WINDSOR,ON–Many young players have been told by ‘those in the know’ that you have to go to a large market to be seen and to get the kind of recognition befitting a talented player for a chance at recruitment.
Well, fact is, not all prospects have the options to do just that. This doesn’t mean their talent is any less valuable or obvious than those players in the Greater Toronto Area for example. Still, they repeatedly seem to take a backseat when it comes to promotion and recruitment potential because they live in a small town or region far from the lights.
This is where NPH enters the picture. National editor Tariq Sbiet said it best, “If there’s talent in small gyms, we’ll find it and recognize it.”
Consider it done.
A trio of seniors from Kingsville District High School (google it) down by Windsor, ON for those not familiar, have–despite their small town-small school designation, achieved the unthinkable.
That is, they played their game and caught the eyes of a number of coaches and scouts that could send them to their dreams of playing post secondary basketball. These players are being followed and/or offered by prominent universities in Ontario and the U.S…No big deal say some…I disagree.
With a school population of just over 600 students, this is BIG news for the community. We aren’t talking a 2,400 student enrolment here but a school with a population equal to a single grade in a place like Toronto or Ottawa.
They have risen to the top of their game thanks to great basic coaching in grade school and early OBA teams. Now their high school becomes the recipient of their dedication to the game and their commitment to their dreams.
First up is Caitlyn Longmuir, a point guard extraordinaré that sees the court as well as any player I’ve watched, male or female. Her pin-point passes can come from anywhere and at any time, resulting in her team’s success.
When it comes to shooting talent her multiple Knights of Columbus basketball free throw competition wins, including all Ontario, says it all. Longmuir was named senior Girls second team all star in 2009 and in 2010 a first team all star. Her team took top honours in the girls JDP this past season.
In high school, she has won two WECSSA medals (gold & silver) and an OFSSAA bronze. At about 5’6, this double MVP O.B.A. champion is a tyrant on the court, ‘all go no quit’ and has yet to decide which post high school institution she will attend. Guelph, Laurentian and Windsor are the current schools on the radar.
Next, Zoe Booth a long, post teammate with Caitlyn, that runs the floor with fluidity and purpose with eyes open and on the prize, is destined for university ball. With a couple institutions in the running for consideration, they will welcome the ‘cool under pressure’ Zoe with open arms and time on the court.
Booth is a great compliment to Caitlyn’s passing game as she boasts great hands and knowledge of what to do with the ball when within striking range and that can be mid range or driving layup. She is a fifth year Kingsville Cavalier who has also won two K of C free throw competitions and at 6’0 she has graced the all star court for the last three years. Like Longmuir, Both is also currently being sought out by Guelph, Laurentian and Windsor university respectively.
Jamie (JT) Ames is hard to miss, hovering around 6’8. He started out at the post position as most ‘bigs’ in high school do, but has since added the wing to his team positioning. With a sweet mid-range jumper, driving dunk or layup and great court sense, JT has earned the consideration of such universities as Laurentian, Windsor, Lakehead, Western and Guelph with Guelph being the front-runner at this time and visits planned in the fall.
Perhaps the two most important qualities JT has are dedication to training and coachability. He applies what he learns on and off the court and has since excelled in ball handling, shot selection and aggressive play. JT was also an integral part of the Leamington Cougars OBA gold medal at the Ontario Cup this season.
Now, all this talent is left to senior coach Jason Leili to use to the betterment of the Kingsville Cavalier’s senior girls and boys teams. His drive to OFSSAA last year with the girls is testament to his knowledge of the game and extracting the best from his players. This ninth year high school science, physics and robotic teacher demands perfection and team play traits good players will embrace and carry through life and future basketball endeavours.
These names will be known this season throughout Ontario, of that I’m sure. Next season, Caitlyn and Zoe will grace the courts for one of the schools previously mentioned. JT is a 2013 prospect with various options available.
The fact is, wherever they land, those teams will instantly be better off…and by the way, their coming out of a crop of 600.