For the past five championship seasons the Ravens have put the ball in the competent hands of brothers Philip and Thomas Scrubb.
And now after five full years of eligibility and national championships every season of their tenure, Phil and Tommy are taking the next step.
Both retire from the CIS with extensive resumes and a promising pro career ahead of them, but it’s not something they’ve explored in depth while preparing for another deep run in the Canadian University basketball season.
“We’re not really sure yet,” Phil said of pro prospects for him and his brother. “We’ll talk to Coach a few weeks after this and figure everything out but right now nothing for sure.”
“I’ve got to play somewhere hopefully. I’m not sure yet where I’ll play, but I’ll play anywhere I can and I’ve still got a lot of things to work on.”
Phil improving always means chasing perfection. Though his well-rounded game and precision can lead a team on the next level, he doesn’t do anything extremely well that might get him noticed by NBA-level scouts; an arguement can be made for his shooting ability, but then you have maybe the best shooter in the world not in the NBA, in fellow Canadian Brady Heslip.
That said, several NBA teams have been tracking Phil’s career and he’ll almost certainly be invited to an NBA team training camp in the fall.
“For sure he’s going to play pro but we’re not exactly sure where yet,” Tommy said of Phil’s next step. “We decided we weren’t going to think about it too much until the season was done so I guess some time in the near future we’ll talk to some agents and figure out what our options are.”
“Just based on his shooting ability he could go and play at the highest level of any league,” said the older Scrubb.
“He just has to work on his competitiveness and play with a bit more of an edge and he has a lot of time to improve still…hopefully he’ll be on team Canada this summer either at the Pan Am games or Olympic qualifying and in those situations alongside high-profile pros he’ll be able to judge what level he’s ready for.”
Both Tommy and Phil have been a part of Team Canada’s Senior Men’s program and will get a crack at this summer’s long anticipated Canadian roster that could also feature the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Cory Joseph, Kelly Olynyk, Tristan Thompson, and more.
And as prospects go on the next level, Tommy might even have more upside than his decorated brother.
A 6-6 swiss army knife, a crafty lefty who can score in a variety of ways and really developed his post game this year. Tommy’s a 50 per cent three-point shooter, and multiple Defensive Player of the Year Award winner with long arms and the ability to rebound when placed in that situation. So-called “three-and-D” players are increasingly valuable in the game and have data-driven front offices salivating.
“I’m probably going to keep playing basketball and finish my Master’s some other time,” said Tommy. “Hopefully I’ll play in Europe somewhere but for sure the next step is pro, and hopefully another Team Canada tryout and even if I don’t make that team I’ll play alongside players at the highest level and learn from that experience.”
Their longtime mentor and coach Dave Smart has seen the Scrubbs evolve into leaders on the floor for his Ravens and will help advise, when they make the decision to play elsewhere. He’s encouraged by their prospects for this summer and beyond.
“They’re right there with any of the [Canadian] kids who play in the NCAA,” said Smart. “There’s no NCAA kid better than Tommy or Phil. I’m not saying they’re better than those guys but they’re in the same league.”
“We’ll talk to Jay Triano and figure out what’s best,” Smart said. “There’s been a lot of people talking from different levels. It’s hard to say what they should do. We have to see what the opportunities are and pick the best fit. It’s got to be a good fit.”
As for the 2015-16 Ravens, they figure Connor Wood will step into a player of the year-type role. Gavin Resch will take over point guard duties. Resch and Victor Raso are already the vocal leaders on the team. Plus big men Cameron Smythe and Jean Pierre-Charles are ready for larger roles that could make CU more of a post-oriented team.
“We’re not losing the team concept,” said Thomas. “We’ve got lots of guys with lots of talent and the ability to bring the program success.”