TORONTO,ON–After glancing at the Team Ontario alumni rosters compiled by U17 Head Coach Chris Cheng & staff, it was a no brainer to be in attendance at Humber College to watch some high level hoops, while getting the opportunity to catch up with many familiar faces.
‘The Underclassmen” opened up a 20-point lead in the first half on their older competition, however ‘The Veterans” turned it up and took over the second half to take a 20-point victory.
Anthony Bennett (UNLV Commit) was the ‘big’ name in attendance…and if it was your first time catching Bennett, he was not too hard to spot. Simply glance in the direction of the 6’8 specimen tearing down the rim…and that’s your guy!
“The experience with Team Ontario was great, that’s where I met Kevin Pangos, Nick Lewis and other guys that I’m really close with that I can call family,” Bennett told NPH.
A player we spotted in the warm ups that was not on the original roster was San Antonio Spurs guard and Team Ontario Alum Cory Joseph! Joined with him was older brother Devoe Joseph, coming off a stellar senior season at Oregon where he posted 16.6 PPG, 3.9 rPG and 2.9 APG.
The last time we saw the Joseph brothers on the same team, they wore green, white and yellow for the Pickering High Trojans where they won back-to-back AAAA OFSAA championships.
The brothers will be taking part in NBA summer league in Vegas this month, where Cory will look to continue earning respect in the pro ranks, while Devoe hopes to crack an NBA roster for the upcoming season.
Other former high school teammates in attendance were Eastern Commerce Saints Tyler Murray, Keaton Cole and Alex Hill who went to war against the aforementioned Joseph’s and Pickering Trojans of 2007 and 2008. Murray helped lead his Wagner Seahawks to a 25-6 NCAA record and was the third leading score on the team, posting 12 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 2.1 APG.
Cole (Western Carolina) completes his NCAA career at Western Carolina while Alex Hill (University of Toronto) will continue his CIS career next season.
Murphy Burnatowski (Waterloo, ON) looked great as he was nailing long range jumpers with consistency and unexpectedly drove baseline for a two-hand jam on two defenders! We are looking forward to continue tracking Burnatowski’s progress as he enters his senior year at Colgate (NCAA).
Standouts for the Underclassmen were Anthony Bennett (UNLV) & Kaza Keane (Illinois State). Bennett put on a dunking clinic highlighted by a two-hand tomahawk monster jam while Kaza Keane shot the ball with efficiency and created for his teammates in transition.
Although both teams weren’t at full intensity 100% of the time, it was great to see how the younger players reacted against older competition when things got interesting throughout a portion of the second half.
Team Ontario U17 Intersquad Game
Following the alumni game, things got a little more serious as Coach Cheng pitted the Ontario U17 hopefuls against CIS competition, which included current PRO and former York star Tut Ruach, Michael Acheampong (Victoria) & Mark Perrin (Trinity Western) to name a few.
The U17’s went neck and neck with their competition and ended up losing by only four points. The intensity level was at a maximum with each player giving everything on each possession. The defending champions will look to keep the title in Ontario come August, and the hunger was ever so evident.
The U17 Ontario roster has yet to be decided on, and it was a great way for the coaching staff to evaluate strengths and weaknesses. A few names that come to mind after watching them compete: Connor Gilmore (6’7 F), Cassidy Ryan (6’7 F), Juwan Miller (5’11 PG).
Stay tuned on NPH as the Team Ontario Roster will be announced this week!