Saturday, 25 September 2010

Several Top Freshmen joining CIS directly out of Canadian High Schools

On the heels of a recent post which appeared to clearly show the alarmingly-rising quantity of U.S. imports and Canadians transfering in to CIS programs after spending time at U.S. colleges, JUCO's and Prep schools, it is contrastingly-clear that some CIS programs can keep top graduating high school talent in Canada.  Using Barry Hayes Hoopstars Canada list of top high school graduates from last season as our guide, no less than 20 of the 50 names on Barry's list will play at CIS schools this season (other 30 breakdown as follows:  NCAA Division 1: 24; U.S. Junior College: 2; CCAA: 2; NCAA Division 1 (with Simon Fraser) 1; NAIA: 1).  Note that 6'7" Devon Steadman, one of the Top 50 graduating high schoolers who unfortunately has suffered through numerous knee injuries/operations, was set to join the Carleton Ravens as a freshman.  However, Steadman reinjured his knee while the Ravens prepared for their three late summer games against NCAA Division 1 competition and has decided to not play basketball.  Steadman has instead enrolled in an academic program at Dalhousie University in Halifax but will not play basketball.  Best wishes to Devon, who showed alot of courage in trying get through his injuries and it likely was a very difficult decision to not play; the CIS will miss him... Also one U.S. import who we missed in our original story on newcomers is Thompson Rivers' 6'3" Justin Riggins, originally from Rockdale County High School in Decatur, GA where he averaged 26 ppg as a high school senior in 2006-07.  Riggins then played one season at Muscle Shoals C.C. in Alabama in 2007-08 before sitting out last season at Columbia College in California.  New Thompson Rivers coach Scott Clark was alerted to Riggins by new Simon Fraser Head Coach James Blake who was the associate coach at Columbia.

This list also projects as a pre-season top CIS true freshman list, as follows:

Canada West
6'10" Chris McLaughlin, Victoria (#3 center)
6'7" Matt Letkeman, Calgary (#4 Power Forward)
6'7" Mike Lewandowski, UBC (#6 Power Forward)
6'10" Lucas Nagteren, Trinity Western (#6 Center)
6'4" Eli Mara, Trinity Western (#6 Point Guard)
6'0" Reese Pribilsky, Victoria (#8 Point Guard)
6'4" Keith Omoerah, Manitoba (#9 Point Guard)
6'4" Phil Labongo, Calgary (#10 Shooting guard)

OUA West
6'7" Taylor Black, McMaster (#3 Power Forward)
6'6" Satar Wahidi, McMaster (#6 Small Forward)
6'0" Kyle Giedraitis, McMaster (#10 Point Guard)
6'5" Peter Scholtes, Western (#10 Small Forward)

OUA East
6'3" Phil Scrubb, Carleton (#2 Shooting Guard)
6'7" Bjorn Michelsen, Ryerson (#5 Power Forward)
5'11" Jahmal Jones, Ryerson (#7 Point Guard)
6'8" Shavaan Sheldon, Laurentian (#8 Center)

6'3" Simon Bibeau, McGill (#6 Shooting Guard)
6'7" Vincent Lanctot-Fortier, UQAM (#8 Power Forward)
6'9" Mike Andrews, Bishop's ( #10 center)

5'11" Julian Smith, Cape Breton (#4 Point Guard)

