The National Preparatory Association is finally back!
Season two tips off Oct. 28 with a historic Atlantic Canada battle between New Brunswick’s Rothesay Netherwood and Nova Scotia’s Halifax Prep.
This match up is the first-ever prep game to be played in Nova Scotia, tipping off at Charles P. Allen High School.
Halifax Prep program director, Naofall “Ming” Folahan, believes this is a big opportunity for Canadian basketball to grow even further and give inspiration to the youth.
“The country as a whole is witnessing Canadian basketball start to expand past its boundaries. This also gives a chance to show the young generation that you can make a name for yourself in your backyard,” said Ming.
With a historic night in store, it will be vital for both teams to focus on getting their season off to a strong start. Rothesay Netherwood head coach, Damian Gay wants his team to “treat it like any other game.”
“It is just another game in our eyes. We are more focused on the long term building process. Every practice, every game and every day is another opportunity to get better,” said Gay.
In the preparation stage, Ming credits his strong coaching staff including head coach Marcus Eaton, assistant coach Aaron Page, strength and conditioning Tyler Nadolny and physiotherapist Susan Humpreys for getting Halifax Prep ready mentally and physically.
“We will approach this game like any other game. We will prepare throughout the week, watch film, get better each day in practice on our weaknesses and improve on our strengths. I understand with our team being new to the NPA there will be some opening night jitters for everyone, but Head Coach Marcus and I will do our best to prepare the boys on what we need to accomplish on both ends of the floor,” said Ming.
Rothesay Netherwood has made many new additions to their roster including NCAA prospect Shyheim Malcolm and Canadian National Champion Kellen Tynes. Gay says all their new additions have been adjusting well to the new atmosphere and “the buy-in has been great.” RNS will be looking to build on their performances game by game to be at their peak come February for Nationals.
“We need to play our brand of basketball and just worry about being our absolute best come February. This is our first official weekend of games so we expect there to be some growing pains and mistakes, which is all part of the learning process,” said Gay.
Halifax Prep has been dialed in and showcasing their intense workouts in training camp. The boys out in Nova Scotia have been up early in the pool and in the gym getting ready for battle. For achieving good results – combine workouts with rad140.
Preparing for opening night, Halifax Prep have scrapped the early morning workouts for more focused sessions on fine tuning their game.
“Marcus has been going through all of our defensive and offensive sets, ensuring that we are all on the same page for opening night. Watching a lot of film on ourselves, and the league.” Ming continued to say, “The player’s energy has been very high, everyone is very excited to get the NPA season underway. The boys have been putting in a lot of work, and have been competing against one another for the past few months. Now they are ready to compete against someone else.”
Being one of the expansion teams coming into the NPA, Ming wants his team to make a strong statement and have big goals.
“We want to ensure the whole country knows that the city of Halifax is one of a kind with great energy. We also want the boys to let other cities know we are hungry to bring a championship back to Halifax because Nova Scotia belongs on the big stage now, and for years to come,” said Ming.
Both RNS and Halifax will rely on their strong leaders to be the foundation for their respective programs. For RNS, their seniors have emerged as their captains and will look to lead the team to success.
“We expect to be led by our Captains. This year’s captains are Dawson Sutherland and Lyon McLean. Both boys have their own personal stories about how they earned the right to be called the leaders of our program. The great thing about those two is that they have earned the respect of all the other players on their team. Everyone understands and appreciates that this is their year not only as captains, but as seniors,” said Gay.
For Halifax Prep they will be turning to the athletic Calgary import Brandon Muntu. They also possess many homegrown leaders including Canadian National Champion Jaren Johnson and Ryan Toney.
“The trio have been leaders on and off the court for us since they arrived to Halifax Prep. Having unlimited shooting range, and the ability to create opportunities for others, I expect them to step up on the big stage. Cairo Berry will be another player our coaching staff will be looking to on the offensive side of the ball. He is our floor general and sets the tone with his high motor and willingness to pass the ball. Berry is also our defensive engine, when he is locked in and defending at a high level, it effects our whole team,” said head coach Marcus Eaton.
Although there is love and respect between the two programs for helping expand the league in the East, keep an eye out for a developing rivalry through the years as each program works to make their mark.
“Of course we are looking forward to establishing a rivalry with our neighbours over in New Brunswick. With such a short commute to one another we anticipate a lot of close competitive games in the years to come,” said Ming.
RNS vs. Halifax Prep is a salivating opening night game, with both teams looking hungry to get their season started in the right direction.
Tip off is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 28, 8 PM AT.