St. John’s-Kilmarnock Ready to Put Kitchener-Waterloo Basketball on Map, Welcome to National Prep Association
The National Preparatory Association welcomes the latest expansion program to the league. St. John’s-Kilmarnock, out of the Kitchener-Waterloo region will bring that old school, “grind it out” flavour to the NPA this season.
SJK will be competing in the Southwest Division against some of the top players in the nation including AJ Lawson and Kaosi Ezeagu for GTA Prep. London Basketball Academy has also added top talent in Jonty Vink and Okay Djamgouz to their roster.
Head coach Ahmad El-Osta is very pleased to be joining the NPA and excited for the challenge it will give his players.
“The NPA is the best league. It is a national league that offers a chance to see what the rest of the country has to offer. It is going to be exciting to perform on this type of stage. We are very grateful and proud to be part of this great league.”
El-Osta continued to say, “We have a bunch of battle tested veterans on this team but it is a new challenge for them to compete. I will have to use my experience to help them develop confidence along the way to create the best chance at success. If we can generate that confidence and belief that we belong we will be fine. Play with a chip on our shoulder to prove we belong amongst the elite.”
El-Osta took the SJK head coaching job in August and brings a wealth of coaching experience to the program. El-Osta served as an Assistant Coach and Scout with the Wilfrid Laurier University Men’s Basketball team and the Head Coach of the U16 Wolverines AAU team. He was also on the coaching staff at perennial power Catholic Central Secondary School (Windsor, ON) where he helped lead them to two Gold medals and one Silver medal at AAA OFSAA.
El-Osta made it clear he wants his players to compete each game and have a sense of pride especially on the defensive side of the ball.
“We are going to grind it out. Our style will be old fashioned “Big Ten” basketball. We have some power players that we will try to use and gain advantage from. We do not have the depth that other teams have so we have to be High IQ type players and trust each other and play for each other. My teams generally have a backbone of defence and it’s what I stress and take pride in,” said El-Osta.
The Kitchener-Waterloo region is no stranger to big time basketball talent–the list of impact players at the highest levels in Canada is lengthy, and their biggest star is no other than NBA rising star Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets), who represented the Waterloo Wolverines club program, as well as Grand River collegiate in high school.
SJK is set to display the next wave of K-W talent that will be ready to see where they rank against top prospects in their class. The athletically skilled forward Milan Roknic could rise as being a top star in the NPA this season. SJK has surrounded Roknic with other players including Aleks Novicic, Jimmy Omino and Branko Damjanovic.
With a strong structure in place on all levels, SJK will be looking to make some noise in their inaugural season. Coach El-Osta’s only expectation for his team is to compete every time they step on the floor.
“My expectation is very simple. COMPETE every game and never give up. We are a new team trying to create a name for ourselves and that is exactly what we want to do. Play the right way and never give up or back down from anyone. We will make sure we give everyone our best every game. Sometimes you might lose, sometimes you might win but the one consistent part of our expectation is to always come out to play,” said El-Osta.
The NPA, launched November 2016 is coming off a successful inaugural year, making Canadian basketball history and crowning the first ever high school national champion, as Ottawa’s Canada Topflight Academy claimed the title.
Stay tuned on NPH for more expansion new coming soon, as progams will be announced from across the country.
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