Canada West teams attracted 8 top true freshman from Canada's high school ranks and 6'4" Eli Mara has a chance to make the biggest immediate impact, joining his brother Tyrell at Trinity Western on a roster that last season had no true quality point guard.  Spartans also bring in redshirt transfer Tristan Smith (Los Angeles, CA) so the lead guard position at TWU goes from a question mark to a position of likely strength for this very talented group.  6'4" Keith Omoerah who starred on the Manitoba provincial team and was all teed up to attend McMaster, decided to stay home closer to family in late summer and will be attending Manitoba, which made steady progress last season with a guard-oriented dribbel/drive offense under first-year Head Coach Kirby Schepp.  Schepp, who helped Canada to a Bronze medal at this summer's FIBA World U-17 basketball championships in Hamburg, Germany as an Assistant Coach on Roy Rana's staff, had his Bisons alot of 3's all season long (Bisons led CIS with more than 30 3's attempted per game).    6'7" Matt Letkeman should push for time up front with Calgary Dinos from Day One owing to the large losses due to graduation (Robbi Sihota, Ross Bekkering) up front at Calgary.  Letkeman should team with Tyler Fidler to help keep the Dinos near the top of Canada West.  UVic gets a pair of top freshman in 6'10" Chris McLaughlin from Oakville, ON and 6'0" Reese Pribilsky from B.C. both of whom should get worked into the rotation behind Vic's group of returnees as Zac Andrus and Jeff Cullen return as key lead decision makers while Mike Berg, Wendell Thomas and sophomore Pierce Anderson appear set in the rotation up front.  In Ontario, Carleton Ravens newest emerging star is 6'3" Phil Scrubb, a highly touted wing who can get to the rim and shoot 3's and according to Hayes is Canada's #2 rated shooting guard, the highest ranking for any player joining a CIS program. Both McMaster Marauders and Ryerson Rams secured multiple Top 50 players with the Marauders getting commitments from 6'7" Taylor Black (#3 Power Forward) and 6'6" Satar Wahidi reasonably early in the recruiting cycle and then in mid-summer secured the commitment of tough 6'0" point guard Kyle Giedraitis who was the target of several CIS schools before deciding to join Mac where his high school coach is on the coaching staff.  Second-year Ryerson boss man Roy Rana combed the recruiting trail hard and landed a point guard who he should be able to give the ball to from Day One in 5'11" Jahmal Jones.  Up front Rana landed 6'7" Bjorn Michelsen maybe the first-ever recruit to Ryerson hailing from Quebec.  Michelsen got away from QSSF programs but 6'3" Simon Bibeau (McGill), a likely Day One starter with the Redmen and impact 6'7" forward Vincent Lanctot-Fortier (UQAM) stayed in their native province.  The AUS was surprisingly almost completely shut out of any top Canadian high school graduates with only 5'11" Cole Harbour native Julian Smith, who stayed in Nova Scotia to play for Cape Breton Capers where he will likely get better each and every day practicing with and against a program with arguably the best overall talent in the nation and a probable Top 3 pre-season pick.

Given the high number of transfers taken in by many CIS programs this season, the purists should be conversely encouraged that a good number of our top high school players chose to stay home to play.


Anonymous said...

FYI... Keith Omoerah is at Manitoba NOT Winnipeg

Brian said...

Great work, Dan. I'm getting really excited about CIS ball.

Perception can become reality in our perenially-insecure Canadian basketball community. Many players perceive Canadian basketball to be second-rate, so they leave even before they graduate high school.

Conversely, we frustrated fans conclude that if 100 basketball players head south every year, they must all be the next Michael Jordan and therefore our leagues have been gutted and are of course second rate.

It all amounts to the same thing - we're insecure, and we have a low opinion of our own basketball scene.

Truth is, CIS and CCAA ball are still very good, witness the talented players staying home, or coming up from the States.

And the more we support it, the better it will be.

That will change perceptions, more kids will stay home and then no one will be able to argue that we're second-rate.

If we kept most of our kids home in the CIS, I'm certain we'd have an above .500 record against the D-I schools who come up here every year, including the high majors.

Mark Wacyk said...

Thanks for the find on Omoerah my mistake it has been fixed

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear Devon Steadman basically forced to give up the game. Having personally gone through the misery of reconstructive knee surgery and subsequent long months of rehab I can understand why Devon doesn't want to endure that agony anymore.

Anonymous said...

Devon Steadman would have undoubtedly been an impact player at the CIS level.
As the previous poster alluded to, anyone who has endured a serious knee injury and subsequent rehabilitation know it is an agonizing process.
Deveon had already gone through a number of injuries already and decided enough was enough.
A real pity...for the program it is a blow for sure but obviously Dave Smart has little difficulty finding blue chippers to fill his roster so I am not so concerned for the team.
But for Devon personally, what a tremendous loss. To have to forego his university career before it had even begun is devastating.
I wish him well at Dalhousie and hopefully he can find a role to play in the future with the game he so loves.