Kaosi Ezeagu Breaking Out At U17 Canadian National Team Tryouts
TORONTO, ONTARIO–Head Coach of the Canadian U17 team, Dave DeAveiro, had a packed gym at Humber College for open tryouts. This was the first time we had seen that much size and length in the gym at a tryout; with the most competitive positions being at forward and center.
Born on November 26th, 1999 is Kaosi Ezeagu, a 6’9 center that made his presence felt immediately last night with high activity level and non-stop communication. The intangibles alone don’t define his game, but are vital parts to making the National team at this age group.
Ezeagu made his splash onto the scene a few weeks ago at the Tri-City NPH Showcase, where he swallowed up rebounds and protected home very well. National team personnel made several remarks on his habits; from the way he sealed his man to help side defending and closeouts.
While he is still raw offensively, he does enough to deserve another look from the staff in an environment that has a condensed talent pool, in order to get a better feel for what he can provide.
Expect Ezeagu’s recruitment to climb immediately as post-secondary programs have already started to ask questions since the Tri-City NPH Showcase. There is intrigue surrounding his upside. He has the right mentality towards improvement and is very receptive to instruction and new information, this type of opportunity at tryouts; even if he doesn’t make the team, is going to have his confidence sky high.
Another of the bigs, who was an alternate last year, Brandon John, has made drastic improvements in his body and overall athleticism. He showed an expanded skill set during the prep season with the Hill Academy.
B. J is another of the big bodies that is looking like a lock from my perspective. His ability to finish with contact and make plays above the rim is eye opening, he is continuing to make strides and another one with major upside.
How about Tri-City NPH Showcase MVP, AJ Lawson, another youngster from the 2019 class that was in the mix last night.
He’s got more PG in him than I had that. He can create offense for everyone around him and knows how to get to his spots while being aware of spacing and knowing where teammates are on the floor.
The PG spot is secured by Andrew Nembhard but a speedy Daniel Sackey has been asked to return for another tryout to go at it with a tighter group. The Manitoba product is a fully packaged guard, with strong blow by ability and has been shooting with good percentages.
The obvious ones to be selected back from last year are guys like Rowan Barrett Jr., who has been taking America by storm. Andrew Nembhard, the best Canadian PG at this time, regardless of class; and then there’s Mr. Do It All Danilo Djuricic. They were proven with the Cadet Team last year as they got to the finals against Team USA but came short of a Gold Medal.
Several others from the team last year will make a return, yet there are a few guys that had the coaching staff’s eyes wide yet the names above set a challenge in the next tryout for guys who may think that their spot is secured.
It’s an exciting process to see that there was a gym full of scholarship worthy guys that will get cut. The talent pool in Canada is still spiking in an upward direction, in part due to Canada Basketball’s evolved role within the community, while targeting and molding the Nation’s talent before they even get to high school.
There is an expectation from the players themselves, the coaching staff and the Nation as a whole to get back to the Championship game…this year could be another run at Gold.