PITTSBURGH,PA-Over 200 Canadian ballers participating in the Under Armour Pittsburgh Jam Fest translated into a hectic weekend for the NPH team, getting a look at various age groups from the Class of 2012 to 2016.
Grassroots Canada sailed to a 5-0 record to capture the open division championship at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest. Tre Boutilier posted a team-high 17 points, while Kamar Akoto added 15.
- Kaza Keane, Grassroots 2012 Uncommitted PG, took a visit to the University of Pittsburgh a day following their Pitt Jam Fest championship.
- St Bonaventure Head Coach Mark Schmidt and staff were in attendance watching uncomitted NPH #4-ranked Dyshawn Pierre. Also spotted in attendance was Baylor representation.
Day one featured a statement victory for the 15U Brampton Warriors, who put the hurt on ‘Hidden Gems’ in a 50-16 victory, while the 15U Tri-County squad suffered a tough loss to BSA.
Brampton is loaded with talent and size from top to bottom which includes 2015’s Matthew Trpcic (6’2 PG), Jalen Poyser (6’5 SG), Andrew Anderson (6’6 F), Dillon Brooks (6’6 F), Jelani Mofford (6’6 PF), and Rayshane Case (6’1 PG).
The message was clear for the Brampton Warriors, and each huddle told the story as they chanted “war’ on the count of three.
“Whenever we come to the states or we are in a big game, we call it a battle, we’re going to war. This is our clan, our group, our soldiers going to war,” explained Head Coach, Mark Poyser.
Tri-County certainly had some notable players that we are looking forward to see again, including 2015’s Tre Allard, (5’8 PG), Tevaun Jackson (6’0 G) Javon Bryce (6’4 W), Brandon Simon (6’0 G), Chris Gorski (6’6 PF)
Day two was dedicated to identifying some of Canada’s young rising stars in the class of 2016 which included Y.A.A.A.C.E, CIA Bounce and Grassroots Canada in the 14U age bracket.
The 2016 phenom, Justin Jackson (NPH #1-ranked) was the main attraction in this contest and he delivered, displaying a variety of skills, including his dribbling ability, defensive presence, and vision. Jackson’s basketball role model is Magic Johnson…just some food for thought!
2016 YAAACE Notables: Jordan Holness, Godwin Boahen
A player recently discovered and put on the NPH national radar was Brandon Cyrus (2016 6’3 SG) during the Halton All-Star game. At the Pitt Jam Fest, Cyrus re-confirmed his value as the primary scorer for CIA Bounce, putting the ball in the hole from every angle.
2016 CIA Bounce Notables: Jordan Keane, Payne Wood, Koby McEwen
Grassroots Canada features an inside-outside presence composed of ‘Big Red’ Kevin Hamlet (2016 6’5 PF), and lightning quick Elijah Shillingford (2016 5’7 PG). While Hamlet controlled the paint, defending and gobbling up rebounds, Shillingford pushed the tempo creating for himself and others.
2016 Grassroots Notables: Matthew Smalling
Jamar Ergas | 2015 | 6’3 | W | Grassroots Canada
Despite entering the game late, Ergas proved to be the most productive player on the floor. On the wing, he is dangerous due to his combination of speed and athleticism. As his game continues to develop, he will need to add consistency to his jumper, which would make him a legit threat on offence. In the meantime, his athleticism serves as a great tool in getting to the basket, drawing contact and finishing strong.
Irshaad Hunte | 2015 | 6’7 | F | Northern Kings
This defensive stopper was a joy to watch as his length and athleticism disturbed the opposition on virtually every possession. His timing is especially impressive on defense, going up for two pins in the same game. Thanks to his physical attributes, Hunte is also a very good rebounder on both ends. From the looks of it, he is still raw offensively as most post player are at this age; however his youth is in his favour, with time to develop an offensive package. It was our first look at Irshaad Hunte, and it certainly won’t be our last.
2015 Northern Kings Notables: Denzel Rowe, Junior Asamoah, Malik Richards
Russell Baker | 2015 | 6’2 | G
Baker is as consistent as they come, as we have yet to see an off game from this rising talent. He is long, athletic, fast and in control when he slashes to the cup, using great body control to adjust and finish with contact. He is also active off the ball, scoring on curls and the ability to finish with either hand. Baker also showed he can hit from beyond the arch, however would benefit from improving this area in his game. Defensively, Baker is a great on the ball as he remains low to the ground and uses his quick feet to beat the opposition to each spot. Here is some bonus info on Russell…his shoe size is 15, meaning at 6’2 his growth spurt is not yet close to over!
Matthew Trpcic | 2015 | 6’2 | PG
It has been a great pleasure to witness Tripcic’s body transformation in the last year, since the OBA Championships. He went from being a skilled player with virtually no muscle mass, to one with good definition, which has evidently translated on to the floor. He is stronger, more athletic and has seemingly added a bounce to his step. Trpcic is a leader, both by example and in communicating with his team…he can shoot the ball with deep range, attack the gaps by picking his spots, and gets his teammates involved. Trpcic is headed in the right path, and should not take his foot off the gas peddle in order to remain atop his class.
For Full Results on each age group, visit The Hoop Group