ON THE SIDELINES

Not only was this home opener the first Raptors 905 game for three Canadian players and seven Canadian coaches, including Coach Mahlalela.

Former NBL Canada player and University of Ottawa Gee Gees graduate, Warren Ward, also debuted as a colour commentator on the Raptors 905 broadcast team.

“The first five minutes, I won’t lie to you, I was nervous,” he admits. “I was very nervous. I wanted to do a good job.”

Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard and Canadian Nik Stauskas has been on air during the NBA offseason. Ward followed similar path, sidelined from playing professionally in Spain due to injury.

“It’s just my way of staying involved in the game,” said Ward. “I don’t think basketball players should put themselves in a box whether you play at a high level or you don’t. You can do anything…I think if you’re smart enough to (play basketball), you’re smart enough to do anything else.”

Written by Teru Ikeda exclusively for On Point Basketball

Photo by Cam Bartlett (snappedbycam)

 

10 Players to watch in the OSBA for 2018-19

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The 2018-19 OSBA season is underway and several players have already begun to stand out from the crowd. Orangeville Prep is once again the most dominant team in Ontario and they look poised to regain the OSBA championship from TRC Academy who were the 2017-18 champs. Orangeville is loaded with future NCAA stars but they are not the only program in the OSBA who will send numerous players to play at the next level.

Here are 10 current players in the OSBA you have to see play in person this season.

Tyrese Samuel – Orangeville Prep 6’8 PF – Class of 2019

Samuel is rated as a 4-star recruit by multiple recruiting services. He is fielding a host of offers from some of the bigger schools in the Unites States including Georgetown, Seton Hall, UConn, South Carolina, Wake Forest and a dozen more. He played for Team Canada this summer at the U18 FIBA America’s Championship and is playing his final season at Orangeville Prep after spending last season in Utah at Wasatch. He’s big, physical and fast and will be an immediate impact player for whatever NCAA school he chooses. You’ll be watching him on ESPN and CBS at this time next year.

Shemar Rathan-Mayes – Orangeville Prep – 5’11 PG – Class of 2020

Rathan-Mayes is the floor general for the most explosive team in Canada with the entire offence running through him. He has the highest basketball IQ of any player in the OSBA and has the poise and composure of a fifth-year NCAA senior. Rathan-Mayes is exceptionally quick and has a motor that simply never stops while making everyone else on the floor look good. His older brother Xavier starred at Florida State and made his NBA debut last season with the Memphis Grizzlies. Shemar spent the summer playing for Team Canada’s U17 squad and is fielding offers from the likes of Yale, Columbia, Fresno State and more.

Sabry Phillip – TRC Academy 6’5 SG – Class of 2019

Phillip has already committed to play at the University of San Diego next season which is an absolute steal for that program. Phillip is originally from Edmonton which is why he has been a little under the radar prior to this season. He is flat out the best athlete playing in the OSBA this year. The second you walk into the gym his athleticism literally jumps out at you. Phillip has the ability to become an all-conference talent at the NCAA level.  

Rahmir Moore – RISE Prep – 6’5 PG – Class of 2019

Moore is a Philadelphia native who came to Canada last year to increase his chances of playing NCAA basketball (which was unthinkable 15 years ago). He was just named OSBA Player of the Month for October after averaging 30.8 PPG. He is the most underrated player in the league who should be receiving more NCAA interest. He can shoot from anywhere in the gym, plays tenacious defence and makes every one of his teammates better just by being on the floor. He can be a four-year starter for any number of NCAA teams if given the opportunity.

Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe – Orangeville Prep 6’7 SF – Class of 2020

Alexander-Moncrieffe is a freakishly athletic forward who could play four different positions at the NCAA level. He is rated as a 4-star recruit by multiple recruiting services and will no doubt up his rating to a 5-star at some point this season. He is fielding offers from likes of Florida, Arizona State, Georgetown and Seton Hall among others. Although he is listed at 6’7, he plays much longer with some of the longest arms you’ll ever see on a player. His athleticism enables him to jump out of the gym and he has vastly improved his ball handling ability this season which allows him to dominate any player he faces one-on-one. Alexander-Moncrieffe has NBA potential.  

