With the CYBL season coming to an end yesterday, I can confidently say that the state of basketball in Canada is better than it has ever been.
The league has brought loads of new, young, talented prospects to the forefront of the NPH National radar.
In other words, we have learned a lot about the Canadian class of 2020 (I feel old saying that)..
As for this past weekend’s CYBL Showdown, a perfect season was accomplished, a controversial game was played, and a star was born.
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: CIA Bounce Energy Too Much For Vaughan, Complete Perfect Season
CIA’s latest feat was accomplished this past Sunday as they claimed the CYBL showdown championship, while completing a perfect 20-0 season, after defeating Vaughan 71-65.
Addison Patterson continued his dominant play scoring 25 points, including going a perfect 7 of 7 from the charity stripe.
Patterson, after scoring 50 points in the pervious game and throwing down three dunks in CIA’s first round match-up, earned the CYBL’s Showdown MVP award.
Patterson’s scoring touch will be discussed further in an article to be released in subsequent days.
Kobe Elvis shot the deep ball extremely well registering a game high 5 three-point makes ending with a total of 17 points.
Shemar Rathan-Mayes, who was especially valuable in controlling the tempo of the game and distributing to his teammates, scored 14.
After the match coach Dareck Mackey and his players were restricted from an interview because of orders from up top.
Unfortunately, the club’s elite do not find value in allowing their players and coaches to comment and provide personal insight on the game, their CYBL journey, a perfect season, and what their summer plans are.
Khalid Long, who put up 20 points, including 4 triples, led the Vaughan Panthers in scoring.
Versatile Vaughan Panthers big man Ben Li also was very impressive putting up 14 points, including two from the land beyond.
The Panthers have had an interesting CYBL journey rooted in the fact that they were a team that should have never even been here to start.
After registration for the CYBL was booked, Vaughan coach Richard Stewart and his team wanted to see what the CYBL was all about.
After viewing one session, he was thoroughly impressed.
“After I came to see the first circuit the energy in the gym was unbelievable,” Stewart said.
“My kids came out to watch with me and playing in front of all that energy is exactly what they wanted.”
However at that point it was too late for registration into the league as all the spots were taken, but by chance a team in the midget division dropped out.
Stewart jumped on the opportunity to add his squad.
“We are proud of the CYBL and the work that they have put in, the weekend is jam packed, parents love it, and even though some games are blowouts every team challenges you to work on certain things.”
Moving forward, Richard said he would love to keep his team for the summer and do two US tournaments.
Nevertheless, Richard knows that his players are going into high school and thus have to train for a new brand of basketball they will be playing, combined with the scheduling of school work, and other commitments.
Semi Finals: Was it a Foul?
Another game at the CYBL that garnered a lot of attention was the semi-final between Burlington and Vaughan.
In the dying moments of the game, with the score leveled at 55-55, Nick Kwakumey received a questionable call on his last second shot attempt that would see him go to the line with 1.1 seconds left.
Kwakumey hit one of the two free throws sending Burlington home, much to the demise of parents, players, fans, and coaches alike.
“That’s not a foul” one player told me as we watched the game, while after the game had concluded one parent called the call “an absolute shame.”
Yet, there were some parents that thought that the ref had no choice but to blow the whistle as “once a player loses the ball with 2-3 seconds left on the clock, as the defender you have to just step back, not reach in, and just contest the shot.”
Whichever way you slice it, with the speed of the players continuing to rise in Canada, referees will have to adjust.
Burlington should be given a ton of credit, though, as IBSA showed class, work ethic, and commitment throughout the CYBL season.
This however should be said about every squad, and the CYBL, as all organizations came to the forefront and through their hard work and dedication for basketball they have continued the upswing of elite basketball players in Canada.
Something that must always be kept in the minds of every organization–the wins and losses are temporary, however the life skills and imprint we leave on youth is long-lasting.
Lets send the right message, and continue to mould young people into future contributing citizens and positive role models.
Until next season!