The National Preparatory Association’s first session in Ottawa, ON provided insight on how teams stack up and areas needed to address, along with players that broke out, producing at a high level.

The Battle in the Capital was hosted by Canada TopFlight Academy from Nov. 22-26 in their home gymnasium of Notre Dame High School—the first of two league-wide sessions featuring NPA teams from across the country.

The New Year Challenge is coming your way Jan 3-6.

There were no big surprises in the nation’s capital with the top dogs showing why they’re the favourites to challenge for the National Championship in FEB 28-MAR 4.

Championship Contenders

1) Canada TopFlight Academy

Cruised to 4-0 in session. 5-0 in NPA, #1 in Eastern Conference.

  • CTA 66-58 Toronto Basketball Academy
  • CTA 75-54 BC Christian Prep
  • CTA 107-73 Crestwood Prep
  • CTA 99-83 GTA Prep
  • CTA 110-63 B.E.A.S.T Prep

The champs played like champs. CTA went undefeated going 4-0 in the Battle in the Capital, beating strong teams in the process. Last season, CTA got off to an 0-5 start to the season, but what a difference a year makes. The boys from Ottawa enjoyed the home cooking and the home fans as well, who showed out in bunches to support their team. Their top players including Lual Akot, Muon Reath and David Mulia came to play.

In addition to the talent on the floor, CTA also boasts an elite level coaching staff that comes from the Carleton University school of coaching. Carleton’s success has trickled down to the success of CTA. The staff is composed of Head Coach Tony House, Willy Manigat, Alain Cadieaux and Jean-Emmanuel Jean-Marie.

2) Central Tech Blues

Went 4-0. 3 dominant performances, 1 buzzer beater game.

  • Central Tech 80-78 LBA
  • Central Tech 103-66 SJK
  • Central Tech 106-79 B.E.A.S.T Prep
  • Central Tech 126-95 Halifax Prep

Central Tech went 4-0, while hitting the century mark in three convincing victories–they are hungry to compete against the NPA’s upper echelon as the season progresses. The highlight of the CT Blues session was their Saturday night win against LBA and what we all know now as the FLOATER GAME! Raheim Sullivan hit the floater with 0.4 seconds left on the clock and gave his team the W.

FLOATER GAME!

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Matthew Daves, the high flying Filipino star, was constantly showing off his bunnies providing constant highlights. “You’re not going to see an Asian player play the way I do… I’m in the air a long time,” said Daves.

3) Notre Dame Hounds

Best in the West, and could be best in the country. 4-0 in Ottawa. 7-0 NPA record. 10-0 overall. Look like NPA championship contender.

  • ND 108-73 Halifax Prep
  • ND 86-50 SJK
  • ND 65-55 LBA
  • ND 100-82 Crestwood Prep

The boys from Wilcox, Saskatchewan put the league on notice! These boys are here to fight for the National Championship. National Scout, Elias Sbiet predicted the Hounds would be one of the best teams in Ottawa and will challenge for the championship, and the Hounds proved him right.

An addition of senior guard Avery Hutcheson adds another ball handler and defender in the backcourt making them more formidable against stacked guard lineups like the teams mentioned above.

Jashon Henry was unstoppable and put in monster performances all week, averaging 26.5 points per game. Fofo Adetogun ran the show at PG, Avery Hutcheson became the glue to help hold the team together and the big man Cole Newkirk showed he can get buckets from anywhere on the floor.

As a whole, this is the best high school team that has ever come out of Saskatchewan. The Hounds will only continue improving and look for them to be there at the end battling for the National Championship.

Work in Progress

GTA Prep

3-1 in Ottawa. Have all the pieces for a championship run. Star power, size, athleticism and depth. Were without Head Coach David Cooper, assistant Tai Chau filled in nicely to guide team.

  • GTA Prep 120-90 Halifax Prep
  • GTA Prep 95-71 RNS
  • GTA Prep 106-62 SL Express
  • GTA Prep 83-99 CTA

GTA Prep is on the fringe of being a Championship contender but the heavy defeat against CTA showed they still have some areas to improve on if they want to challenge the top dogs.

They have one of the most talented rosters in the NPA with AJ Lawson, Kaosi Ezeagu and the rise of Joshua Haughton who was a stock riser as you will see below.

