Waterloo Warriors Hoopfeast 2014 kicked off early Saturday morning and the pool looked strong. I found these three teams especially interesting …
Motion East surprised me a lot at the tournament. The squad is packed with a lot of high flyers, shooters and speed. Gene Spagnuolo runs the point guard position for the squad and is a very good shooter, with solid handles, and good length. Osayende Omoregie is a big body with great speed for his size. He is also a good defender, and an explosive dunker and finisher at the rim. Kareem South really made his presence felt in the second game of the day, 86-77 win against Waterloo. South scored his 21 points in a variety of ways and even had the Wolverines head coach Jeff Lyle singing his praises on the sideline, as he told me “(South is) the best player on the team.”
Brampton Elite coach Leon Archer did something very unique when submitting the team roster – he listed all his players as guards. Whether or not that claim is accurate Brampton breezed through their first two games winning both by double digits. The standouts on the squad were Marcus Bonnick and Ty Steward but because they dominated the two teams the played (Blessed Sacrament and Whitby) so easily, I didn’t see much of either guy. They will be in the championship game however, and with a competitive game Brampton Elite stars will show out. Coach Lyles also told me that Brampton, in his opinion, is the best team at the tournament.
The Waterloo Wolverines have a very talented squad that’s headed by recent verbal Massachusetts commit Tesloth Simon. T, as he is commonly referred to, is armed with a sweet jumper, good handles, and high basketball IQ. Juwan Miller runs the point for the Wolverines and is as fast as they get in the open court. His change of speed is mind boggling even breaking some ankles with his killer crossover. But his greatest weapon is that he is a great leader. Whenever a teammate would make a mistake, or coach Lyles would yell at them from the sideline, Miller would pull that player aside, talk to them, then embrace them and continue playing. Seems like a guy that just gets it to me.
The other teams had a hard time competing with these three, but there were still a few standouts …
Andre Toic from Blessed Sacrament is a heady player. The lefty point guard has a fierce competitor and displayed it in his game against Brampton. Although Blessed lost 69-55 Toic always made the right pass or took and made the right shot. Toic didn’t seem to be sped up by the Brampton defense and time after time, would deliver three point blows, or slick passes to bigs on the pick and roll. He was the reason that the game stayed around 10 points.
Murtada Khamis of the KW Vipers was also a an intriguing player. He is a quick point guard that has the speed to blow by any one at this tournament. His finishing at the rim is also very good as Khamis posses great body control. It was on fully display in the last game of the night against the Waterloo Warriors. Khamis converted in heavy traffic in the lane, contorting his body to finish impressive lay-ups over the bigger Warrior team. The point guard also defended Juan Miller well, for the most part, and battled hard until the last whistle.
My last standout is a guy that really captured my attention during the The Hienbuch Classic. Jamari Stephenson of St Marys is a very interesting prospect namely because of his size and toughness. Stephenson stands at 6’6 and is one of the gritty guys on the court. He can shoot threes and drive past guys his size but also defends hard, diving on the court for loose balls. The only problem for the young man is academics, and he has been working with teachers to improve his grades because, as of right now, that’s the only thing stopping him.
The final day of the Waterloo Warriors Hoopfeast 2014 took place at Hespeler Secondary School in Cambridge. The bronze medal game had the host team the Waterloo Warriors face Blessed Sacrament. The Championship game had Motion East playing Brampton Elite.
Waterloo and Blessed Sacrement kicked off the medal round with a very entertaining close game. The first half was pretty even as both teams were adjusting to one another and the score reflected it as Sacrament held a slim 23-22 lead. However, Telsoth Simon and Juwan Miller woke up in the third. Simon scored six in the quarter, making a three-point basket with his super quick release, and drawing an and-one on the next possession taking it right down the middle. Miller was running the team efficiently and giving a outstanding effort, at one point even making a lay-up and running back on defense to block a shot. Blessed made a run in the fourth, as Andre Toic scored five in the quarter, but it wasn’t enough and Waterloo took it 61-52.
Top Scorer: Juan Miller 11 points
Brampton and Motion East wrapped up the day, and WOW what a game to end on. It almost looked like a Clippers game and Motion East’s Osayende Omoregie played the role of Blake Griffin. He had two monster dunks, one on the fast break on a alley-opp, and the other, a fast break tomahawk slam that literally captured everyone’s breath. However, Omoregie showed that he was more than just a dunker as he put up 20 points in the first half. Alex Petronis also had 2 rim rockers, both on the fast break. Gene Spagnuolo was also solid, posting 21 points and coming up second in tournament MVP voting. But Brampton’s backcourt duo of Marcus Bonnick and Ty Steward was just too much to handle. Steward scored 16 and was the emotional leader in the game for the Elite. He carried them down the stretch, always making the right shot or pass. Bonnick scored 19 and was on fire in the first half too scoring 12 points that included back to back threes. The game was exciting all the way through as Brampton eventually got some breathing room in the fourth and went on to win 85-78. Bonnick won tournament MVP.
Top Scorer: Osayende Omoregie 26 points
Under the radar …
Waterloo Warriors Brett Parrott was a very fun player to watch as the 6 foot 8 inch forward always knew where to be defensively. His basketball IQ is very high and he always finds him self in the right position to block/change shots and to rebound. He also has very soft hands and made a couple very hard catches in transition. He has just started to make the transition out to the perimeter and knows that it is an adjustment but is looking forward to putting in the hard work in the summer to work on his perimeter shooting and ball handling.
Brampton Elite’s Freddie Ibrahim was also a guy that caught my attention. He is a good shooter and has good length at the wing position, but the one thing I loved about the kid was he was fearless. He stripped Osayende Omoregie a few times on dunk attempts. The first was on the fast break as Ibrahim slapped the ball out from behind Omoregie head. The other was on an alley-opp, Ibrahim met the ball as it was still rising, slapping it away starting a break for the Elite on the other end.
Motion East’s Alex Petronis has some serious bounce. The 6’4 Father Redmond product was throwing down some serious slams in the warm ups before the championship final, even mixing in a between the legs dunk that had the crowd stunned. Petronis is good shooter as well as a good ball handler.
The 2014 Waterloo Warriors Hoopfeast was a tremendous success, and was realy benifical to all teams involved. The tournament was also the first time any of these teams had played, thus it was a great warm up for the kids. Nevertheless, Brampton looked in mid season form and don’t expect it to stop, the Elite are scary good.