More than halfway through the season in the CYBL and teams are jockeying for position in the standings. A competitive pool of talent took the floor on Saturday and Sunday in the last session before CYBL All-Star festivities; which are happening January 27-28 at Thornlea Secondary School.
We got an early look at the 2023 and 2024 classes and have learned that there is more depth in this class than we have ever seen before; more than Andrew Wiggins’ class, Jamal Murray’s and Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s class. There is simply a higher volume of players participating in the sport from coast to coast and it is sharpening the quality of the game, coaching, refereeing and generally every aspect.
I have a vivid memory of evaluating the above mentioned classes of guys who are now in the NBA. Patterns in the National Player Rankings have shown that after the top 10 in the class, at that time; there was a significant drop-off in the level that the talent was projected to play at.
As we look ahead into 2020 onward, the depth in the pool of talent is prevalent.
Jahsemar Olembe is an example from this weekend of what is yet to come. He has shown time and time again that he is well advanced in comparison to the rest of the class, whether in Canada or the U. S. Olembe suited up for Toronto City Elite this past weekend and will be in a Nike UPlay uniform on the AAU Circuit.
8th Grade Standings
YAAACE (Canada Elite) is the clear cut Top team in the 8th grade division of the CYBL holding an 8-0 record after their wins against Halton Basketball Club and Milton Stags yesterday.
In the Elite bracket they are putting in the most points and allowing the least from their opponents. Role definition on this team has been really tight and a large factor in the success of the squad.
Osagie Osagiede has been a key piece for YAAACE in several sightings. A dynamic scoring arsenal and physicals that provide length for rebounding and shot blocking. He is the best interior defender utilizing his size as an advantage.
Coach Jordan McFarlene chimed in on a few of his guys.
“Jamarr James is my best perimeter defenders, he gets under guys’ skin and applies pressure. Osagie sticks out because of his size, but when they’re operating at the same level its contagious.”
Kayden Warren has been instant offense, as Coach McFarlene put it. A knock down shooter that stretches the floor and can connect often from distance.
The next team up for this division would be CIA Bounce who is coached by Freddy Appiyah. Those who remember Appiyah from his playing days would understand the type of coach he would be.
For the most part, the team takes on his personality when they have the full court pressure on. Like YAAACE, CIA Bounce has a a big of their own who protects home.
Enter Ashton Brown, a lengthy 2023 prospect that played big minutes and came up with key stops against Toronto City Elite.
Augustas Brazdeikis, brother of Michigan commit, Ignas Brazdeikis is a bonafide bucket getter. A high arcing shot and the use of both hands to get a clean look makes him one of the craftiest on the scene at this age group.
While the two teams mentioned above are leading the division, the trailers are not far off. Halton Basketball Club, they have a 4-2 record and both losses have been within five and seven points to opponents that are ahead of them in the division.
7th Grade Standouts
Jahmare Memphis | 2024 | PG | Team Breakdown-West
Jahmare Memphis was arguably the best PG defender that I saw all weekend. The rarity of two way players means that when you see one they stick out like a sore thumb. He’s gritty, can pick up ful court and handle the rock.
From a skill and vision standpoint Memphis is playing beyond his years. It’s one thing to have vision at this age, but having it in motion as they break off in transition is another thing. That requires a great deal of strength, and feel for these developing bodies.
We will keep an open tab on Memphis and see him throughout the NPH Showcase Circuit and other club competition.
Josiah Sutton | 2025 | PG/SG | NBA Collective
The young pup is playing a year up from his own age group and is having zero issues fitting in. He is one of NBA Collective’s most reliable scorers and defenders. Sutton showed a really promising future as his current skill set exceeded that of his older opponents in different games.
Terrence Thomas | 2024 | PG | NBA Collective
Terrence is the son of a legendary Toronto point guard, Darren Thomas, an OFSAA champion at Runnymede Collegiate, at a time where basketball in Toronto was at an extremely high level in the 1980’s.
Terrence is following suit and on his way to being a high level guard himself. Under the tutelage of his father, and Coach Leon Sutton he has developed the ball handling to operate in tight space and keep his dribble alive. This in itself is a difficult task considering the age and developing coordination.
As a 2024 PG time is on his side and the skills are in position to rise as a top guard in his age group. Both Thomas and Sutton have been selected to the CYBL All-Star game next weekend along with their teammate Mesach Morant.