Tariq’s Tidbits – Canadian National Championships


As I enter Day 4 of the Canadian National Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, I would have taken in over 20 teams from coast to coast.

In U15 action, NS and MB have punched their tickets to the Final Four, while Ontario and Scotia have done the same one the U17 side.

There is a lot to talk about, so here we go…

Atlantic Canada in the Building

My initial thoughts would have to point out the fact that the growth on the Canadian East Coast is REAL!

We already know about the talent in Ontario and Quebec, however it is the Atlantic Canada region that is closing the gap — Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and last but certainly not least…Newfoundland.

All these provinces have represented with a great deal of respect, integrity, skill and talent. Hats off to the development system on the Atlantic as coaches are truly getting the most out of their players….holding them accountable and coaching them up.

A consistent trait for all these Atlantic teams is that their effort and energy is NON NEGOTIABLE — the way it should be for every basketball player…and a great reference point to use for youth basketball. Watching these boys compete, you can see the passion and love for the game through every possession.


Newfoundland Fans showing support for their team

Newfoundland Fans showing support for their team

Nova Scotia 17s – Beautiful Basketball

Hats off to Nova Scotia coaching staff of Head Coach Deon Wilson and Assistant Ryan Dickison, truly doing an outstanding job all the way through. From the last time we saw these prospects in March at the NPH East Coast Showcase, their individual progress has been evident…from mind to body; strength, maturity, confidence and skill.

My colleague Coach Tex recently raved about Manitoba who has been executing at a high level, however you could make the same argument for NS, who have punched their ticket into the final four and could be waiting for MB if they are to move passed Saskatchewan.

In their game vs Quebec, they played strong fundamental basketball and were able to get passed QC due to their TEAM efforts, while using their skill, grit and intellect.

Saskatchewan Takes Down Home Team AB

In the border battle between Alberta and Saskatchewan, Sask simply outworked the home team and slowed down the game to dictate tempo.

Carter Millar, who has been leading Sask, put up a game high 20 points, while Brandon Dirham added 19 points including clutch three-pointers to help seal the deal.

Sask simply played like they want it more, with a greater sense of urgency… And they did it their way, “mucking up the game” crashing the glass on offensive boards and winning 50-50 balls.

It was a big victory for Sask…a win they grinded out to the last second, to hold bragging rights on their neighbours.

For those that have followed along on twitter, I have been high on Alberta as a team due to their showing in Ontario last month, where they looked to be executing at a high level, with fluid ball movement and strong chemistry. I went as far as saying that they had a chance to win it all. Team AB has a very good combination of talent, with size, athleticism, length and shooting ability. You could make the argument that AB is the most talented team in the tournament.

However, in a game against Saskatchewan that would punch their ticket into the quarter-finals, they were disappointed with 72-71 loss at home.

Adjustments weren’t made defensively, and players were not put in position to take advantage of their physical superiority. For instance, there was no full court pressure applied, allowing  Saskatchewan to build comfort in the half court set. In addition, AB’s zone defence (which further slowed down the game) allowed Sask to get in the cracks, resulting in repeated open shots.

With the personnel on AB, the game has to be sped up in order for the team to thrive in transition, whether that be attacking the rim in the open court or trailing for three point bombs.

Awak Piom (6’5 SG), who is blessed with unique gifts (length, athleticism) and the ability to stroke the ball, has lead the charge, averaging 18 PPG, 10 RPG and 2.5 APG on 50% from the field. Piom is one of the most intriguing prospects in the tournament, and saved the day for AB with a game-winning three in their tournament opener against PEI.

Aher Uguak (6’6 F) is a mistmatch nightmare due to his size, strength and versatility on both ends of the floor. He is averaging 14.5 PPG, 3 RPG, 1.5 APG on 56% FG.

Marvin Washington, Carter McIntyre, Cole Knudsen, and Josiah Thomas also provided consistent production for their team.

Overall, these are some promising prospects that I look forward to seeing progress from, and some (like Piom) who we’ve tracked for over two years, could continue blossoming as he enters his senior year at Harry Ainlay.


Ontario 17s Respond

Im not going to beat around the bush…the reality is, it has been a down year for Team Ontario in terms of talent due to the various events happening in the world of Canadian basketball during this time.

However, to stay on the topic at hand, I have to give props to both the players and coaching staff for responding to their opening loss of the tournament against a strong and hungry New Brunswick team.

Since dropping game 1 (81-71) Ontario has come out strong earning two convincing victories against Quebec (90-67) and Newfoundland (85-70).

Muhammed Kabeya, averaging roughly 17 points, three rebounds and four assists, along with Ignas Slyka (19 points, 5 rebounds on blistering 60% FG) have lead the way for Team Ontario, however it has been a collective effort with Ameer El Badry, Cham Ujuiiu and Samuel Ivey all averaging at least 8 points, among others contributing in both scoring and rebounding departments.

Team Ontario is off today and will await their opponent — the winner of Manitoba VS Saskatchewan.

NPH Showcase Alumni Excelling!

We at North Pole Hoops are proud to have worked with many #NPHShowcase Alumni who are excelling across the country on practically all provincial teams!

The progress that they have made since last seeing them has been evident.



Next stop on the Showcase circuit is Hamilton & Alberta. For full info and registration, Click here.



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