Luka Sakota – King’s Christian – 6’5 SG – Class of 2019

Sakota just announced that he has committed to play next season for Harvard University. He has the talent to play for a major conference NCAA team but made the wise decision of getting an Ivy League education while having the chance to play high-level basketball as well. He played for Canada at the U17 and U16 level the past two summers and is one of the most dominant players in the OSBA.

Coleman Stucke – King’s Christian – 6’6 SF – Class of 2020

Stucke is fielding a host of offers, which include Ivy League schools Harvard and Princeton among others. He plays much longer than his 6’6 frame and is a nightmare to defend because he can shoot from anywhere in the gym or attack the basket and dunk at will over his opponent. Stucke plays with the poise and maturity of a player 10 years older than he is and he can surprise defenders with his quick first step and athleticism. 

Keeshawn Barthelemey – Thornlea SS – 6’3 PG – Class of 2020

Barthelemey is one the smoothest players you’ll ever see on a basketball court. At times, it looks as though he is wearing ice skates on the court as he glides past a defender while attacking the basket. He can shoot from range, attack the rim and can dominate defenders much bigger than him because of his speed and athleticism. He played this summer for Team Canada’s U17 squad and has started to receive offers from the likes of Arizona State and more.

Joe Jones – Orangeville Prep – 6’9 C/F – Class of 2019

Jones is the most physically dominant player in the OSBA. He was one of the best defenders in the OSBA last year but he spent the summer working on the offensive side of his game with amazing results. When Jones puts the ball floor and attacks the basket he’s likes a Mack truck and defenders simply clear out of his way. Jones is the younger brother of Greg Oden who was the No.1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft (ahead of Kevin Durant). Scouts unfairly compare Jones to his older brother’s skill level but in the early part of the 2018-19 season he looks to have brushed those comparison’s aside and is creating his own identity on the court. Jones will be a dominant player at the NCAA level and can play both center and power forward.

Jahleel Hilts – Southwest Academy – 5’10 PG – Class of 2020

Hilts is a throwback because he is one of the few players in today’s game who loves to play defence. Some of his teammates at Southwest are receiving more attention from NCAA schools but Hilts is a guy who simply never stops competing. He is one of the best man-to-man defenders in the OSBA who frustrates his opponents because he doesn’t allow them an inch of space through all 40 minutes of the game. He has a quick first step and can shoot from range and he is an absolute pleasure to watch compete on the basketball court.

Written by Chris McKee

Photo by Mariam Konate

Raptors 905 Announce Opening Day Roster that includes three Canadians

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(Mississauga, On) Raptors 905, the NBA G League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors, announced Thursday its roster for the 2018-19 season.

Leron Black, Bryson Scott, Kethan Savage and Andre Washington were waived to reduce the roster to 12 players.

Three Canadians are on the opening night roster including two-way player Chris Boucher (Montreal, PQ), open tryout players Myck Kabongo (Toronto, ON) and Duane Notice (Woodbridge, ON).

Canadian & former Texas Longhorn Myck Kabongo

In addition to Kabongo and Notice, Khadeem Lattin and Uche Ofoegbu crack the final roster through the open tryout process. Three players return to Mississauga for a second season; Malcolm Miller (2017-18), Roger Moute a Bidias (2017-18) and Christian Watford (2016-17). A complete roster can be found below

Courtesy Raptors 905

Photos Courtesy Raptors 905

Ryerson Rams men’s and women’s teams complete double against the Guelph Gryphons

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Ryerson Rams forward J.V. Mukama attacks the basket against the Guelph Gryphons in a 96-59 victory.

