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BRAMPTON, ON – With the AAU season just around the corner, the CIA Bounce squad held a training camp for its players this past weekend. There was no shortage of talent, and I was finally able to get up close and personal with some of Canada’s brightest young stars.
The first person that I (and everyone else in the gym) noticed was the hulking, 7’5 Sim Bhullar of Huntington Prep. Currently on the radar of schools such as Texas, Syracuse, West Virginia and Villanova, Bhullar seems to have made great strides in his developments. He has lost a considerable amount of weight, and showed off his newfound agility as he finished off a couple of fast breaks with running, two-handed flushes. I got a chance to talk with Bhullar, and he told me about the rigorous training program Huntington Prep has put him on to keep his conditioning top-notch. Considering that Bhullar already possesses solid fundamental skills, he will be an absolute nightmare for opponents to deal with if he keeps improving his agility and athleticism.
I also caught up with Bhullar’s Huntington Prep teammate, 6’10 combo forward Stefan Jankovic. Possessing great length and good quickness, Jankovic is able to slash the lane with ease and crash the boards with authority. At the same time, he has a deadly outside shot, which he put on display during some full court drills where he knocked down multiple three pointers in transition. Jankovic is currently being pursued by schools such as Georgetown and Pittsburgh, while schools such as Duke have even shown interest.
Anthony Bennett was perhaps the most impressive player at the camp. A 6’8 wing from the class of 2012, Bennett is on the radar of numerous top-tier schools, including Connecticut, Kentucky and Florida. He is already physically built and a very fluid athlete. In addition to that, I noticed the improved mechanics on his jump shot. Bennett talked to NPH about his commitment to improving his perimeter play, and that commitment definitely showed. Bennett currently plays at Findlay Prep, and will be looking to carry the torch for this powerhouse program now that fellow Canadian Myck Kabongo is moving on to the NCAA. Helping to carry that torch will be teammate Naz Long, who was also at the CIA camp. Long is a quick, sure-handed point guard who has excellent passing skills and a nice shooting touch. One thing that struck me while watching Long this past weekend was his strength while handling the ball – nobody is able to knock him off his stride.
Oklahoma-commit Richard Peters attended the camp as well. The 6’9 forward from Westwind Prep looks like he has added some muscle to his frame. He will definitely need it as he heads off to play in the rugged Big 12 Conference next season. Peters was undoubtedly the biggest character in the gym with a big personality, and a load of energy.
One other player that caught my attention was 6’3 point guard Duane Notice. Despite being only 16 years old, Notice is a standout performer whose vision and basketball IQ are remarkable for his age. He is also a very explosive athlete who looks like he was born to score the rock. He has been on the radar of numerous top-tier NCAA schools for a while, and has stated before that Syracuse would be a favourite.
Last but not least, young Nick Madray representing the class of 2013 showed tremendous improvement while playing amongst the elite. Throughout his high school season, Madray does not play in a setting nearly nearly as competitive as this camp’s, so the general thought was that he could be rusty. However, Nick established himself immediately during the scrimmages, knocking down mid range jumpers, one after another. Once this youngster’s mean streak is unleashed, look out!
With the high school basketball season just recently finished, it’s almost time for the AAU circuit to heat up. Based on what I saw yesterday, the American kids will have their hands full this year when the Canadian kids come to play.
Stay tuned as NPH brings you in-depth and breaking AAU news throughout the spring and summer months!