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Tip-off to the regular season is right around the corner!
While being on the verge of the inaugural year in the National Preparatory Association, there will be a lot to get familiar with–a combination of household names and new faces within the basketball scene in the north–both Canadian and international flavour.
The pre-season rankings are based upon two elements–overall talent, and program pedigree–a proven track record of success at a high level.
In it’s first year, The Tech Academy Titans operating out of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario will be stacked with the most overall talent in the NPA, and arguably on the globe at the amateur basketball level; not meant to be an embellished statement, the roster will speak for itself.
For starters, the program will consist of 2017 6’10 Matur Maker (Thon’s younger brother) and cousin 2020 6’11 Makur Maker, along with one of the top uncommitted point guards out of Toronto in 2017 6’4 Shakwon Barrett.
In the coming weeks, a couple of prospects that fall under “the big fish” category, will be announced for this squad.
The Titans will represent Canada in The National Grind Session, an elite circuit that will take place throughout North America.
There will be excitement all year surrounding the big boys at The Tech, but don’t sleep on BC Christian Academy
You can refer to this squad as the United Nations of the NPA, with a total of nine countries represented on the roster–Canada, Congo, Turkey, Croatia, Serbia, USA, Belarus, Nigeria and Holland.
Starting with the local stock riser, 6’5 combo guard Keenan Dowell, who recently made his mark at the BC NPH Showcase, is joined by Polish 6’5 guard Przemek Golek who was one of 24 athletes across Europe selected to participate in the European Jordan Brand Classic. Golek is a top-10 European prospect in his age group. Turkish duo 6’9 Kaan Tari and 6’7 Mustafa Akgoz will provide interior production. Outside of one player, this entire roster is no smaller than 6’5. BC Christian will have the depth, size and overall talent to make a run at the inaugural NPA title.
Next up is perennial power St Michael’s Blue Raiders–a team that will be lead by Canadian national team member and Harvard commit 6’8 Danilo Djuricic, 2019’s Kobey Lam, Sam Rautins and new addition, 6’9 Atik Gilao.
While the Blue Raiders don’t possess the same size and depth as the top two, this program brings a winning pedigree and continuity throughout the roster—as we’ve come accustomed to over the years, you can expect a well-oiled machine come March with consistent growth through each month.
In its third year, Toronto Basketball Academy (formerly BTB Prep) has made considerable strides as a program, increasing their talent off each season.
Returning Seniors Cordell Veira, Jace Colley and Lascel Tyndale will be counted on to lead both in terms of production and vocally, while the additions of 6’7 Tarig Eisa, 6’10 Sukhjot Kalsi, 6’7 Jaden White and 6’5 sniper Adham Eleeda will provide the size they’ve lacked in the past to compete at a higher level.
It will be very interesting to see how TBA stacks up against the top three.
Consider Central Tech Prep as carrying the torch for Eastern Commerce; the Blues will prepare, compete and likely produce at the same level under the guidance of Head Coach Kevin Jeffers. Isaiah Cromwell-Wright, Steven Rahwire,Chris Hankins, Deiondre Reid and Raheim Sullivan are some of the top dogs on this roster.
6-11 – Building Stages
The top five teams are either overwhelmingly loaded with talent or have already established chemistry from previous years.
From 6-11, you largely have first year programs in the building stages and a young core to work with.
GTA Prep features 2017 6’10 Bobby Dhaliwal and young studs in the 2019 class, AJ Lawson, Jayden Campbell and a stable of prospects we have a lot to learn about.
Canada Topflight Academy is a perfect example of a team with new names, new faces that will require time to figure each other out and define roles, as both the players and coaches get familiar with one another.
Australian 2017 6’7 wing Manel Ayol could be the guy that leads the pack.
After producing 80+ NHL players, the Notre Dame Hounds of Saskatchewan turn to the orange ball. Coach Adam Huffman has the duty of building a strong basketball presence out of Wilcox, Saskatchewan, and he has some local pieces to work with.
6’5 Jashon Henry, 6’3 Shol Ayach and 5’11 lead guard Adefolarin Adetogun AKA “Fo-Fo” are expected to lead the Hounds.
London Basketball Academy
The London program has been able to attract talent from all over the province including 2018 6’7 forward Joseph Hlady who will bring versatility on both ends of the floor and is expected to be one of the team’s top producers. David Penney, alongside Jalen Warren and Denzel Cummins will man the point, while 6’6 Josh Inkumsah will provide length, athleticism and an interior presence.
6’3 Ezoha Santiago, 6’6 Greg Wint and 6’9 Jordan Kenning will lead the way for Windsor’s 3Kings Prep. This team may be in its first year, but Head Coach Pete Cusamano is a veteran in the game, bringing over two decades worth of experience.
2018’s Andrew Milner and Will Spaulding provide Rothesay Netherwood with experience and leadership, while young Caleb Sooley (2020) will receive high level competition early in his career, setting him up for the future. Having an East Coast representative in this league will undoubtedly add an excellent opportunity for development and exposure under Coach Damian Gay.
For some programs and players, pre-season rankings set the bar high in expectations. For others, its used as chalkboard material.
Ultimately, when the ball tips, the results are what matter.