Both the Ryerson Rams men’s and women’s basketball teams entered Wednesday night’s matchups versus the Guelph Gryphons ranked second in the USports National Top 10 Basketball Rankings, released this past Tuesday.

WBB: Ryerson 74 Guelph 59

Cara Tiemens led the Ryerson Rams with 15 points, with Bronwyn Williams adding in 14 points and 8 rebounds, as the Rams overcame a second half ten-point deficit to earn their second win of the season.

The Guelph Gryphons came into the game undefeated through two games, and perhaps using that momentum, outscored the Rams 22-8 in the second quarter to jump to a 33-26 lead heading into halftime. Fourth-year Gryphons guard Sarah Holmes scored 11 of her 17 points in the first half, including three 3-pointers, helping Guelph gain the early edge.

The Gryphons did not show signs of slowing down, as they opened up the third quarter on a 5-0 run led by fourth-year forward Ivana Vujadinovic, who finished the game with 16 points, three steals, and three 3-pointers.

Rams Coach Carly Clarke quickly went to Hayley Robertson in place of Tiemens after two minutes in the third quarter, eventually pairing the two guards to play out the rest of the game. The adjustment worked, leading the Rams on a 13-2 run to help regain the lead for the first time since the 4:53 mark in the second quarter.

“We just tried to go a little bit smaller and open the floor up,” Clarke said after the game. “Guelph was a little bit smaller and that changed our matchups defensively a little bit and allowed us to get going under the rim with our guards a little bit more.”

Second-year Ryerson Rams guard Marin Scotten guarded by Guelph Gryphons guard Burke Bechard.

The Rams’ rebounding was a key component to earning their win. While the team out-rebounded the Gryphons 54-32, it was especially on the offensive glass where the Rams managed to disrupt their opponents, who entered the game as the top offensive rebounding team in the OUA.

Ryerson’s defence also held Gryphons leading scorer and the 2017-18 OUA All-Rookie Bechard to 11 points on 5-14 shooting from the field.

“I think we guarded her with a bunch of different people,” Clarke said. “She’s a great offensive rebounder so we keyed in on that and just tried to make things difficult for her.”

Added Clarke, “I think we have some length that can disrupt her at the rim and we thought we did a pretty good job of that tonight.”

Yusuf Ali attacks the basket for the Ryerson Rams against Malcolm Glanville of Guelph

MBB: Ryerson 96 Guelph 59

The Ryerson Rams opened up the first quarter on a 27-10 run against the Guelph Gryphons and never looked back.

Tanor Ngom and Myles Charvis led the Rams with 17 points each, with J.V. Mukama adding in 14 points as the Rams cruised to their second win of the season.

Senior guard Tommy Yanchus led the Gryphons with 14 points and second-year forward Rasheed Weekes added 13 points and four rebounds.

Although the Gryphons took the early lead to start the game, the Rams eventually found their rhythm, taking a 44-27 lead heading into halftime.

The Rams played to their depth Wednesday night, leading a balanced attack with five players scoring in double-digits and six players logging more than 20 minutes.

“It’s tough to defend when you have so many weapons on any given night,” Associate Head Coach Borko Popic said after the game. “Different guys can step up, and tonight it was kind of a mixed, combined effort.”

Gryphons leading scorer Malcolm Glanville was limited by Ryerson’s one-on-one and help defences, scoring just five points and converting only one of 13 field goal attempts.

Through a combination of physical gameplay and frustration, the game took an unsuspected turn in the third quarter, where both teams entered the bonus with barely three minutes of play coming out of halftime.

To the dismay of the Wednesday night crowd in the Mattamy Athletic Centre, a total of 22 fouls were called within the 10-minute quarter (14 fouls against Guelph, 8 fouls against Ryerson). The Rams eventually outscored the Gryphons 34-20 from the free throw line by the end of the game.

“It was a physical game, and lots of fouls both ways,” Popic said. “We ended the night with 20 fouls, they ended up with 33. So it’s hard to find rhythm when there’s that many fouls, but again, both teams were physical so deservedly there’s going to be a lot of whistles.”

