AAU: They Came, They Saw, They Conquered: Pitt Jam Fest
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PITTSBURGH, PA–As documented previously on NPH, over 100 Canadian prospects attended the Pittsburgh Jam Fest to take part in one of america’s largest AAU events.
Out of 13 Canadian teams, three left with championship hardware as two Grassroots Canada teams captured championships, both their U16 and U14 teams, while CIA Bounce took home the U15 GOLD bracket title.
Coaches on the victories:
Anthony “Huggy” Otto– “It’s a good feeling always to win a championship, but especially for the younger boys the 14U it shows them what they’re capable of, it kind of sets the pace for the summer. For the 16U, it’s expected whether we’re shorthanded or full team to come out and represent. We had one bad game yesterday and kind of took a slap for it but they made up for it and came through.”
“They put themselves on the map and that’s what we set out to do in the semi-final game. Last night we had a team meeting and we talked about taking name, that’s what we’ve been doing for years. We take the big name guys and let them know we can play against them. So they played against Horace Spencer the #1 player in the nation and know we got people scratching their head saying hold on’ is this the number 1 guy or is it this guy’ and they convincingly got a W.
Jamar Ergas made his mark along with his U14 convincingly, defeating a strong team led by America’s #1 player in the nation, Horace Spencer. In their first game, Ergas registered a ridiculous 38 points and 14 dunks.
“They know now that they can play against the best players in America and that carries a lot of weight for all of them…they realize that they can become the best themselves”.
Team Takeover Canada
The Team Takeover Canada/ CIA Bounce program were able to obtain the U15 championship in the GOLD bracket. This squad hosts an extremly deep roster, leading the way were Malcolm Duvivier and Tyrell Green. This unit will be a force to be reckoned with all summer long on the AAU circuit. Every age level is beginning to click, and have been progressing with time, especially in terms of chemistry.
Coach Tony McIntyre:
“It’s all about getting the kids to buy in an realize it’s not about them, its about each of them. You know, it took some time and we’ve exercised it from the start and they know if it’s not going to be about that, they’re not playing. I’d rather lose the talented players than sacrifice the chemistry on the team right now”
PHOTO COURTESY: Mike Morrison
All three age levels played in the GOLD brackets; the U17 team lost in the semi-finals to a gritty Team Takeover DC squad, while the U16 were defeated in the championship finals.
Overall, the team went 1-3 in terms of championships, which the program is likely disappointed with based on their high standards. However, in actuality each team was dominant throughout the weekend.
Anthony Bennett, Naz Long, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Tyler Ennis, Maclom Duvivier, Tevin Findlay, were a few of the notables at the tournament.
Directed by former St Bonaventure Bonnie, Vidal Massiah, the Northern Kings are on the rise and poised on becoming an elite team in Canada, if not already.
It was the first time witnessing the Kings on the circuit, and they definitely did not disappoint! NK have some major prospects on their rosters including Matthew Atewe, James Sylvester and Emmanuel Owootoah just to scratch the surface.
Windsor Riverside Falcons
Windsor really surprised a lot of people including myself as I did not expect them to make it all the way to the finals. 6’1 G Antoine Chandler, 6’9 Evan Matthews and 6’0 G Shavon Gayle led the way for the falcons. Ratko Repac, Kyle Osborne, Markus Pelger and Chance Hallas had solid contributions in championship game.
It should be noted that this team features a University freshman (Windsor) in Evan Matthews. Windsor competed in the OPEN bracket therefore the age category being U19. The falcons nearly earned themselves a SILVER Bracket championship but ended up losing 63-62 in OT
I look forward to watching more of his team in the near future. NOTE: Windsor commit Junior Osontula is on the roster however was absent for the week.
The Wildcats had a disappointing showing this time around, however star Guard Justin Edwards did make an appearance for whitby. Edwards will have a busy week of travel as he will make visits to potential post-secondary suitors, including a trip to Milan, Italy this Thursday with a USA Select team.
Stay tuned tomorrow for NPH player evaluations and find out who performed at the highest level!!