CREEDMOOR,NC–Cory Joseph. Myck Kabongo. Kevin Pangos. These are the names of point guards that have been engrained into the minds of Canadian basketball enthusiasts. All have competed at elite levels; both nationally and internationally while decorating their resumes with MVP honours, OFSAA championships (Ontario Provincials) National Championships, All-Canadian appearances, All-American appearances among many accomplishments to follow.
The next in line to accompany these house hold names (drums please) …introducing a 6’1 PG originally from Pickering, Ontario and now anchoring the point at Christian Faith Centre Academy; NPH presents Kaza Keane. The sixteen year old began his high school career at Pickering High, the same school that produced Dwayne Smith, (George Washington) Devoe Joseph, (Oregon) and Cory Joseph (Texas) to name a few in recent memory.
Keane currently resides in Creedmoor, North Carolina where he is harnessing his talents at CFCA, a prep school filled with a unique group of talented prospects.
Why is it unique?
For starters, this squad is comprised of nine Canadians, unheard of in an American Prep school. CFCA is also distinguished by it’s surroundings, essentially located in the middle of nowhere.
“Look around and all you see is trees and a church, there is nothing else to do. School, basketball, sleep, eat; that’s all we do,” explained Keane.
This atypical location has helped Kaza remain focused on his ultimate goal of reaching the same potential that his Grassroots Canada Alum, Cory Joseph has achieved.
“I look at him as my role model,” said Keane.
“When I was in the sixth grade, I use to run to Pickering High and tape him play to see how he shoots, how he dribbles,” described Keane.
“He’s an All-American at Texas so l guess it paid off.”
That’s an understatement.
Watching Kaza play would only tighten this comparison as he carries the same demeanour on the hard wood. Bringing up the ball, shooting, organizing a team; it’s all quite reminiscent of the freshman at Texas, except with a little extra flash.
“I hear it a lot; some coaches come into the gym and ask, isn’t that Cory’s brother?”
Kaza’s sister Takima, currently playing at Cleveland State also acknowledges the resemblence, “Everyone says that; you could say they look alike but I definitely see a parallel in their games for sure,” she laughs.
“If Kaza grows to be a player like Cory he will be very accomplished. He’s got a ways to go but i can definitely see that happening down the road for him if he keeps working hard.”
When asked about Kaza’s first encounter with the game, Takima joked, “since birth…that kid has been playing house league since he was like four or five, maybe even younger. He’s been playing for as long as i can remember.”
At the rate that KK has been developing, his potential is limitless. In just one year, all aspects of his game have improved significantly. From speed to confidence, Keane is undoubtedly on a rapid ascension to the top of the totem.
However, the sixteen year old is only beginning to scratch the surface as he understands there is a load of work to be done.
“We’re in the gym everyday practicing before every school…we start practicing in August, so you have to go hard every day, there’s no time off,” explained Kaza.
As Cory Joseph, (Texas) Myck Kabongo (Texas) and Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga) make noise in the NCAA, Kaza is patiently waiting for his time, hungry to take his game to a new level once again.
“I have to get better, I play basketball every single day and there are no distractions. I’m going to get better.”
Follow Tariq Sbiet on Twitter: @Tsbiet
Photo Courtesy: Kaza Keane