Three Canadian teams are representing in a championship bracket in their respective division at the Las Vegas Fab48. Northern King 17U, Northern Kings 16U and Grassroots 17U teams are all going to be going after some championship hardware. That is if the zebras don’t get in the way, which is a pattern that’s been reoccurring on the circuit with Canadian teams. It is important for these teams to come out gunning to ensure early leads that they can build on so that regardless of decisions made by the whistle they will give themselves a good chance at prevailing.
Northern Kings 17U
The day started off with an exhibition of athleticism and speed put on by the 17U Northern Kings, who have dominated there pool at the Fab 48 with a 3-0 record coming into the Platinum division championship bracket. The Kings will play the Texas Tigers at 10:30.
Looking at the roster there was a bit of a surprise, seeing Duane Notice who just came off the Peach Jam circuit with CIA Bounce and is now playing on the Northern Kings for further exposure. There was no time spent on adjustments or getting comfortable with the team, he fit right in with their defensive and high tempo style. He’s the type of player that you can put on the floor with any four players and can expect him to produce.
James Sylvester was another guard that produced well for the Kings in the 68-62 win. He has shown his ability to shoot from the three which is a scoring option that he didn’t have yet during the high school season. Northeastern, the same university, that fellow Eastern Commerce Saint, Alwayne Bigby attended was impressed with his physique, speed and athleticism as well as his presence on the defensive end which could leave some guards rattled.
Northern Kings 16U
Coaches filled the seats to see if all that they have heard about the 6’10 2014 prospect Jabari Craig was true, and they weren’t disappointed. This soon to be highly touted prospect dropped 14 points and 16 rebounds in the win. The scary thing about him is that he doesn’t rely on his size to do the job, instead he has worked to improve his athleticism and it is very well showing. He is still a little raw offensively but is developing quite well.
There are several other names on this Kings roster that coaches should and eventually will be all over; many of which have made their way into NPH national rankings during the high school season. Tomorrow’s recap will feature a few of these names that really make an effort to stand out.
This game was the most anticipated to watch for many reasons. Firstly, the return of Petar Rusic, a sharp shooter from Oakville, Ontario who had a sensational summer last year with Grassroots makes a comeback after a serious knee injury. He is looking strong and agile as he was before. Secondly, we don’t get to see Dadrian Allen and Mikyle McIntosh during the school season since they are at prep so it was pleasing to see there continued development and strength in their bodies. Lastly, one of the fastest growing prospects, Jamal Reynolds displayed his new found passing touch and vision, which he had picked up on during his training with the Junior Men’s National Team. He’s been known to be a pure scorer, but today he showed great versatility in his game, which should add a few more schools to his list of programs that are showing heavy interest in him.
Again, with this team it is a case where one year there is updates on a player’s progress and the following year they attend prep and it makes it hard to track there progress. Nonetheless, this is a path that in some cases needs to be taken.
Naseem Hadrab, is a prime example of a student-athlete that has taken advantage of the basketball atmosphere south of the boarder and has made huge strides of progress. This 6’9 centre rebounds everything that comes off the rim and is a great shot blocker because he is very good with timing the shot. He’s a big man that knows his body and keep it in control. The next step for him would be to add muscle mass so that he can battle in the post with stronger players.
Brandon Chuca, a 5’7 point guard that is an extremely efficient score, that does not force shots, handles the ball for the team and barely ever turns it over, made a name for himself while playing with both the 16’s and 17’s as a trusted ball handler and distributor.
Northern Knights 16U
Some familiar prospects from this team include Irshad Hunte, SammyAyisi, Sage Usherand and Rayon Miller; all who are guards with the exception of the 6’7 2015 prospect Hunte.
This team is also 3-0 and goes into the championship bracket tomorrow.