ORANGEVILLE, ON–As I watched warm ups, the first thing that hit me was the amount of athleticism on the Athlete Institute (AIA) squad, along with the high level conditioning that each player was in.
Lead by Brent Carey’s 22 points and the defensive intensity brought by Spencer Thomas (19 points), AIA was able to gain comfort particularly in the second half, following a fairly competitive first two quarters.
Carey reminded me of Tyler Ennis, who was recently selected as a Jordan Brand Classic participant. Of course, Carey is not Ennis however it is scary how similar their approach is to each other; body language, shooting form, and dribbling replicated.
After speaking with Carey, we learned about his history with Ennis, which helped provide much needed insight.
“I met Tyler back in grade 4 and he was the best player on our team…as we grew up we were on the same team and I didn’t get much playing time so I would watch his game and base my moves off of him,” Carey told NPH.
“It was a great experience playing behind him, because I feel like I learned a lot.”
The silent swagger was in full effect as the 6’2 point guard displayed ability to penetrate the holes and get to the rack, while shooting with efficiency from beyond the arch. Carey is extremely athletic as he proved so with a two hand jam on the break.
Carey is not yet actively being recruited by any NCAA programs, however has interest from Canadian universities and is open to the idea of playing in Canada, while D1 basketball being his first option.
Spencer Thomas, the youngest player on AIA stepped up big on both ends of the floor while also punching one in for a 1-hand dunk to ignite the bench. Thomas brought defensive tenacity off the bench, which he turned into offense of his own as he racked up at least three steals leading to fast break buckets.
“I’m a defensive player, I try to work really had on that end of the floor,” he said.
It was our first look at Thomas and surely won’t be our last.
Tayo Shittu, NPH Showcase alumni added 16 points respectively, running the floor and catching alley-oops. Shittu is a highly sought after CIS recruit thanks to his impressive physical attributes.
Truth be told, this AIA roster is loaded with NCAA and high level CIS talent which also includes NPH Showcase Alumni Raheem Williams.
For GTA Elite, the bright spot was the discovery of Andrew Animansa (2013 6’5 SG/SF) who tallied up a team-high 21 points, while displaying scoring versatility.
NPH will catch both these teams once again this weekend at Pound The Rock Invitational.
NPH Top Performers
- Brent Carey- 22 points
- Spencer Thomas – 19 points
- Tayo Shittu- 16 points
- Andrew Animansah- 21 points