Both the Ryerson Rams men’s and women’s teams will face the Algoma Thunderbirds on November 3rd at the Mattamy Athletic Centre starting at 12:00pm.

Written by Trung Ho

Photos by Trung Ho

The 2018 Father Henry Carr Sr. Early Bird Prep Classic features 12 elite teams

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It’s that time again as one of the most anticipated events in GTA Boys basketball is upon us, the 16th annual Father Henry Carr Sr. Early Bird Prep Classic.

The event starts on Thursday November 1st and ends on Saturday November 3rd in the Father Ted McLean Gymnasium.

The 12-team field includes the hosts Father Henry Carr as well as Orangeville Prep, Vaughan, Thornlea, Central Tech, Athlete Institute, Pine Ridge and a lot more exciting squads.

Look out for players such as Keeshawn Barthelemy, Matthew Alexander-Moncreiff, Tyrese Samuels, Jevonnie Scott, Josh Morgan, Wazir Latiff, Cashius McNeilly, Shak Pryce, Ryan Brooks, Nas Robert, Jalen Menzies and more as there are a plethora of high-level players ready to hit the hardwood.

On Point Basketball is proud to partner with Father Henry Carr Head Coach, leader and mentor Paul Melnik as well as Zayne Wiilliams of Ill Minds Media to livestream broadcast the two semifinals games on Saturday November 3rd (12:30pm & 2pm), the Bronze medal game (5:00pm) and of course the Gold medal game at 6:30pm. On Point Basketball founder and CEO Drew Ebanks will call the play-by-play during the stream.

If you’re ready to see incredible team play, sensational individual highlights and take in one of the best basketball atmosphere’s in the city and perhaps the country make sure you check out the Early Bird Classic! On Point will definitely be ON LOCATION.

Broadcast Schedule

Written by Drew Ebanks

Niagara University basketball ready to turn the corner.

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You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes – A.A Milne

The Niagara Purple Eagles seem to have to been sitting in their part of the forest for the better part of the past decade. Niagara University has only had two winning seasons over the past 10 years and they haven’t made an appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2007.

Although last years 19-14 record under sixth year head coach Chris Casey wasn’t the stuff of national headlines like a man travelling in a barrel over the Niagara Falls, it certainly was reason for optimism for Purple Eagles fans throughout the Niagara region.

Casey began his coaching career as an assistant at Central Connecticut back in 1986 and has coached at every level of college basketball throughout his 32-year career.

After five seasons of building, Casey looks to have turned the corner with his program and has his Purple Eagles squad in a position to be in the middle of the fight for the MAAC title come March.

Casey said, “You always have to go through things to get good at them.”

Many teams in college basketball end up taking on the personality of their head coach. Casey is likeable, charismatic and as hard working as they come which he says was instilled in him by his late father and is evident by his grind throughout the coaching ranks before landing the job at Niagara.

 

After a solid 2017-18 season, Niagara looks poised for a breakout year and will be led on the floor by a trio of upperclassmen.

6-foot-7 senior forward Marvin Prochet led the conference in total rebounds and defensive rebounds as well as double-doubles and he should be in contention for all-conference accolades by the end of the season along with 6-foot-8 senior forward Dominic Robb who played in 33 games last year and was second in the MAAC in blocks with 48.

5-foot-10 junior guard James Towns will also be counted on heavily this season to be an impact player. Casey said, “He’s getting the keys to the car and I expect him to step into a prominent role.”

Casey also pointed to several youngsters on his roster to be key contributors including freshmen guards Dominik Fragala and Raheem Solomon. Fragala was the leading scorer in the state of Virginia during his senior year of high school while Solomon led his high school to three state titles.

Niagara will also feature incoming Canadian freshman Steve Levniac who was part of the 2018 OSBA champions TRC Academy in Brantford, ON.

“Our goal is the same every year and that is to win the conference and get to the NCAA tournament,” said Casey.

