ST.CATHERINES,ON–The radar is beeping at OBA Championships and there are new guys trying to make a name, the name of the game here is consistency; that’s what it all comes down to. There’s going to be a leading scorer in every game, a defensive stopper, a major contributor on boards and so on; but its all about the players that perform at a high level game after game. Jamal Murray, Russell Baker, Christopher Thompson are the first names that come to mind when thinking about consistent players.
Mississauga native, Jordan Martin garnered our attention as he captured the win for his Mississauga Monarchs after being down 14 points with three minutes to play against Stoney Creek. A combination of ball speed and an ability to put teammates in scoring situations is what set him apart. Moreover, he is a trusted ball handler that can take care of the ball in pressure situations.
As a 2015 guard he has lots of time to add to the offensive part of his game and this summer would be a great time to put energy into getting off as many shots as possible off the dribble and at a standstill. We are looking forward to seeing the maturation of his body coming into the start of the high school season this fall.
As championship day gets underway and the OBA season comes to a close, we continue to track some of Ontario’s top scoring guards. Jamal Murray by this time has become a Canadian household basketball name after representing the red and white in an MVP performance at the Jordan Brand Classic.
While playing under Coach Jeff Lyle for the Waterloo Wolverines, he has taken the lead role as PG on a guard heavy team that includes other Waterloo guards, Tyrick Thompson and Jermaine Lyle.
Murray’s versatility allows for him to be effective whether the rock in his hands or if he’s playing off the ball. This 2016 prospect displays a very high IQ and anticipates plays before they happen. Multidimensional scoring is also another element that makes him exciting to watch.
Perhaps the most dominant player in OBA championships has been Russell Baker and this is not the only stage that he has been on his terror. He has undoubtedly secured a position on Team Ontario for Canada Games and the AAU circuit. We anticipate that Baker will quickly pick up NCAA interest this summer and raise his overall profile in the 2015 class.
Baker is physically gifted with a very strong frame and elite athleticism. His overall toughness brings an intimidation factor to the floor against weaker opponents. A very high motor adds another positive characteristic to his package and demands the most out of teammates. When this type of player brings consistent high energy to the floor it forces teammates to match up in efforts levels and play every possession hard.
Exciting plays like fast break dunks, shot blocking and three point plays with contact is what you can expect to see from Baker. To is a lock down defender as a result of his length and quick lateral movement. If his Toronto Triple Threat team were to beat a younger but very talented Ottawa Guardsmen squad this morning, Baker will be the X-Factor in doing so.
One of the most underrated PG’s coming out of the Waterloo region is Christopher Thompson of the Waterloo Wildhawks. A small but fearless scorer that uses his speed and deceiving athleticism to get to the hoop and finish around the rim, sometimes even above the rim. Last night the Wildhawks lost to the Guardsmen, but Thompson gave his team the fighting chance to stay in the game in the final minutes when he went for 12 straight points.
The intriguing part in Thompson’s game is that he is able to score in a variety of ways. In the few spurts that he had in the game mentioned above, he connected from the perimeter, finished with contact and rebounded and put in his own shots. Yes he can score, but he is also very unselfish and constantly looking to find the best available shot for his team.
Some post secondary coaches may look away because he needs to gain between 10-15 lbs before he gets to the next level, however we don’t see this being an issue because the weight that he does have is all well defined muscle.
Thompson gives his all every game and is usually the lead contributor on the scoreboard. Besides putting on muscle mass, this PG needs to become more communicative on the floor with teammates. If he can add these elements, then we’re looking at a legitimate 2015 prospect.