2011 All Canada Classic: Negus Webster-Chan Unleashes at Home
TORONTO, ON –The 11th annual PHASE 1 All Canada Classic went down on Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre. Much like the McDonald’s All-American game in the USA, the All Canada Classic is a showcase for our country’s top basketball talent. As expected, the event was a high-scoring one and in a big way, courtesy of Negus Webster-Chan, the hometown product.
The players were split up into an East vs. West format. On this particular night, it seemed like the West just couldn’t miss a shot. Stefan Jankovic hit a hail mary fade away three as time expired in the first quarter to give the West a 36-28 lead. From there, everything went the West’s way. Game MVP Negus Webster-Chan went on a tear in the second quarter, drilling three-pointer after three-pointer, bringing the West bench to its feet in appreciation. Webster-Chan even showed his showmanship abilities, by good-naturedly jawing with celebrity spectators DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems, who were sitting courtside. Throw in a few more fastbreak points here and there, and before you knew it, the West was up at the half by an eye-popping score of 78-49.
In the third Q, the East pushed back by making a run of its own, eventually cutting the lead down to 10. Sparked by Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Naz Long and Anthony Bennett, the East started to move the ball more efficiently, and capitalized on several turnovers. However, Jankovic and Tyler Ennis answered with a small run of their own for the West, and gave their squad a 100-79 cushion going into the fourth quarter.
With the game pretty much sealed, the final quarter saw the teams loosen up and just let it all hang. Kevin Thomas went to work down low, while Martin Dixon-Green made some athletic moves to the hoop for easy buckets. Webster-Chan continued his dazzling play as well, earning some well-deserved applause from the crowd. When the smoke settled, the final score was 132-111 for the West.
Webster-Chan finished with 25 points for the West & MVP honours, followed by Dixon-Green, Thomas and Jankovic, who had 18, 16 and 15, respectively. For the East, Rathan-Mayes led the way with 20 points, followed by Bennett, who had 18, and guard Naz Long with 16. Bennett finished the game in style as well, throwing down a vicious one-handed dunk in the final minute that brought the crowd to its feet.
Rathan-Mayes was one of four players from the class of 2013, along with Tyler Ennis, Mikyle McIntosh and Agunwa Okolie. It should be noted that all four players had a solid performance. Ennis and Okolie showed good poise and aggressiveness, while McIntosh turned some heads early with a few aggressive, deft moves to the hole.
East guard Kevin Pangos also had a solid showing, despite not appearing much on the score sheet. His playmaking and poise was noticeable in the third quarter as he was on the floor during his team’s run.
More importantly than any individual performance was the fact that both teams played with admirable skill and enthusiasm. Both sides were genuinely giving solid efforts on the defensive end despite it being an exhibition game, and the teamwork and ball-sharing was commendable. All the players made Canada proud tonight, and served as living proof that the basketball talent in this country is constantly improving!
However, this night belonged to Negus Webster-Chan as he finally unleashed his potential on the grand stage!