As it is evidently the case throughout the entire country, the game of basketball continues to grow even at Canada’s most eastern point in the small city of St John’s Newfoundland who boasts a population of 100,000 people.
As per last years trip, this year looked the same in one aspect – the elite youth level basketball in Newfoundland is continuing to be a strong presence.
C/O 2024 Comeille Kakoko was very impressive all throughout the camp as the 5’5 point guard had a pure shooter stroke, was fearless going to the basket, and was a very coachable and attentive young man. Kakoko recieved the Junior Showcase MVP.
The same could be said for C/O 2024 Bower Issacs as the 5’2 guard showed a very good shooting stroke, had solid footwork and also was a vocal leader.
C/O 2023 Samy Kirkland will be a player to keep an eye out for as the 6’2 eighth grader displayed good range and as he continues to work on his ball handling and guards skills here is a player that has potential to be a top player within the region.
For the underclassmen, C/O 2021 Matthew Pennell took home the MVP as the high IQ lead guard was a staple all weekend long. Whether it was shooting the ball, finding his teammates or leading his squad Pennell was the consummate teammate and never took a drill or possession off.
C/O 2022 Liai Tong was a great find at this years showcase as the 5’10 lefty from the south of Sudan is quite the player never mind the person. Tong was crafty, long and upbeat all through out the camp.
C/O 2022 Arpandeep Singh also played well and showed considerable improvements with his handle, shot and defense at 6 foot 3.
C/O 2021 Dem Lam was the most athletic player at camp as he showed off his blazing speed and explosive finishing. As Lam continues to develop he could be a definite sleep in the class.
Finally, for the upperclassmen C/O 2020 Dafydd Banfield was a beast all camp long using his 6 foot 6 inch frame to punish defenders inside, block shots at the rim, and rebound at will. Banfield has good instincts and is very alert to were he is in terms of positioning on the court – high IQ guy.
Overall the shift in Newfoundland basketball can also be highly attributed to St. John’s Edge star and NBL MVP Carl English who had himself a monster season this past year.
Glenn Sooley, assistant coach for the St John’s Edge marveled at the effect of Carl English noting, “going into our first year with the edge we needed to get 1,500 seats filled a night for the organization.”
“We ended up with 5,000 a night in attendance – right behind the London lighting.”
Not bad for a franchise in there first year of existence.
Dave D’entremont of St. Anthony’s and Rock Elite echoed the same message stating, “In our first year we opened our doors to about 2 players – the year after we had close to 30 show up.”
“Every year as a program we see more and more players coming into the gym”
Our next stop will be in Windsor at the University of Windsor May 19-20th.