Toronto United Ballers Capture Bronze in Italy
MILAN,ITALY–The Toronto United Ballers made a trip to Italy to take part in the Junior Invitational U-19 tournament against some of the top talent in Europe. Coached by Ryerson Rams Assistant Ajay Sharma, and led by some high-end Canadian high school talent, the Ballers captured a bronze medal after finishing the tournament with a 3-2 record.
It was the third time that Sharma has taken a team to Italy, and last year he took a team led by Kevin Pangos all the way to the finals, where they lost but Pangos still secured the MVP award.
The tournament was hosted in Lissone, a suburb of Milan, and featured teams and clubs from around Europe as well as a team from the States who ended up taking home the gold medal. The Americans were led by Aquille Carr, a 2013 5’6 PG out of Baltimore who can jump out of the gym.
For the Canadian contingent, it was not only an opportunity for them to play against great teams from around the world, but also a chance to take part in a cultural exchange as they stayed with families while staying there.
On the court, the Ballers won their first game convincingly over an Italian team. But when they tipped off against another local team in the second game, they were not as fortunate. The second team was filled with import players, and they ended up taking down the Canadians in a hard fought game.
The Ballers were led by Sean Stoqua (Acadia commit), Aaron Redpath (McMaster commit), Adam Presutti (McMaster commit) and Aaron Best (uncommitted). However, according to Sharma, it was a victory for the team
“It was a total team effort. Every kid stepped up at some point, and we had a very balanced attack.”
The most valuable player of the tournament was Czech forward Martin Kriz (1993). The Dirk Nowitzki type player has shooting from all over the court, and could very well make his way to the NBA in a few years.
Notable alumni of the tournament include Andrea Bargnani, Daillo Galinari, Daquean Cook and Chris Quinn.
Toronto United Ballers
#4 Sean Stoqua 5’10” PG (2011), Sacred Heart (Ottawa, ON)
#5 Adam Presutti 6’2” SG (2011), Loyola (Oakville, ON)
#6 Kadar Marshall 6’3” SG (2011), YAAACE Prep (Toronto, ON)
#7 Juwon Ogunnaike 6’6” PF (2011), St. Joan of Arc (Mississauga, ON)
#8 Bikram Gill 6’6” PF (2011), Ascension of Our Lord (Brampton, ON)
#9 Aaron Best 6’4” SF (2011), Eastern Commerce (Toronto, ON)
#10 Aaron Redpath 6’4” SG (2011), J Clarke Richardson (Ajax, ON)
#11 Vlad Velici 6’7” PF (2010), York University (Toronto, ON)
#12 Vule Grujic 6’8” C (2011), Holy Trinity (Ottawa, ON)
#13 Devon Stedman 6’7” PF (2010), Dalhousie University (Halifax, NS)
Head Coach – Ajay Sharma
Asssitant Coach – Frederick Grannum
Assistant Coach – Lionel Howell