The National Preparatory Association (NPA) Holiday Challenge will take place Dec 27-30 in Toronto, hosted by the Central Tech Blues.
Six programs meet for league play–host team Central Tech (5-1) London Basketball Academy (2-3), Canada Topflight Academy (0-3), Toronto Basketball Academy (6-0) and GTA Prep (0-2).
“It’s so exciting. We’re honoured to be a part of this and host. This league has helped changed the face and perception of the school,” explained Head Coach of the hosting Blues.
“We are going to be able to showcase our facility and teams in the league across the country. It’s great to see our product. I can’t wait to see Saskatchewan…we got some big games lined up.”
In November, the Eastern Conference Session took place in Ottawa, where the NPA had its first look at both Canada Topflight Academy and Rothesay Netherwood.
At the Holiday Challenge, Saskatchewan’s Notre Dame Hounds are welcomed to the six, where they enter as an unknown for many.
What to Watch for
The Notre Dame Hounds of Wilcox, Saskatchewan have been in preparation mode for much of the 2016-2017 season.
Holding a 1-2 NPA record to date, Coach Adam Huffman & the Hounds have been coming together thus far in terms of team chemistry and confidence.
“I just feel like the amount of hours they are spending on campus, going to school, eating next to each other, in practice has them gelling,” explained Huffman.
“They are together all day everyday, and its impacting us in a positive way.”
Sask provincial team members 6’3 guard Shol Ayach and 6’5 wing Jashon Henry are two big sleeper prospects for ND and will look to make their mark in T.O.
The future of the program could be in the hands of 2019 6’0 PG Adefolarin “Fofo” Adetogun” who is the team’s leading rebounder, consistently in double digits, thanks to a 6’8 wing span.
Ayach could be pound for pound the best athlete in the country, bringing effortless leaping ability, speed and defensive versatility.
“He is one of the best, if not the best athlete I’ve ever coached,” said Huffman, who has also spent time with Joe De Ciman (Colorado St) a superb athlete in his own right.
Henry is another physical specimen with a college ready body, who lead the Canada Basketball nationals in scoring this past summer.
ND has tracked their competition from a distance.
“There is some nice talent which is why we are flying across the country to come and play…to find the best competition, that’s why we are in the NPA.”
Huffman says his team has been watching film and believe they can match up with the size and athleticism in the East.
In preparation for this trip, the Hounds have competed against college level competition, “I don’t think they are going to be intimidated from who they’re facing.”
ND will be tested right from the jump, opening play against undefeated Toronto Basketball Academy on Dec 27.
Canada Topflight Academy should have a chip on their shoulder, looking for redemption after an 0-3 start in Ottawa. Fresh off a trip to the U.S, including a game against one of the top American programs in Blair Academy, CTA has been battle tested and have gained necessary experience coming into Toronto. Lual Akot is a name that has been buzzing for CTA, after picking up his first NCAA offer from Old Dominion.
The host team Central Tech, is on a 5-game winning streak, after losing their first game to LBA. 2018 PG Evan Shadkami has elevated his game, coming off a broken foot in the summer. Shadkami has displayed grit and consistency in production, particularly from the three-point line. Shadkami is an under the radar CIS recruit who brings a “gym rat” work ethic, and looks to build on a strong start to the season with the Blues.
Featuring a young core, LBA has been growing up quickly and having to approach each game as a collective. Although 2-3, on the season, this team holds a victory over the 5-1 Central Tech Blues, and are not to be overlooked. 2019 PG David Penney has been rock steady and serves as an engine for the team–one that can create for himself and others.
GTA Prep will look to get on the board at the Holiday Challenge, as AJ Lawson has continued to excel this season, fresh off a tournament MVP.
TBA has been rolling at 6-0 lead by senior lead guard Cordell Veira and a deep roster.
Can the Hounds knock off the #1 team in the East?