Thursday, 5 July 2007

Jr.National Team Final Roster Announced

The final twelve player roster for Canada Basketball Jr. National team which will represent our country at the FIBA U19 World Championships in Serbia was officially named this morning and the roster includes some veterans from last summer's team that qualified for the worlds plus a stellar group of young players destined to become the future of not only the Jr. National team but hopefully the Senior Men's team going forward. Players born in 1988 or later are eligible for competition in the U19 world championships. Here is a breakdown of the 12 man roster by position, with hometown, school and year of birth:

5'10" Keaton COLE, Toronto, ON (Eastern Commerce), 1989
6'1" Cory JOSEPH, Pickering, ON (Pickering H.S.), 1991
6'2" Chretien LUKUSA, Toronto, ON (Eastern Commerce/Binghamton), 1988
6'3" Devoe JOSEPH, Pickering, ON (Pickeing H.S.), 1989
6'5" Alwayne BIGBY, Toronto, ON (Eastern Commerce), 1990
6'5" Jonathan HOUSE, Guelph, ON (Centennial/Belmont), 1989
6'7" Boris BAKOVIC, Toronto, ON (Ryerson U.), 1988
6'8" Scott BRITTAIN, Oakville, ON (Boston U.), 1988
6'6" Kai WILLIAMS, Regina, SK (South Dakota State), 1988
6'9" Maurice WALKER, Toronto, ON (Mother Theresa), 1991
6'11" Zach NAAGTZAAM, Cambridge, ON (Southwood H.S./Ohio U.), 1988
7'0" Max ZUYDERHOFF-CRAIG, Montreal, PQ (Loyola Marymount), 1988

With 4 guards capable of bringing the ball up and guarding opposing points, Canada has depth at both the lead and off guard spots, led by 6'3" Devoe Joseph, who led his team to an Ontario championship this past season and has impressed at several U.S.-based camps this summer. In 6'2" Chretien Lukusa, Canada has a shut-down ball defender who excels in transition. Diminutive Keaton Cole played his way onto the team with some terrific efforts and his quickness and athleticism should help Canada in the transition game. In 6'6" Jonathan House, Canada has a tall perimeter threat who can stretch defenses and shoot over small defenders. House should be one of Canada's main go-to scorers given his maturing offensive game. A pair of youngsters, 6'5" Alwayne Bigby (only 17 years old), a strong, physical defender and 6'1" Cory Joseph (only 16 years old) should see significant action and represent the future in the backcourt for Canada. Canada's experience lies up front as 6'8" Scott Brittain, who was a mainstay on last summer's team before sustaining an injury forcing him to miss the qualification tournament, has established himself as one of the more consistent players on the roster and given his experience internationally will be looked upon as one of the team's leaders. Another experienced veteran who should contribute is 6'7" Boris Bakovic, coming off a stellar freshman season at Ryerson U. 6'6" Kai Williams is also in the mix up front and the group is complemented by 6'9" Maurice Walker, who impressed everyone with his strong set of mature offensive moves and finishing skills. Walker is another youngster (only 16 years old). In the pivot, Canada has a pair of U.S.-bound centers led by Montreal's 7'0" Max Zuyderhoff-Craig, who is one of the most improved players overall since last summer, and 6'11" Zach Naagtzaam. Both will be tested immediately against Nigeria in the first game of the tournament next Thursday as the Nigerians line up with a pair of 7 footers. The final cut from the Jr. Nationals was 6'1" Alex Murphy from UBC, making Bakovic the only CIS player to be selected to the team. The team returns 6 players from last summer's roster that participated in 3 tournaments including the world championship qualifier: Brittain, Devoe Joseph, House, Lukusa, Kai Williams and Zuyderhoff-Craig.

Canada by age:
19 years old (1988): 6 players - Bakovic, Brittain, Lukusa, Naagtzaam, Williams, Zuyderhoff-Craig
18 years old (1989): 3 players - Cole, House, Devoe Joseph
17 years old (1990): 1 player - Bigby
16 years old (1991): 2 players - Cory Joseph, Walker.

Canada qualified for the U19 world's after posting a 2-3 record in last summer's qualifier in Dallas, TX to finish fourth overall and claim the final qualifying spot. Canada defeated Puerto Rico and the Bahamas in their first two games before losing an 11 point decision to eventual finalist Argentina to finish second in Group B. In the semi-finals, the Canadians lost a 92-66 decision to the eventual champions USA before dropping a 79-70 match to Brazil in the third place game after leading by 6 after three quarters. The USA won the gold medal at the qualifier with a 104-82 victory over Argentina in the finals.


Anonymous said...

The Junior National team is going to get killed.They are going to embarass Canada. Canada Basketball will never prosper if they are not willing to work with the players. It has always been this way with Canada Basketball,thats why our Senior National Team does not have two of its better players, Jamaal Magloire, Steve Nash. They are not willing to work with the kids. Olu Ashaolu, Junior Cadougan, Kris Joeseph are probably the 3 best players that would be on the team along with Robert Sacre, who would be the best big body.Olu,Junior, Kris,are going to RBK Camp. This is obviously not a new thing, as Olu and Junior have been going to camp for the last 3 yrs,which are held the same date every year.So I'm sure Canada Basketball knew in advance that these guys are going to camp. But Canada Basketball wants to make these kids choose between camp and going to Serbia, instead of letting them do both, which is doable since RBK camp ends July 10th and the tourney in Serbia starts July 12th. Message to Canada Basketball: its not about Canada Basketball, its about the kids.

