ORANGEVILLE, ON–As if a snow storm was going to stop us from getting to the most anticipated Canadian Prep game of the season.
A star studded Orangeville Prep went up against a tough and gritty Bill Crothers Prep. If anyone in the country was going to give Orangeville a fight it would be these guys, or at least we thought.
The result, 96-47 for Orangeville in a beat down, after a valiant first half effort from Crothers.
Thon Maker and Jamal Murray lead the way with 21 and 19 points respectively.
O-Prep is loaded with a full roster of Division I talent. Jalen Poyser has committed to UNLV and Jelani Mofford to UNC-Greensboro. The remaining 10 players are projected at the mid-major level or higher, some even future NBA prospects.
The top performers for Bill Crothers were Tyrell Lewin and Othneil Spence. Lewin sacrificed his body by taking charges and finished well in the paint, registering a team high 15 points.
Murray, an offensively polished talent, talked about the next step of his development after the game.
“There’s still so much to do. I’m focused on getting stronger physically to absorb contact better and doing as much as I can on injury prevention. The small details, those are really important to me,” Murray told North Pole Hoops.
While we can talk about the Maker brothers and Murray endlessly, the real eye opener in this one was Orangeville Prep’s Keshaun Saunders.
Having watched Saunders play through his grade nine year at Campion, he dominated and got what he wanted on the hardwood, not much has changed except for the level of competition in practice.
This 2018 guard finished the game with 8 points, 4 assists and 1 rebound on an efficient shooting night.
Head Coach Larry Blunt comments on his young stud guard.
“Keshaun is getting a chance to play against the best of the best, he’s playing against stronger kids. Early on, there was a big athleticism gap, he’s had to find ways to be creative and to his credit he’s worked at it and I feel he has a chance to be one of the special ones when it’s said and done.”
Saunders’ degree of competitiveness stands out to many of the NCAA coaches that have walked through the Athlete Institute doors, this is one of his innate valued characteristics.
Similarly, a graduating guard Josiah Riley has been playing this way throughout his entire high school career. During the summer circuit with CIA Bounce he played behind a loaded starting line up and now it’s much of the same.
Under-recruited? Yes. Undervalued? No.
His minutes on Orangeville Prep turn into numbers on the stat sheet. Riley had 15 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists in last night’s win.
Now with all this fire power on the bench and more than a few star players, one would think that it would be a difficult task to get this talent on the same page without egos getting in the way.
Blunt and the coaching staff have done an appreciable job building an unselfish environment and getting everyone to buy in.
“Our best players work the hardest, these guys really set a standard for everyone else. They really continue to push the young kids, the young guys are talented but they understand that there time is coming and they can compete everyday, you can’t ask for much more.”
This leaves me pondering; what if the #1-ranked St. Michael’s Blue Raiders (on the high school scene) were to play against Orangeville Prep, who are looking like #1 on the Prep scene???
We will wait to see if that’s a question that will be answered.
The win against Crothers, moves the Bears to a 5-0 record, with MacNab next up on the schedule, followed by the CAN AM Hoops Classic on Sunday, November 23, featuring top Canadian prospects.