2011 Team Ontario Dominated National Championships…Can 2012 repeat?
2011 Team Ontario
|Kaza Keane||6’1||PG||Illinois State|
TORONTO,ON–For those that were in attendance at Humber College last year during the Canadian national championships, complete dominance was witnessed.
An Ontario team playing with a chip on their shoulders, coming off a second-place finish to Quebec in 2010, translated into bad news for the rest of the country.
Talented, no doubt. Big? Without a question. Yet what separated this specific unit was the hunger in their eyes…the goal to claim what they believed was theirs to keep…a gold medal.
“Last year’s team was built from key returners who were on a mission to win gold after winning the silver medal the year before. The pieces added to that team were familiar faces as a group of them were part of the 2009 U15 gold medal team,” explained Head Coach Chris Cheng.
A team composed of a combination of current Canadian junior national team members along with other high level talent; it was a recipe for punishment, one that served up the ultimate dish of Gold.
Duane Notice (JMNT), Henry Tan, Kaza Keane (Illinois State/ JMNT), Agunwa Okolie (Harvard), Marko Pirovic, (JMNT) were some of the names that highlighted a stacked team on a mission.
“That team had experience, talent and leadership. It is difficult to replace the character and talent from that team; however, this year’s squad represents a new motto of skill, heart and toughness,” said Cheng.
The 2011 Ontario team exemplified unity, family, sacrifice and hunger. Each characteristic was evident through every defensive rotation, every ball reversal and every offensive attack.
Team O was relentless on both ends of the floor providing maximum effort on every possession, while consistently wearing down their opponents and putting the nail in the coffin prior to half-time of each game; a dream team of sorts.
But what will the 2012 version of the province’s team look like?
“This year’s team is going to be exciting to coach. I believe with some of the returners we have from last year, they are doing their part sharing the experience, being leaders and setting the tone at our try outs so each player understands what it takes to bring another national championship to Ontario.”
Although the team has not been completely selected, Basketball Ontario will release an 18-man training roster July 5th. It will once again be a tough task for the rest of the country to match up due to the depth factor, however Cheng and company can never be too cautious.
“I dont think we have threats but many challenges ahead, which we are looking forward too as it will make us tougher and more together.”
One challenge for the coaching staff will be to implement the new faces and ensure that the team is gelling, playing in unison. It’s one thing to have a team loaded with talent playing individually, however a refreshing sight to see when the collective talent sacrifices for the sake of the entire team.
Reminiscent of 2011.
2012 Team Ontario Staff
- Head Coach: Chris Cheng
- Ast Coach: Fatih Akser
- Ast Coach: Sherwyn Benn
- Basketball Operations: Bryan Blue
- Mentor Coach: Darrell Glenn
- Team Therapist: Rob Tarulli, Lageishon Mohanadas (ast)