North Pole Hoops is proud to announce St Laurent Express out of Montreal, QC will be joining the National Preparatory Association for the 2017-2018 season.
Welcoming the St Laurent Express as the new expansion team will change Canadian amateur basketball forever. The province of Quebec has never been engaged quite like this before.
The Express Men’s Basketball team is widely regarded as the top program in Quebec. As recent as last year, St Laurent has played in leagues across the U.S but head coach, Akram Sleiman is thrilled to have his team compete in a national Canadian league.
“NPH has always been around supporting our program and our kids, and with the level in Canada going up and up, it feels like the best decision,” Sleiman continued to say, “It’s really exciting for everybody, we get to play FIBA rules and we get to travel through Canada and get exposure in Canada.”
The boys from Montreal will be competing in the Northeast Division along with the 2016-2017 NPA National Champions Canada Top Flight Academy (Ottawa, ON). Rothesay Netherwood School (New Brunswick) and fellow expansion team Colchester Christian Academy (Nova Scotia) round out the division.
This addition to the NPA continues to unite the country together and bring its best players back to Canada.
St Laurent possesses some of the best young talent in Quebec including Benjamin Datro, Tre-Vaughn Minott, Gideon Dwumfour and Arnaud Ngamije. They also have great role players that have always shown their dedication in Andrew Keo, Malik Bamba, Jean Emmanuel Seni. The Express’ depth will prove to be their strength.
In addition, the STL home crowd is intense, passionate and will play a role for the program throughout the NPA season as “sixth man” due to rich tradition and strong basketball culture. This program will be representing Quebec on a national level, and will ultimately gain the support of the province as the season progresses.
St Laurent pride runs deep through the coaching staff starting with Sleiman. He will be going into his 23rd year of coaching at St Laurent and is also a former student. His two assistant coaches, Randy Dezouvre and Marcus Charles are former players under Sleiman.
“Everybody that is playing with us this year has been at St Laurent since the 7th grade and honestly, this is the thing that I’m most proud about. I’ve been at St Laurent almost my whole life so there is nobody more Express proud than myself,” said Sleiman.
“Benjamin Datro is our top leader. He can score points in bunches while also coming into his own as a true PG, seeing the floor very well and also playing tough defence. Tre-Vaughn will also be a great leader. He’s turned into a great shot blocker, changes every shot. Tre-Vaughn is very vocal on the floor and looks to dunk every chance. He’s just an outstanding kid with great character.”
Sleiman has the tools to win on the court but one of his main goals is for all of his players to succeed academically.
“The first thing on my mind is for these kids to get their high school diploma. As for the NPA, it’s a tough league but we never shy away from a challenge. Hopefully we can win some games and by the time Spring rolls around maybe we can make a surprise in the National Championship tournament.”
It will be Quebec’s coming out party, and its about time to Respect the Q.
The NPA, launched November 2016 is coming off a successful inaugural year, making Canadian basketball history and crowning the first ever high school national champion, as Ottawa’s Canada Topflight Academy claimed the title.
Stay tuned on NPH for more expansion new coming soon, as progams will be announced from across the country.
Follow @NPACanada on Twitter and Instagram for the latest!