Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Junior Nationals complete Durham camp; New Jersey camp next

Canada's Men's Junior National team, under the tutelage of Head Coach Greg Francis (NEDA Boys Head Coach) and Assistant Craig Beaucamp (UVic), completed their initial training camp in preparation for the FIBA U-19 World Championships in Serbia which begin on July 12th when Canada faces Nigeria. About 30 players participated in the Junior National camp and speculation is that 16 players remain with the squad, with the final roster of twelve with some alternates to be named closer to the worlds. The players head to Monmouth (N.J.) College next week for what amounts to a mini-camp and Canada is scheduled to scrimmage against a team of NCAA college and pro players, which will give them their first chance to see how they stack up against other opponents. Although not official, here is one take on who the 16 players are that will make their way to New Jersey next week for the mini camp. Arguably Canada's best current high school player, 6'2" Devoe Joseph (pictured) from Pickering H.S., Ontario "AAAA" high school champions this past season, played a key role on last year's group that qualified for the world's and Joseph promises take even more of a leading role this summer. Other veterans from last season's team that should get major burn this summer include 6'6" Jonathan House (Guelph Centennial headed to Belmont University) who has tremendous perimeter skills including range beyond the 3 point line and a game very well suited to international basketball and 6'8" Scott Brittain (Oakville, ON; Boston University sophomore-to-be), who is strong enough to guard posts bigger than him and is versatile enough to create perimeter mismatches for opponent's bigs including spotting up for 3's in transition. 6'2" Chretien Lakusa (Toronto Eastern Commerce headed to Binghamton University) has seen time at both guard spots and looks to be another solid contributor to the program. 6'0" Juevol Myles from Pickering H.S. also was on last season's roster and looks to contribute as point guard on this summer's team. A number of younger players who have a bright future with the National program also should warrant strong consideration for U-19 roster spots this summer including 6'5" Alwayne Bigby (pictured - Toronto Eastern Commerce; only 16 years old), 6'0" Corey Joseph (Devoe's younger brother; only 15 years old) and emerging 6'9" Maurice Walker (Toronto Mother Teresa; only 15 years old) who demonstrated a very mature offensive game with great hands and an array of finishing skills around the basket. Bigby and Joseph have had experience in national and international competition and are only getting better and Walker, who got his first taste of what it takes to play at the international level, proved to be extremely coachable and showed tremendous overall skills including a perimeter jumper out beyond the arc. With solid work, he could mature into a star of the future. Another Toronto Eastern Commerce product, diminutive 5'9" Keaton Cole also showed solid leadership and skills as a pure point guard. Probably the most improved player from last summer to this was 6'5" Kai Williams (Regina, SK; South Dakota State sophomore-to-be) who has extended his game out further on the perimeter, plays with much more poise and confidence and can now be counted on to play both forward spots where needed. A pair of CIS stars-to-be, 6'7" Boris Bakovic (pictured - Toronto East York; Ryerson U. sophomore-to-be) and 6'8" Aaron Chapman (Belleville Nicholson; Carleton freshman-to-be) could be in the mix at the forward spots with Bakovic showing tremendous improvement from last year to this, playing with more confidence offensively and generally showing the type of aggressiveness required to get time when it matters. Up front at the 5 spot, two emerging young big men 6'10" Zach Nagtzaam (Cambridge Southwood; headed to Ohio University) and 6'11" Max Craig-Zuyderhoff (Quebec; Loyola Marymount) potential give Canada a pair of skilled offensive talents in the paint with Craig-Zuyderhoff especially improving dramatically from last year, adding a solid jump hook and generally showing solid finishing skills around the rim. Another CIS talent who we talked about earlier who should be in the mix is fundamentally-sound 6'2" point guard Alex Murphy (pictured - U.B.C.), who very obviously has benefited from a year in a solid CIS program playing against veterans each and every day. A dark horse could also be 6'5" Dwayne Smith, another 3/4 type, who will play high school basketball for Pickering H.S. this coming season. We will provide you with the official roster once it is announced officially. Best of luck to the U-19's in New Jersey next week who will then come back to Durham for a final set of practices before heading off to Serbia in early July. We will provide a breakdown of the tournament as the dates draw nearer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe the picture displayed is actually of Igor Bakovic, not Boris.

Great story, btw -- interesting to see the young guys who will possibly be part of the next set of senior national team members in a couple of years.