The CYBL’s high school division kicked off this past weekend, where a plethora of young Canadian prospects took the floor with their respective club programs, from grade 9-12.
There was enough action to keep me busy, not only throughout the weekend, but also during the week, writing player evaluations and entering new names into the NPH National Database.
Here were some of the story lines from the weekend…
Abu Kigab, Shai Alexander & UPlay 2017’s Put on a Show
Here you have arguably the top team in the nation for the 2017 class. It’s still early to say for certain, and other programs will contest with this claim, but what I saw this past weekend was a pack of wolves hungry to eat. UPlay went 4-0 on the weekend.
These boys play with grit and tenacity not often seen at the grade school level.
Abu Kigab, NPH #1-ranked Canadian prospect (2017) has the best motor in the country, and it’s contagious. He put up 31 points in an early spring, high scoring affair that saw UPlay beat Rise 145-97. Kigab was outdone by crafty lead guard Shai Alexander in the scoring column– one of the fastest rising names on the scene, Alexander had 37-large for UPC. Maliek Gordon also had his pedal to the metal, non-stop energy and represents the word competitor.
Expect things to tighten up defensively for both teams as we progress throughout the CYBL season. Bright spots for Rise–Aaron Tait, Malcolm Glanville and Trevor Hutton–a formidable team that should be able to compete at a high level throughout the season as they build chemistry.
Undefeated 11th Grade Teams
- Other teams in the CYBL 11th grade division that went undefeated include the Waterloo Wolverines (4-0) and Canada Elite (4-0)
- Adham Eleeda helped lead Waterloo, including a 41-point outburst. Korbil Gany and Simon Petrov are also on my radar throughout the season.
- Canada Elite 2017’s will be one of those squad gunning for the #1 spot all season; when they meet up with UPlay, it will be fireworks.
- Nikeil Alexander-Walker is proving to be one of the top guards in the country–smooth like butter. The combination of he and Jordan Henry formulates a killer duo. But that talent doesn’t stop there. Stay tuned.
Undefeated Senior Teams
- Northern Kings went 4-0 on the weekend. This team possesses a plethora of talent–athleticism, strength and good overall size. They could be the favorite in this division but there is still much to learn moving forward, and many teams to see.
- Thetford, out of Quebec, is also 4-0. This group should have an advantage early coming into CYBL action, due to the fact that chemistry won’t be an issue, having played together on the prep scene. Alan Louis and Jonathan Koud are expected to lead the way from the guard position, while size, athleticism and strength on the boards shouldn’t be an issue for this team Very interested to evaluate these prospects in the CYBL environment.
- Four other teams are currently 2-0: BTB, Blessed Sacrament, Ottawa Guardsmen, and the London Ramblers.
CYBL Grade 10 Division Wide Open
- Game of the weekend that I saw at the grade 10 level was Canada Elite (5-0) VS Northern Kings (3-1); it took double overtime to get the job done, but CE survived, 71-67. Canada Elite is loaded with size and talent, however NK was able to neutralize the match up with good ball movement, chemistry and toughness.
- Ranheim Sullivan and Prince Oduro of Canada Elite were pleasant surprises, new intriguing prospects to track.
- UPlay (4-0) and Jayhawks (4-0) are the other two teams that were able to run the table.
- The boys from Ottawa finished 3-1 and have a talented group that I will be learning about all season. Only loss was to Canada Elite 74-63.
I wasn’t able to take in much of the young bucks quite yet, but there’s no doubt that we will get to learn more about them as the season progresses.
Top Two Team Clash in Ladies Division
No Limit Performance (13-2) shocked Canada Elite, handing CE their first loss (62-48) of the season, now 13-1.
I focus on mens basketball, but I couldn’t help but pause to watch the ending as I was walking to my next game, seeing these girls scrapping and clawing. It was higher intensity than some of the mens games I watched.
In speaking with guard Tiffany Reynolds of Canada Elite, she said it was a humbling loss and that NLP played like they wanted it more.
The team that wants it more typically gets the dub, as was the case.
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