To me, The Association (U16) VS Hoops Canada Elite (17U) was the game of the weekend at CYBL session #2, with Association surviving in a 84-79 overtime victory.
From start to finish, each team made runs to counter one another.
Both squads possess strong talent. Association is the younger team, but have no shortage of size, which seemed to be the advantage.
“In terms of competition, we have been playing up in the CYBL, which would be good preparation for when we hit the road to play in AAU tournaments in the States,” explained Association Head Coach Shane James.
The Assocation is stacked with tenth grade talent starting with floor general Jordan Henry, who I believe is currently the top Canadian PG in the class of 2017.
With that being said, there is still a lot more to learn and discover about this age group, with this spring and summer serving as insight.
“There are only a handful of guys that we can name over the past five years that have the steadiness and poise that Jordan has,” continued James.
“Not only does he get guys involved, but he can also create for himself and shoot the ball.”
Henry ended with a team-high 22 points and a handful of assists, including back-to-back jumpers down the stretch–one that beat the shot clock off a pump fake.
But it was far from a one-man show. Nickeil Alexander-Walker came alive in the second half, and finished with 19 points, creating for himself and teammates.
“With him, it’s a confidence thing. We just keep telling him, every time you are open shoot the ball, you have the green light. Once he gets on, he can get it going,” James told NPH.
To help illustrate his abilities, Alexander-Walker scored 50 points this past high school season on 10 threes.
Amidou Bamba (13 points), Jonathan Kitenge (10), Scott Hitchon and Petar Basta pitched in with 8 points each in the victory.
The size on this roster will be giving the opposition on both sides of the border issue all season.
“What’s special about our bigs is that they all do different things.”
For Hoops Canada Elite, Kardon Edwards showed no lack of confidence and finished with a game-high 23 points.
I admire this team’s fight, as they were down by considerable margins throughout the game where they could’ve easily got rolled over, but instead continued to compete.
However, they will have to improve their team composure. When things aren’t going their way, they must remain together and play for each other. The talent is present no doubt, but that’s only half the battle.
In speaking with Head Coach Jermaine Holness, he expects his team to continue growing together as it’s still very early in the spring season.
Omar Shiddo and Isaiah Mike added 15 and 14 points respectively. If you remember my recent post from Peel All-Star Game, Shiddo is a fairly new name on the scene for us.
Isaiah Mike….look out! The 6’8 2016 hybrid forward might be the hottest name in basketball circles, as far as new guys are concerned.
Mike is building himself a strong reputation in the CYBL, while establishing himself on the national team radar with Cadet Head Coach Dave DeAveiro checking in.
Hoops Canada Elite will be travelling on the AAU circuit, beginning with a trip to Ohio in the Spring Live period.
The Association will be known as “Canada Elite” in the Under Armour Association League, where they will compete for the UA crown this summer, kicking off the Spring at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest.
Coach Shane James has confidence in his guys.
“Our goal is to win it. We feel like we have the talent, and these guys have the right attitude.”