Yasiin Joseph, Jacques Lukusa Capture NPH Ottawa Showcase MVP
OTTAWA– On this, the third day of the Showcase, it’s no doubt that familiarity had settled in among the group—and it’s such familiarity that spur such a great turnaround from the rough play of day one.
The 2013 NPH Ontario Showcase ended on a high note on July 7, with a morning of scrimmage. The quality of basketball was excellent, with players communicating and playing with high intensity on both ends of the floor.
Yasiin Joseph (2015 6’0 G/ Glebe C.I) and Jacques Lukusa (2016 6’0 PG/ Immaculata) were selected as upperclassmen & underclassmen Showcase MVPs. This award, belonged to the players that displayed most consistency, excellence and dedication throughout the weekend. But it wasn’t an easy selection to make, as Ricardo Beloney (2015 5’8 PG/ Samuel-Genest) made a strong case for the upperclassmen as well, scoring in a variety of ways, and building a reputation as the best defender in the gym.
Joseph is a nice talent, a shifty and gifted offensive player who is reminiscent of a young Johnny Berhane, from the Ottawa Gee-Gees. He can drive to the basket like few can, and compliments this with a good midrange game. His three-point shot is where he needs to improve.
Lukusa, meanwhile, is a special talent. He was among the last cuts to the Cadet Men’s National Team, but didn’t let that affect him too much and showed up at the Showcase with a purpose. He can set up team mates or break his defender at will with the best handles of the group. Effort, especially on defense, and attitude can lack however, and it was great to see him interact with team mates on and off the court.
The top Prospects Game concluded the Showcase, but before that Chris Anderson (2013 5’10 PG/ St Patrick’s) won the three-point contest. In the end, if Lukusa and Joseph took home the hardware, it wasn’t for a shortage of candidates. Chris Nsenga (2014 6’0 PG/ St Patrick’s) is another example, as he displayed an arsenal of drives and pull-up jumpers, getting to the spots that he wanted throughout the weekend. However, he will need to improve his finishing around the rim moving forward.
Others will use this event as motivation. Ricardo Belony told NPH afterward that he’d keep working hard. His attitude is perfect, as he feels like he wants to “destroy everyone” when he steps in the gym. He’s confident and determined, and will add wrinkles to his abilities that include quickness, a midrange game and great defense. The lefty will need to strengthen his off-hand and transition into a full time PG in order to take his game to new heights.
Michael Otoo (2014 5’10 PG/ A.Y Jackson), from the class of 2014, has an explosive first step and can finish in traffic at the basket, due to his ability to elude defenders. The next step for him is to add a consistent outside shot, which he said that he’s intent on improving, while also increasing his physical strength.
The first ever NPH Showcase in the nation’s capital was a success, as it brought in the basketball community which included HS/club coaches, CIS players & coaches all for the sake of supporting youth basketball in Ottawa.
The 2014 version promises to be even better.
Until next time, CBG signing out.
With evaluation notes from Tariq Sbiet
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @CeeeBG & NPH @Northpolehoops