Camp Estival D’Excellence, Montreal Oozing With Talent


NPH was back in Montreal covering the men’s and women’s side of Camp Estival D’Excellence in its 26th annual year.  Mehdi Stambouli and Jean-François Allard over leadership of the camp two years ago and have assisted in its evolution in making it a nationally recognized brand by adding the exposure element to an already strong development week of training, scrimmages and film room sessions.

Prospects work all week long with a group of over 30 coaches and have guest speakers such as Nirra Fields and Joseph Chartouny to provide guidance and feedback from a player’s perspective. Fields is now playing professionally after having an outstanding career at UCLA, while Chartouny completes a final year in the NCAA at Marquette.

It’s been said time and time again that the province of Quebec is loaded with undiscovered talent that needs to be brought to the light.

This trip proves the same with a gem like Arnaud Konan getting onto the National radar with a distinguishing skill, setting him apart from others and putting him ahead of many guards in the class. It is very rare to find a kid with character like his off the court, speed and athleticism on the court and leadership qualities at a young age.

Welcome to the Canadian graduating class of 2022 Mr. Konan.

He sets himself apart from others with his ball handling and burst. The first step is lethal and can put defenders in a predicament to need help. The vision on Konan is just as good. Athletically he is ahead of the curve and will be a scary matchup as his body continues to mature.

Camp Director Mehdi Stambouli pointed Konan out on day one of camp and my eyes glued on him since to learn as much as possible about this young prospect.

This is why Stambouli got involved in the first place.

“We want to give an opportunity for kids of different levels to compete in an environment where they get good coaching and guidance. They get to play against each other and older competition all week long after skills training.”

The training is rigorous and is a taste of what is yet to come for those who take their game to an elite level. The “D’Excellence” group is made up of prospects from difference walks of life.

Up and coming coaches Vincent Plante (Laval Rouge) and Hugo Boisvert (College Laval juvenile D1 Excellence) go all out and are big time energy givers. Between their knowledge of the game and their skills of learning to deal with personalities and talent levels, these young coaches have a bright future.

In any metropolises there are inner-city youth looking for outlets. A place that gives them a chance, a place where they can channel their energy, Camp Estival D’Excellence is one of those places.

“Bursaries have been made available to those in need. No one should be stripped of an opportunity because of their economic status. We are aware of the socio-economical barriers and wanted to address them head on when we took over the camp.”

An excellent developmental part to this camp is having set up scrimmages against teams at the CEGEP level. While the participants at camp are high school levels kids, they competed against college teams who were far stronger physically, more skilled and more athletic. By doing so it prepared them mentally for the next level.

They were put in very challenging and somewhat uncomfortable positions; kind of taking on the phrase sink or swim. Some prospects excelled when they were told to use this environment as a measuring stick.


CAMP MVPs – Yannice Biyik Nlend (E.S Brébeuf Qc) & Yedidiya Mubiay (E.S Pagé)

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYERS – Dave Olivier (E.S Dominique-Racine) & Christopher Lalonde (E.S Triolet)

MOST IMPROVED – Ousmane Diawara (E.S Jeanne-Mance) & Andrew Keo (E.S St-Laurent)

I love walking into a gym and watching guys go all out, leaving it all on the floor. This is something that Biyok Nlend did innately. The other thing that separates prospects from each other is there mode of communication. He talks to teammates, gets feedback from coaches, and politely initiates referees. As a communicator he addresses all parties on the floor.

Tag it up with his down hill speed and ability to get to the rack and now we’re talking about a versatile threat.

Chris Sosthene was a breath of fresh air.

A big man at 6’7 and in the class of 2021 playing the post. The low post. The low post how it used to be played, when guys were comfortable starting from the inside out.

A soft touch around the rim and power moves off the entry made him a tough match-up for everyone at camp.

Swinging it back to the guards, Yedidia Mubiayi was electric in the games against the older CEGEP competition. Off of defensive boards he would go coast to coast and get finishes at the rim. 

There is a calm demeanour surrounding him yet a high competitive spirit. Transition buckets is what he’s about and he got them by the bunches. In the open court Mubiayi is tough to stop due to his speed.

While there were other players that got onto our radar, there is still a lot of evaluating to do. We will be back in Montreal in the fall and winter to do just that.

Prospects took in a ton of information on the recruitment process and overall development of a player from pro players, NCAA student-athletes and things from a scouting perspective.

“Nirra Fields and Joseph Chartouny and yourself (NPH) spoke at camp and this gives them the mental side of the game. They’re getting different perspectives from so many people who have done what they’re trying to do.”

“Moreover, school starts in a couple of weeks and this camp is getting them conditioned and ready for their season. Guys are getting pushed out of their comfort zone with different coaches, new environment, different teammates,” elborated Camp Director  Stambouli.

Technical fundamentals, theory in video once a day, controlled scrimmages and gives them an opportunity to get seen by coaches at the CEGEP level where the majority will end up before going USports, NCAA or other post-secondary levels.

Camp Estival D’Excellence has it all in the one week of camp.

We look forward to being back in the mix next year in the 27th annual edition of camp.


Elias Sbiet

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