Look for GTA to reach another level in the next New Year Challenge Jan 3-6.

2) Crestwood Prep

2-2 in Ottawa. Loaded with talent, working on chemistry with new additions.

  • Crestwood Prep 102-85 RNS
  • Crestwood Prep 78-67 BC Christian
  • Crestwood Prep 73-107 CTA
  • Crestwood Prep 82-100 ND Hounds

This Crestwood team is very similar to GTA Prep where they are loaded with talent, however, they need to work on their chemistry as a unit. The boys from North York, ON were dominated by CTA and Notre Dame. Crestwood will have the benefit of their home fans during the New Year Challenge Jan 3-6 as they will be playing host.

The young phenom Elijah Fisher got some valuable minutes and put defenders on a poster.

3) London Basketball Academy

London Basketball Academy are NPA Championship Finalists from last year—coached by one of the brightest basketball minds in the country, in Angelo Provenzano, a pupil of Michigan State’s Head Coach Tom Izzo. As the season progresses, so will LBA—they will end up in the thick of it.

  • LBA 78-80 Central Tech
  • LBA 55-65 ND
  • LBA 95-78 BC Christian
  • LBA 89-49 SL Express

LBA finished with a 2-2 record in Ottawa with a difficult schedule. Their strong performance against Central Tech shows they can challenge the championship contenders. This LBA team looked much improved compared to their homecoming game against SJK–night and day. The rest of the league should have learned from last year, never count out London Basketball Academy as they could make another deep run in the National Championships if they can raise their game.

4) BC Christian Prep

1-3 in Ottawa. 1-6 NPA. Have had toughest schedule of all NPA teams, having faced Notre Dame three times already in divisional play. Iron sharpens Iron and BC will be stronger for it in the end. The record does not tell the full story—not to be taken lightly

  • BC Christian 81-61 RNS
  • BC Christian 54-75 CTA
  • BC Christian 67-78 Crestwood Prep
  • BC Christian 78-95 LBA

Similar to last year, BC started the NPA season slow, but have been tested early. It takes time to build chemistry on any team, but with so many international students, that challenge increases to develop buy in.

On our way to Ottawa for the first NPA event ‘Battle in the Capital’. The boys are getting some much needed library time in the Calgary airport.

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There is no shortage of talent on this team but BC is missing a true PG that can be the primary ball handler and facilitate. They will be a whole new team if they can add a point guard before January 3rd. They have great size including one of the best bigs in the league in Sammie Hunter–Marijan Obad and Filip Milosovic are returners that compliment Hunter on the wings. Newcomer from Iran, Amirhossein Rahimzad showed great signs of big time potential, and expect with size, skill and feel for the game at 6’7.


Building Mode


1) St. Johns-Kilmarnock 

2-2 in Ottawa. 3-3 in NPA season.

  • SJK 50-86 ND
  • SJK 104-73 Halifax Prep
  • SJK 71-63 SL Express
  • SJK 66-103 Central Tech

SJK started catching their stride with their top talent producing throughout the week. Branko Damjanovic has been consistent from day one for SJK, but it was 6’7 Milan Roknic that stepped up in Ottawa and helped provide firepower for his team to earn good wins, and build confidence. 

2) B.E.A.S.T Prep

The new guys.

  • B.E.A.S.T. Prep 79-106 Central Tech
  • B.E.A.S.T Prep 90-87 RNS
  • B.E.A.S.T Prep 85-51 SL Express
  • B.E.A.S.T Prep 63-110 CTA

B.E.A.S.T Prep were the biggest question mark heading into Ottawa and came out as a pleasant surprise. We learned they don’t care who they’re playing against. This team will compete and fight with any team. This program out of Hamilton, ON stays true to their culture and that is a very gritty mentality. They don’t have a true star yet, but Anthony Bradshaw took that vocal leader role, to accompany his production.

3) Rothesay Netherwood

RNS climbed from last season, increasing talent, experience and depth, yet they still have a lot to prove.

  • RNS 61-81 BC Christian
  • RNS 85-102 Crestwood Prep
  • RNS 71-95 GTA Prep
  • RNS 87-90 B.E.A.S.T Prep

RNS opened the season 2-0 against Halifax Prep, however went winless in Ottawa, facing a strong schedule. Their two offensive leaders, This team will require a collective push to climb up the ladder.

