Follow Elias Sbiet @Elias_NPH for updates at #AdidasInvitational
INDIANAPOLIS, IN–As day two at the Adidas Invitational came to a close, four Canadian squads locked in spots in the Platinum Bracket of their division while three other have one more game of pool play that will decide their tournament destiny. In the 17U division Team Toronto and Brookwood Bounce Elite have went through; Team Toronto squeezing out less than 10 point wins to push them forward and Brookwood defeated Northern Kings, sending them into the Gold Bracket.
Brookwood also has a presence in the 16U Platinum Bracket, led by their stars Jerome Desrosiers and Richardson Maitre, who have led the team on the both ends of the floor. The city of Hamilton is represented by Blessed Sacrament who’s toughness has played a huge part in their success so far in this tournament as well as at Pitt Jam Fest two months ago.
The nations 15U teams are oozing with talent, the question was whether or not this talent would be able to come together on their respective teams and work well as a unit. To start the summer YAAACE struggled in this regard, and at this time they have taken a 180 degree spin and are quite fluid offensively. They love to run and gun, however need to realize when it’s time to slow things down in order to minimize unforced turnovers.
Justin Jackson highlights this YAAACE squad with his tremendous skill and ability to play up to FOUR positions from 1 through 4. Jackson does not however need to or want to feel like a star because he knows how good the rest of the team is. If you are an NCAA coach reading this, be sure to check YAAACE out before the tournament is over, it could be the most useful time spent in one gym. Keep tabs on Jordan Holness, the most improved player in the Canadian 2016 class.
They have already defeated a tough team in Team Thad and will go on to face a team called Truth. This contest will decide who moves on to the Platinum Bracket for the 15U division.
CIA Bounce is also still in the mix in this division, however they are not at full strength since four of their key guys (Jacques Lakusa, Eddie Ekiyor, Brandon Cyrus, Payne Wood) are missing and will be rejoining them at ESPN’s AAU Super Showcase later this month in Florida. Had they had the full squad I would have said that they would win this game coming up against Team Thad, however without some other major players it will make it extremely difficult to get passed Team Thad. The post presence of Ekiyor is stifling and Lakusa’s ball handling and play making ability is like no one else in the country regardless of class.
Bounce’s 14U team is also in Indiana and are stacked, tomorrow will be my first time seeing the pieces all together. Anxious is an understatement when describing how excited I am to see these guys. We say it a lot, but here it goes again, the future is bright.
Down the road from the Adidas Invitational is the Hoosiers Shootout which Team Ontario’s 17U are competing in. They are off to a solid start with two wins under their belt and will not start to get tested by stronger competition deeper into the tournament. Considering the short amount of time the team has been together, they look united and are playing for each other.
I will also be checking in on this tournament and keep you posted with results throughout the day via Twitter.