Top Talent in the Nation Collide in Toronto for Canadian National Try Outs!
TORONTO,ON–With elite basketball talent from across the country gathered for the junior and cadet national team try outs at Ryerson University, it was a perfect opportunity for us to get a look at Canada’s basketball future.
The camp started on Thursday with an open try out, where players looked to distinguish themselves in order to be called back for the weekend to join the invitees.
Cadets Called Back
- Corey Johnson
- Daniel Dzierzawski
- Mackenzie Morrison
- Connor Gilmore
- Cassidy Ryan
- Marcus Lewis
- Aaron Ariri
Juniors Called Back
- Mychal Mulder
- Troy Reid-Knight
- Nolan Mackenzie
- Trevon McNeil
- Jean-Victor Mukama
The camp resumed on Friday where the players listed above joined the invited cadet and junior level players. Over the weekend, the coaching staff ran those in attendance through various drills with a particular focus on ball movement and shooting in addition to controlled scrimmages.
- Chris Egi – was the most impressive player throughout the weekend. The 6’8 specimen was as vocal as we have ever seen him, communicating and remaining active on both ends of the floor. Egi already has a year under his belt with the national program and is primed to add another with this year’s U17 team that will play at the World Championships in Lithuania.
- Kevin Zabo– Along with Egi, Zabo played internationally last summer in Mexico. Zabo is expected to be the starting point guard for this U17 team and certainly left his imprint over the weekend. The Quebec representative was able to consistently blow by defenders as well as carry himself with confidence and poise.
- Anthony Pate- Shot the ball with great efficiency which is something we have been accustomed to seeing. However, Pate also brought a great deal of energy on both ends. Defensively he remained low, had active hands and did a great job of shifting laterally. On offence, he was smooth, making no mistake about each movement whether it was a swipe, pump fake or shot.
- Justin Jackson- The youngest player in the cadet group, but certainly not one to overlook. In one of the first drills of the weekend, the interior players and the guards were split up. Jackson, a ninth grader at 6’6 was placed with the guards and throughout the weekend, displayed those traits, namely his vision and passing. Through his young basketball career, even Justin’s father, David has wondered where he has picked up moves like the ‘no-look pass’ which he so often uses. After finding his son studying Magic Johnson’s game online, David found his answer.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes– If you don’t know X, it isn’t too difficult to spot him in the gym. Look for the most polished offensive game on the perimeter, and there he is. Rathan-Mayes was a waterfall in the shooting drills, showing great form, rising for jumpers. He’s made a solid case for the two spot on this junior national team.
- Tyler Ennis– As he pushes the ball, you can see him scanning the floor, understanding all his passing options. Ennis is a true lead guard that looks to pass first and involve his team. Expect him to be an engine for this junior national squad.
- Kaza Keane– Another impressive lead guard is Keane, who was great in the passing lanes picking them off for easy buckets. He was also able to push the pace finding team mates (particularly Agunwa Okolie) in transition for easy buckets. Keane also showed his efficient shooting, knocking down jumpers in the drills with consistency.
- Conor Morgan- A name that might surprise most, and may be overlooked at first due to under-developed physical characteristics. However, Morgan portrayed a nice feel for the game, always seemed to be in the right spots and possesses a very good shooting touch. The UBC commit really impressed showing his versatility which included passing and scoring.
- Mychal Mulder-It will be interesting to see if the 6’5 freak athlete will find a spot on the roster. Although at this point, his offensive game is far from polished, his combination of length and athleticism is eye-popping. Those in attendance witnessed Mulder throw down big time dunks (alley-oops, transition) on a regular basis. He could be utilized as a weapon on the wing for easy buckets, especially if it will be a running team that Coach Rana will construct.
*Andrew Wiggins attended day two but flew back early due to school commitments*
Difficult decisions have already been made, and more will come as the immense talent will be cut down to twelve. Just my two cents.