TORONTO,ON–It all started with a prediction that was made on Twitter about which team would walk away with the U17 Etobicoke Thunder Jam championship. My choice as favourites to win was the Ottawa Guardsmen, a decision which I took a little heat for since it was so early in the tournament to be making calls.
These Guardsmen are loaded with prospects that we’ve have been tracking since last summer on the circuit. Although they are young and lead by tenth graders, they are well suited with the size, speed and athleticism to go at other top notch teams like; Toronto Triple Threat, Waterloo Wildhawks, Etobicoke Thunder and Waterloo Wolverines. These young guns play well beyond their years and approach every game with a fearless mentality. They could have played in the U19 tournament and competed at a high level.
The major similarity between the teams mentioned is that they all have a high caliber point guard that can defend as well as create offense for themselves and their mates. As we’ve learned from the NCAA tournament, the teams with the best point guards have advanced. Leadership qualities and high I.Q will always trump speed and athleticism in big games, and it all starts with the PG.
Tracking the progress of prospects is something that we do at all tournaments, however finding a diamond in the rough is a rarity. Last night we encountered two players who clearly set themselves apart from all others participating in this tournament.
Jacques Lukusa (Guardsmen) and Nikola Farkic (Wildhawks) are the feature standout point guards at Thunder Jam. They have an unmatched ability at finding the open man by drawing help defenders once they’ve broke down who ever is in front of them. To top it off they can both score in a variety of ways.
The Guardsmen and Wildhawks will meet in the quarter finals today at 1:15 where the mentioned lead guards will match up.
Despite large margins of victory for the Guardsmen, Coach Blakely stressed the importance of communication to his team. Simply put, if you don’t communicate, [especially on the defensive end] you don’t play.
Toronto Triple Threat also has a valuable PG in Calvin Epistola, complimented with athleticism on the wing: Josiah Riley, Russell Baker and Nic Morris on the inside.
- Corey Johnson (Ottawa Next Level)
- Tyrick Thompson (Waterloo Wolverines)
- Woods Brown (Hamilton Wildcats)
- Chase Peck (Kingston Impact)
- Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa Guardsmen)
- Chris Thompson (Waterloo Wildhawks
Day 1 AAA Results
- Toronto Triple Threat 75, York Stingers 49
- Ottawa Next Level 72, Hamilton Wildcats 45
- Blessed Sacrament #1 79, Kingston Impact 40
- Etobicoke Thunder #2 69, Burlington Panthers 64
- Kingston Impact 62, Waterloo Wolverines 61
- Ottawa Guardsmen 78, Etobicoke Thunder #2 58
- Toronto Triple Threat 70, Waterloo Wildhawks 58
- Etobicoke Thunder 46, Ottawa Next Level 39
- Ottawa Guardsmen 66, Burlington Panthers 39
- Whitby Saints 59, Mississauga Wolverines 50
- Barrie Royals 68, Timmins Select 40
- Sarnia Shamrocks, Waterloo Wildhawk #2 43
- Waterloo Wildhawks #1 79, York Stingers 52
- Blessed Sacrament #2 65, Toronto Triple Threat #2 62
- Waterloo Wildhawks #2 61, Mississauga Wolverines 53
- Whitby Saints 59, Sarnia Shamrock 46
- Barrie Royals 68, Blessed Sacrament #2 53
- Timmins Select 65, Toronto Triple Threat #2 46
- Waterloo Wolverines 77, Blessed Sacrament #1 73