A Basketball League as Diverse as Canada – International Talent from All over the Globe
The strength of Canada as a country lives within its unique multiculturalism and acceptance of all people despite ethnic background.
From that perspective, the element of cultural unity makes Canada a distinctive country and arguably one of a kind.
In basketball, the country’s worldly approach is evident with participants in the game from coast to coast and strong representation from countries like the Philippines, Serbia, India and Italy to name a few.
The inaugural season of the National Preparatory Association will feature top-tier talent from all over the globe including representation from over 14 countries, with the diverse ethnicity serving as a microcosm of Canada.
International prospects have made Canada their new home, joining programs within the NPA; nations like the Congo, Turkey, Croatia, Serbia, USA, Belarus, Nigeria, Holland, France, Switzerland, Spain, and South Sudan provide this league with an international scope.
For starters, The Tech Academy Titans recruits forward 6’10” Matur Maker and 6’11’ forward Makur Maker, made their way across the globe from Australia by way of South Sudan.
This past June, Thon Maker made history being drafted to the Milwaukee Bucks out of Canada (Athlete Institute) from the prep ranks.
“I remember when we first came, it was actually Thon that said he wanted to make the move to Toronto; the pace was similar to Sydney, Australia,” explained Ed Smith, Maker’s guardian.
“The multiculturalism, diversity, ability to share new cultures, and learn new cultures…it was highly accepting of Thon and Matur making for an easy transition.”
Growing in up in Australia and then moving to the U.S (before Canada) enabled him to add multiple dimensions to his game, considering the different playing styles.
Smith credited the American experience for enabling Thon to develop his playmaking abilities and assertiveness in games.
“That’s where Thon benefited, came to U.S.A learned how to take chances (on the floor) and see where his opportunities were.”
“Thon played against everybody from everyone that was ranked, and playing on all three different (shoe) circuits, it helped prepare him for the NBA.”
Being based in Sault Ste Marie at The Tech Academy, the younger Makers will now go through a similar worldly experience while competing against some of the best competition in the world, as The Titans will represent Canada in The Grind Session.
— NPA (@NPACanada) September 29, 2016
Canada is becoming a premier landing spot for international talent looking to develop, providing the accessibility to compete against elite talent across North America. The relatively short distance from Canada to America provides easy access to all major competition.
Przemek Golek, a highly regarded international prospect from Poland (Top 10 in Europe) has made his way to Western Canada and will play for BC Christian Academy–the most diverse roster in the NPA.
“I can play every day with players from different countries and learn different styles of play…because of this I improve my knowledge and skills,” said Golek.
“The difference between Poland, Europe and Canada, USA, North America basketball is that here you have to play hard and aggressive all the time in the one on one match ups. You have to go stronger to the rim, be stronger, be more aggressive than in Europe.”
The European cerebral game is well documented, providing players like Golek with a strong foundation to build on.
— Athlution (@AthlutionSports) September 5, 2016
“I believe that this is a three part reason for why BC Christian, the NPA and Canada is an ideal destination for international talent,” says Kimani Shotwell, Head Coach of BC Christian.
“Canada is one of the world’s best countries in secondary education, our NPA teams are striving to be amongst the best prep teams in the world, and the proximity to the US allows our kids the ability to travel all over North America to be seen by CIS, NCAA, and NBA teams.”
B.C.C is as diverse as it is talented, and features some major prospects including Turkey’s 6’9 Kaan Tari, Belarus’ 6’9 Maksim Leichyk, Poland’s 6’6 Przemek Golic, and Bahamas’ Detarrio Thompson–all of which are national team members for their respective countries. In addition, the program will feature John Maxmillion from the U.S., who comes to BC from New Orleans’ Karr High School.
Rothesay Netherwood, a private school in New Brunswick is the NPA’s Atlantic Canada contingent, which features an IB academic curriculum (international Baccalaureate) a program designed for students from abroad. RNS currently has 17 different countries represented in their student body, speaking six different languages.
Saskatchewan’s Notre Dame currently suits up one international player in Chinese forward Steven Li who was the only basketball player in the school prior to Head Coach Adam Huffman’s arrival.
“We want to be an international destination, we already are for hockey, especially considering we are a boarding school where kids can come to and parents know they’re safe,” explained Huffman.
Canada Topflight Academy brings in Australian 6’7 wing Manel Ayol, who is expected to be a top producer for the program.
“No doubt Australia has become a real hot-bed when it comes to basketball,” said program director Tony House. “You don’t have to look far to see how far they have come globally with players in the NBA, and at the Olympics.”
3 Kings Prep, out of Windsor, Ontario, is another squad who will be bringing talent together from across Canada and beyond. Point guard Ezeoha Santiago, who previously played with Oakville’s Holy Trinity, also represents Trinidad’s Junior National Team.
With the depth of talent in Canada from abroad this season, the National Preparatory Association is poised to be a spectacle for fans across the globe.
Could the great white North become the new basketball capital of the world?
Visit the official website of the NPA, www.NPACanada.com launching October 2016.