ORANGVILLE, ON–Halloween weekend at the Athlete Institute had bags full of treats; from sweet passes, to hot shooting and monster dunks. Acts and REDA basketball partnered up to present a three day, U18 tournament that gave a lot of names that have been under the radar anopportunity to put themselves on the map.
A new program by the name of TriCounty Basketball, coached by Gabriel Frank and Chad McPherson were successful this past weekend in capturing first place in a win over Oakville Venom, where both teams had a few role players that made a great impact throughout these three days.
Cudjoe Masuka| 6″4 | SF | TriCounty Basketball
While scouting Cudjoe Masuka, one would think that he is taller than 6’4 due to his lanky frame and the fact that he was playing as a power forward. Game after game, he showed how well he could use his long reach to block and alter shots, as well as come up with a few steals. Blessed with natural athletic ability, Masuka is able to throw down dunks with authority, and catch alley-oops. Masuka showed very little of his shooting capabilities, other than a few mid-range jumpers.The ideal fit for a player of his size and stature would be at shooting guard position, as he has the speed to attack from the wings and elevate over defenders, if the opportunity to shoot is not available. It would add great value to his arsenal if he shows that he can handle the ball as well. An increase in Masuka’s overall strength would bring his game to new heights and allow him to complete plays while taking contact. Nevertheless, Masuka is a work in progress and a player that NPH will be keeping tabs on throughout this season. He scored 20 points in the final game to lead all scorers in the championship.
Henry Bankazo | 2013 | 6’1 | PG | St. Mary’s | TriCounty Basketball
Henry Bankazo was one of the point guards that really stood out throughout the course of the tournament because he demonstrated a high IQ. He knew how to control the tempo of the game and showed that he was aware of the shot clock at all times. Bankazo is deceivingly quick and nimble on his toes. While attacking the hoop, defenders had trouble guarding him because of his ability to switch direction so swiftly. Forcing teams to focus on him as he penetrates created large spaces around the basket for his teammates to score as he would pass them the ball in double coverage. Bankazo can become one the sharpest PG’s in the province if he were to shed between 5-10 pounds; a leaner Bankazo will mean a faster guard. A versatility in scoring is an area of his game that could use improvement. As a 2013 guard this year should be the one where he harnesses a quality jump shot that will make him more of an offensive threat. From a defensive standpoint, if Bakazo becomes more lean and flexible, this will allow for a much better, lower and wider athletic stance on defense.
Alex Thompson | 2012 | 6’2 | PG/SG | St. Mary’s | TriCounty Basketball
About to enter his final year at the high school level, Alex Thompson is playing with alot of poise and self-confidence. He attacks the basket ferociously and can finish while taking a hit. His core strength allows for him to manouevre around defenders even after he has left his feet. Thompson leaves everything on the court on every posession with the level of intensity that he consistently plays at. Thompson’s shooting is an area that needs improvement. Much like a few other leaders on the team, he can finish around the rim, but scoring in different ways from outside the paint is where he could use some advancement. Breaking down a defender one-on-one seems to come to Thompon as second nature, however, controlling an offense and getting others involved would be beneficial to his team and his overall purpose as a guard. Thompson is sure to create havoc on the scene if he can continue to display his versatility.
Cory Kenning |2013 | 6’7 | PF | Resurrection C. S. S | TriCounty Basketball
Cory Kenning was one of the only true big men at this tournament. Standing at almost 6’8 he was a force down low as he helped his team gain possessions by accumilating defensive rebounds. His positioning and body are used as a combination to seal out other rebounders. Kenning has a soft touch from within five feet of the basket and finishes effeciently off of rebounds. A more tough and agressive mindset will allow for him to explore different means of scoring such as, using his size by backing his man into the post. Conditioning throughout this season will prove to be crucial in enhancing his moves around the basket as well as footwork and speed. Kenning may very well grow another inch or so in height, but will need to shed weight from 240 lbs. A thinner physique will allow him to be more swift when facing up to opponents; as most of his offensive game is played with his back to the basket.
Jack Daneyko | 6’5 | SG | A. N. Myer | Grimsby
At the high school level it is rare to see student-athletes that stay mentally composed in tight games and don’t argue when bad calls are made. In Jack Daneyko’s case, he seems to be in complete control. Daneyko is a fierce competitor that can hurt an opponent in many ways. His three point shooting from the corners was shown off all weekend. From other spots, he demonstrated deep range shooting two feet away from the perimeter. An area that needs improvement is when he is driving to the cup. One too many times, Daneyko would shy away from the contact, which was detrimental to his finish because he wasn’t getting calls from the referees that he would have had he been attacking head on. In his situation, avoiding contact proved to be creating a more difficult shot for himself. Putting on muscle mass and gaining overall strength throughout this season will instill more confidence in this area. Moreover, Daneyko has the athletic ability to throw down dunks. He also contributes to creating scoring opportunities for others. If JD get stronger and straps up on his handles he can be a deadly threat from the wing.
Tremell Mayers| 2012 | 6’2 |PG | St. Martin’s (Mississauga) | Oakville Venom
Perhaps the most improved player over the years, from the athletes that participated in this event; Mayers is determined to create a buzz for himself this year. After spending some time training with recent Iowa State commit, Naz Long, he realizes and accepts the work that is ahead of him. He is coming off a year of playing as a SG, a position he is very comfortable in, as he can hit from long range as well as a few feet inside the perimetre; he has found a better fit as PG. One of his best attributes is his willingness to learn new things and increase his IQ. Furthermore, when he develops a new skill he leeches onto it. In the past two years his body has went through a complete transformation, turning a thin frame into what is now a solid base that is capable of scoring in a variety of ways. The fact that he is unselfish with the ball makes him a playmaker as well as a scorer. Overall, Mayers is a well packaged guard who is sure to climb into the rankings. The key features that will take him over the hump lie within his speed and athleticism.
Gentrey Thomas | 2013 | 6’3 | PG | REDA
Gentry Thomas was one of, if not the most explosive guards in the event. This can be attributed to the endless training that he partakes in, coupled with a low and ready stance that allows him to catch defenders off guard. The chances of stopping him from getting to the hoop if he beats someone of the first step are very slim. Since he is already a more than decent shooter, adding tools such as a stop and pop would be very valuable to his skill set as it will provide opportunity to create a shot for himself. We are very interested in catching more of Thomas in the near future.
Abednego Lufile | 2013 | 6’7 | SF | REDA
We like to think of him as an unstoppable force within his age group. His size and strength mark a clear separation between himself and the other small forwards in his class. Currently ranked at 20, in the 2013 national rankings, there is a good chance that he will escalate as he improves his perimeter game. One of the many attractions having to do with his game is his propensity in running the floor from a wing. Since he is a speedy small forward he makes it easy for his guards to find him in transition. Lufile has also shown his ball handling abilities on various occasions.