For the first time in many years there seems to hope and optimism surrounding the Niagara program and that conviction and belief starts at the top with Casey and has trickled down to the players and students at Niagara University.

Watch out for the Purple Eagles to be legitimate contenders to win the MAAC and make a push towards the NCAA tournament come March.

 

Written by Chris McKee

Photo courtesy of Niagara University Purple Eagles

Ryerson Rams Men’s and Women’s teams get sweep vs. U of T Blues

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The Ryerson Rams and the University of Toronto Varsity Blues kicked off their OUA seasons Friday night in an all-Toronto matchup at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, with back-to-back games between the Women’s (WBB) and Men’s (MBB) basketball programs.

WBB: Rams 67, Varsity Blues 37

Second-year guard Jama Bin-Edward led the way for the Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team with 13 points and 9 rebounds, with Katherine Follis adding 13 points of her own as the Rams outplayed the Varsity Blues on both ends of the floor Friday night leading to a 67-37 victory.

Charlotte Collyer scored a team-high 11 points for the Varsity Blues, while Fiorella Granda and Christine Jurcau both added 8 points, including two 3-pointers each.

The Rams were missing Sofia Paska tonight due to an injury suffered during a recent exhibition game, but the the three-time OUA first-team all-star will be relied on throughout the season to anchor what has so far been an advantageous front court that possesses a combination of size along with high-percentage shooting around the basket.

Paska, a fifth-year senior, is coming off of a stellar 2017-18 campaign in which she was named OUA first-team all-star and USports second-team All-Canadian averaging 20.3 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game.

The Rams fell short to the Carleton Ravens in last season’s Critelli Cup Playoffs in the quarter-finals, but with the return of Katherine Follis (who has missed games in the past two seasons due to injuries) and the addition of Hayley Robertson (transfer from University of Vermont), the Rams have positioned themselves to make a deeper push this season in the Critelli Cup and USports Final 8.

For the Varsity Blues, Friday night’s game also marked the return of fourth-year forward Collyer, who played only one game last season before missing the rest of the year due to an injury. Collyer is expected to add a presence in the high-post, paint and wing positions for the club. Fourth-year guard Keyira Parkes, who averaged 16.8 points per game in the 2017-18 season, struggled Friday night going 0 for 9 from the field, but will prove to become one of the Varsity Blues’ biggest offensive threats once again.

The Rams are entering a season in which the university will be hosting the USports Women’s Basketball Final 8 in Toronto for the first time since the 1989-90 season.

Jama Bin-Edward of Ryerson drives past U of T defender

MBB: Rams 103, Varsity Blues 51

The Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team wasted no time kicking off their 2018-19 campaign by coming out of the gates with a 19-0 run in the first quarter, leaving the University of Toronto Varsity Blues with little opportunities to recover.

Rams forward Filip Vujadinovic had a game-high 25 points, scoring 5 of 9 from 3-point range, to lead Ryerson to their first victory of the season.

J.V. Mukama scored 16 of his 19 points by halftime, helping to put the game out of reach with a 59-16 lead after two periods. Jayden Frederick and Keevon Small scored 13 points and 10 points, respectively, providing the Rams with athleticism and energy off the bench on both ends of the floor, including a couple of putback dunks as well as defensive stops.

Evan Shadkami, a USport All-Rookie last season, led the Varsity Blues as the only double-digit scorer with 12 points and 3 assists.

Coming off of a silver medal finish in both the OUA Wilson Cup and USport Final 8 in 2018, the Ryerson Rams are expected to make another deep push into the OUA Playoffs and National Championships this season, despite losing Manny Diressa, who led Ryerson with 21.8 points per game.

The Rams have a dominant veteran presence in Mukama, Myles Charvis and Vujadinovic, who all have the ability to shoot from the 3-point line and attack the basket. 7’2” center Tanor Ngom is also expected to have a bigger impact this season as he continues to develop his play around the basket. Ngom was named an OUA All-Rookie last season and became the first-ever USport player to participate in the Nike Basketball Academy this past summer.