4) St. Laurent Express

  • SL Express 62-106 GTA Prep
  • SL Express 63-71 SJK
  • SL Express 51-85 B.E.A.S.T Prep
  • SL Express 49-89 LBA

The St. Laurent Express got their first taste of NPA action and got some hard lessons served to them. Important to note, SL were missing their top two scorers in Ben Datro and Gideon Dwumfour, so this will not be the same team we see throughout the season. Not to mention, their overall team’s progression between now and January, based on the experience gained in Ottawa.

5) Halifax Prep

  • Halifax Prep 73-108 ND
  • Halifax Prep 90-120 GTA Prep
  • Halifax Prep 73-104 SJK
  • Halifax Prep 95-126 Central Tech

Halifax Prep doesn’t carry a large roster but they showed some fight even against the championship contenders.

The highlight of their week came when Jaren Johnson picked up his first college offer from Eastern Florida JUCO–a national champion finalist last year.

Steady production also came from Brandon Muntu, Ryan Toney and Cairo Berry. The biggest take away was how HP represented themselves—played every possession to the final seconds with both coaching staff and players taking on challenges. Hali Prep will look to add some pieces prior to the New Year Challenge, which will take them to new heights.

Stock Risers

Luol Akot (CTA)

Akot poured in 35 points against AJ Lawson and GTA Prep, while picking up his second NCAA offer from Tulane, to go with Old Dominion.

Joshua Haughton (GTA Prep)

Haughton went on a couple one man runs in different games in the Ottawa session. He’s got the three ball on automatic an remains true to his high flying ability.

Jaren Johnson (Halifax Prep)

Johnson picked up his first college offer from Eastern Florida (JUCO). Getting attention this early will be huge for his confidence.

David Mulia (CTA)

Muila was huge for CTA including a monster performance against Ezeagu and GTA Prep. JUCO schools are taking notice including being recruited by State Fair JUCOS–where fellow Montreal, QC native Kenny Chery attended before making the move to Baylor. Clarendon JUCO in Texas is also in the mix.

Denzel Cummins (LBA)

Cummins is really coming together as a point guard and a consistent producer for LBA. His leadership is growing by the day, and LBA will need it as they continue their hunt back to the NPA finals.

Ahmad Athman (LBA)

Athman was a breakout performer on the defensive end for LBA and earned himself a lot of minutes, and praise. Exactly what LBA needed–another man to step up.

Kur Jockuch (LBA)

Definition of difference maker. LBA has someone to look to as a rim protector and help side defender. Jockuch provided energy through some blocked shots that lit up the bench.

Filip Milosovic (BC Christian) 

The import Serbian forward is going to be a force for BC Christian for games to come. He had two games with over 20 points and got it done from everywhere on the floor. Although BC has not figured things out at the point guard position, they have found a scorer in Milosovic.

Muon Reath (CTA)

Reath is the No. 1 player in the 2021 class and is a certified starter for the National Champions—that’s a big deal.

Milan Roknic (SJK)

Roknic provided a very good option for SJK and was a big reason why they were able to dominate the scoring against Halifax Prep and SL Express.

Arnaud Ngamije (SL Express)

With SL missing their two leading scorers, someone else had to step up and get points, and that was Ngamije. Ngamije along with Tre-Vaughn Minot had to be huge down low. Big fella displayed a nice shooting stroke and feel for the game.

Standings

 

Check out the full updated standings below or go to www.npacanada.com

New Year Challenge

The NPA’s second session is just around the corner! Ottawa showed great support all week and now it’s Toronto and the entire GTA’s turn to come see what the NPA is all about.

The New Year Challenge is being hosted by Crestwood Prep in their gymnasium from Jan. 3-6.


Stay tuned to northpolehoops.com for version two of the NPA Power Rankings following the Battle in the Capital.

Mixtapes and Mic’d up videos will all be releasing soon!

To stay up to date on all the news and videos from around the league, follow @NPACanada on Twitter and Instagram!

Devon Imrie

Written by Devon Imrie

Devon Imrie is a 23-year-old journalist from Mississauga, Ontario. Contributor for North Pole Hoops. As a fourth year journalism student at Humber College he has taken in basketball at various levels providing National team coverage, high school and NPH Exposure Camps.

Website: https://twitter.com/devonimrie10

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