Mark Wacyk said...

Some strong comments toward Canada Basketball some of which may have some validity, others that are probably a little off base and inaccurate. I'm reasonably confident this group will not "embarass Canada". It is a mature group with solid leaders and they play together, without regard for who scores or who shoots the ball. Team defense will be key and a group that is together usually plays great team "d". Many times this type of team is less glamourous but effective. I predict at least a move to the Final 8 and then after that who they draw and when will determine how well they do.

With respect to the comment on Steve Nash, he is 34 years old, plays 35-40 minutes a game over a grueling NBA season and his goal is to win an NBA Championship. He has done more than enough already for the program. In Jamaal's case, he also has a pro career to consider. Robert Sacre apparently wanted to get started on his Gonzaga career early as they are bringing in some players at his spot and he wants to compete so he went early.

With respect to the other kids you mentioned, Canada Basketball doesn't set the schedule for the world championships, FIBA does. Serbia is about an 8 hour plane ride and probably with a stop over somewhere. It is also a 6 hour time difference so leaving one or two days before your first game is not practical. The team is leaving Saturday to leave time to get rid of jet lag, have several practices in the arenas they are playing in to get used to the rims and the back drops. There are many who wish that the guys you mentioned were playing for Canada but saying that the team should wait for a camp to end 2 days before a championship tournament game 6 time zones away punishes the other kids on the team and the program in general. Best wishes to Olu, Junior, Kris and others at the RBK camp, I hope they do well.

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that Rob Sacre is not playing for Canada Basketball because of the way they operate, according to him all they care about is Canada Bball. The excuse of him getting started early is invalid as at least 60% of the US team are high school seniors going into their freshman year. Jamaal has an NBA career sure, but he's in his 20's. THere have been many NBA players at that age who also suit up for their country's national team. It is just that Jamaal has sworn off playing for the Canadian Junior National team. He is at home every summer, he's in Toronto right now. Are you telling me if Jamaal or any other player wanted to play for the National Team but they had a prior engagement, for example, NBA Summer League, and they can join the team only two days before the tournament, Canada Basketball won't allow it???? I know the travel is a bit of an issue, but that didn't stop Canada Basketball from calling Olu and flying him to the Qualifying Tournament last year in Texas. This was after Olu told the coaches that he was going to stay home and work on his game so he would be ready when he attended tournaments and camps that summer when he would be evaluted closely by American universities so he could secure scholarships offers. With the tournament already started, Olu flew to Texas. First game off the plane: 24 points, 13 rebounds.Fouth in the tournament in rebounds with 4.4 per game, eight in the tournament in scoring with 13.2 points per game and averaging roughly 26 minutes per game. If he can do that last year, why can't he do better this year, a year more experienced. Kids now a days play all over the country, I understand jetlag but that can wear off after a day, getting used to the rim, the rims are no different, they are still 10 feet high over there, if you are a player, you just go out and play. A talent like that can definitely help the team out.The same can be said for Junior, who led the team in scoring and assists with 16ppg and 4apg. These two are mainly responsible for Canada going to Serbia.They have sacrificed for Canada Bball, why can't Canada Bball work with them. I would rather have them than not. My predictions, no offense to the team, but Canada will struggle to win one game in the tournamnet. Just being realistic. Think of the team you can have with Olu,Junior,Kris,Robert and even Andrew Nicholson and Etoile Imma. Now that team can possibly win the tournament. Anyhow, first game is against Nigeria, good luck guys.

Wait, isn't Olu Nigerian????????? I wonder

Anonymous said...

GOOD LUCK IN SERBIA, Well done to ALL the athletes selected.

Anonymous said...

Well done Kai and all the squad on this year's team.

Anonymous said...

Those close to the situation know that Junior, Olu and Ro Russell were making all kinds of special demands to play on the team. Instead of laying down to arrogant personalities, Canada Basketball's staff wanted no part of it. So the kids and their "advisor" left. For the sake of our country's reputation, I hope this sends a message.

Anonymous said...

Maurice Walker is only 15 years old. His birthday is in November.

Anonymous said...

There is no room for ego's when you get to this level of competition.

This group of players have worked hard to get to this level.

I hope they do well in Serbia.

Anonymous said...

those of you who think that Basketball Canada should fly in athletes two days before a major tournament have ZERO idea what it means to be part of a team and have success at any level.

TEAMS train together, trvel together and are part of a team. look at team USA as one of you cited as an example, they train together in Colorado Springs and DO NOT allow players to simply fly in at the last moment.

i would much rather have a team and not a group of individuals.

Scottsdale Insurance, Car, Auto, said...

Canada has come a long way. I bet they perform a little better than expected. And yeah, you really can't unload on Nash.

Anonymous said...

They are gonna get killed, no Olu, Junior, Kris, Rob, its a wrap. If Canada Basketball is going to pay for these kids college education, then they should miss camps and tourneys in the US, if not, they should make both situations work.