Despite Friday night’s large margin of defeat for the Varsity Blues, the team hopes to build off of last season’s 14-10 record and return to the playoffs this upcoming February with the leadership of seniors such as Daniel Johansson, Nikola Paradina and Christopher Barrett.

OUA Friday Night Basketball: Around the League (winner in bold)

Laurention 90 Saint Mary’s 93
Algoma 71 vs Lakehead 69
Laurier 75 vs Brock 84
Queen’s 89 vs York 76
Carleton 87 vs Ottawa 69

Written by Trung Ho

Canadian Presence felt on Raptors 905 Training Camp Roster and Coaching Staff

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The parent team, Toronto Raptors, are off to a 5-0 start. With Kawhi Leonard already exceeding expectations, it’s easy to forget the excitement brewing next door. Mississauga, home of the Raptors 905, developed ‘The Bench Mob’ long before Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Delon Wright and Norman Powell shined under the NBA spotlight.

The Raptors 905 drafted three players this past Saturday and including them, 15 players commenced training camp on Monday. Training camp will be trimmed by five players by November 1stand the 905 roster will be finalized by then.

Four players at the training camp have been selected through the local tryout stream. These include Woodbridge native Duane Notice and Toronto point guard Myck Kabongo as well as American players, Khadeem Lattin and Uche Ofoegbu.

Kabongo cracked the training camp roster and has already played in a total 106 G League games with four different teams. For him, every day will be another tryout, with no guarantees of keeping a G League job.

“What I can control is my attitude,” Kabongo said. “I bring it out every day, every time I step out on the court.”

Kabongo put on a dominating performance at Crown League this past summer. Proving his worth among the upper echelon of Toronto basketball talent, he competed with likes of Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks and AEK Athens guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

“Anytime time I step on the court, I think I’m more than capable of playing. It doesn’t matter if I’m at the park with a bunch of three-year olds. I feel like I belong to play with them and I’m gonna dominate,” said Kabongo, jokingly.

“That’s just the person I am, right…I like playing against the best to see where my game’s at cause I’m someone that always wants to improve. I’m always someone that wants to put the work in.”

Last year, two Canadians, Richard Amardi and Kaza Keane, cracked the 905 roster through open tryouts. Though Amardi was waived in December 2017 to create an opening for forward Fuquan Edwin, Keane lasted the 2017-18 season and recently inked a deal with a Dutch team. Negus Webster-Chan, who made the 2016 open tryouts, was not invited back to training camp this year.

Much like Kabongo, the Canadian coaches on the 905, all seven of them including Head Coach Jama Mahlalela, will be ‘trying out’ and preparing for higher aspirations. For all seven, it will be their rookie season in the G League. Former Head Coach Jerry Stackhouse, who led the 905 to a G League championship in 2017, was promoted to the Memphis Grizzlies as assistant coach and former 905 assistant Nathaniel Mitchell is now a Charlotte Hornets assistant coach.

Mahlalela has Stackhouse’s big shoes to fill, and he recruited domestically to fill his coaching staff.

“I had to find ‘Where’s the best talent for coaching basketball in North America?’” Mahlalela said, explaining his hiring process. “Thankfully, there’s a ton of Canadians that fit that bill (and) to hire Canadians and bring them onto my staff and growing the game that way was important for me.”

Nine Canadians – two players and seven coaches – have spent their professional lives preparing for their opportunities with the 905. All will be pounding on numerous NBA doors, and the Canadian presence on the 905 will be on full display come November.

Raptors 905 Training Camp Roster (per Raptors 905 website)
Training Camp Roster

The Raptors 905 home opener will be at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre (formerly Hershey Centre). They play the Delaware Blue Coats on Saturday, November 3rd at 2:00 PM. 

Written by Teru Ikeda

Photo courtesy Duane Notice/Raptors 905

 

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