The McDonald’s All-American game showcases the best talent that the US has to offer when it comes to high school prospects. The event draws a large audience, both in the arena and on television, and Canada Basketball is hoping to reap the same benefits.
Monday marks the start of the 1st Annual BioSteel All-Canadian Basketball Game in Toronto, ON, and some of the best talent that Canada has to offer will be on display. The event brings 24 of the best players from Canadian high schools together under one roof for two days of exciting basketball. Monday night sees the skills portion of the event take place, with the BioSteel Future All-Canadians game, the Sport Chek 3-Point Contest, and the BMO Dunk Contest.
The BioSteel Future All-Canadians game features some of the best high school players in either grade 9 or 10 from around the country. They tip off at 6pm on Monday, with the three point contest and the dunk contest to follow.
Tuesday night marks the inaugural BioSteel All-Canadian Basketball Game, which will be broadcast on TSN at 10pm EST, following the completion of the Toronto Raptors – Boston Celtics game. All eyes will be on the likes of Jamal Murray and Thon Maker, but there are plenty of other players who are worthy of your attention, and who are looking to make some noise on the national stage.
We have taken a look at 12 of the top prospects in the game to try and provide some insight into the talent that you will see on the floor over the next two days.
Jamal Murray – Kitchener, Ontario (Athlete Institute Basketball Academy)
Murray is a high-scoring guard in the 2016 class, and is one of the premier talents in Canada when it comes to basketball. He is known s a strong shooter from long range, and has the ability to take good shots under pressure and with little separation from the defender. While he is a strong shooter, his game is more diverse than just shooting, but he uses his strength to set up the rest of his game. He’s not afraid to drive to the basket, and has the size to absorb contact in the lane. He’s strong off the pick and roll, whether he chooses to shoot or fire passes to others for better chances.
One area that Murray needs to improve on is his overall shot selection. He sometimes has the tendency to force up a lot of tough shots for 2, thus resulting in a low field goal percentage. Despite that, he is a good ball handler and could develop into a lead guard over the years, wherever he chooses to play collegiate basketball.
Thon Maker – Orangeville, Ontario (Athlete Institute Basketball Academy)
Maker is one of the top prospects in the 2015 class that has yet to commit to an NCAA school for his collegiate career. He currently has 15 offers, according to ESPN, and some of them include Duke, Arizona, UNLV, Kansas, and Kentucky. So, what do people see in Maker? Thon is very athletic and mobile for a guy that stands 7′ tall. He can catch and finish on the move extremely well, and runs the floor with long strides. He also has the ability to step out and knock down the open three when his feet are set and the time is there. He’s got the urgency and the intensity that will make coaches happy, and his shooting range will definitely make a lot of teams happy. His talents and body size have been compared to the likes of Kevin Garnett, which isn’t a bad comparison by any means.
If Maker wants to make a bigger impact, he will need to get stronger and add a little bit more muscle. He will also need to improve his free throw shooting and his passing decisions, both of which he should be able to improve. Thon Maker is one of the top prospects in ESPN’s rankings who haven’t declared for school yet (97 rating; 5-star). Wherever he lands, he has the potential to be an NBA lottery selection when he leaves for the pros.
Matur Maker – Orangeville, Ontario (Athlete Institute Basketball Academy)
Matur, the brother of Thon Maker, is another unbelievable talent in the Canadian high school system. Matur is a 6’10” forward with a similar game to that of his brother’s. He has the ability to step out and shoot the long ball if the opportunity presents itself, but also has a strong interior game to keep the opposing team honest.
One area where Maker can improve is in terms of is scoring package. He has no troubles scoring at the rim when there are clear paths, but outside of that, he has room to improve. As Maker continues to develop, the member of the 2017 class should be able to add some more moves to his bag of tricks on the offensive end.
Justin Jackson – Orangeville, Ontario (Findlay College Prep) (Committed to UNLV Runnin’ Rebels)
Jackson is the 30th-ranked prospect on ESPN for the Class of 2016, and he has already committed to the University of Nevada – Las Vegas. The 6’8”, 215-pound forward has a basketball frame that can support more muscle, which would make Jackson an even stronger presence on the court. He runs the court well for a guy his size, and he handles the ball well for a small forward. He’s strong on both ends of the floor, and isn’t afraid to go down low in the paint amongst the trees or step out and shoot a deep jumper. Jackson has a solid basketball IQ, which will only bode well for him going forward.
He has all the potential in the world at his disposal, but needs to become a more consistent player in terms of overall production. Once he gains more experience, he will be able to improve on his shooting and rebounding, and turn himself into more of a complete player who should be able to excel at the next level.
Jalen Poyser – Orangeville, Ontario (Athlete Institute Basketball Academy) (Committed to UNLV Runnin’ Rebels)
The 6’4” shooting guard has also committed to the University of Nevada – Las Vegas, as a part of the class of 2015. Poyser is a strong shooter who is capable of making a wide variety of shots from deep. He can catch and shoot, make shots off a pick-and-roll, or step back and hit a contested jumper. He also has the ability to drive the lane and draw fouls when the defense takes away his catch-and-shoot option. Poyser has the ability to pick his spots, which works well within the overall team dynamic.
As a guard, he needs to improve his perimeter defense. While he is a solid defender overall, his perimeter defense is an area that needs attention. If he can add a bit more muscle and strength, then Poyser will be a wing player that teams will have to focus on frequently.
Koby McEwen – Mt. Pleasant, Utah (Wasatch Academy)
McEwen is a 6’3” point guard in the class of 2016, and has the potential to be the next guard with Canadian ties to suit up with the Baylor Bears, following the footsteps of Kenny Chery. McEwen has received offers from Baylor and Ole Miss, and wherever he chooses to go, they should be thoroughly pleased with what they’re getting. He has a strong pull-off jumper, and can score from all different areas on the offensive end. With his strength and athleticism, McEwen can drive the lane and draw contact, which leads to fouls for the opposition.
If he can add to his offensive arsenal, he will develop into a strong guard down the road, with the potential to become a household name wherever he chooses to go to school.
Other Notable Players to Keep an Eye On
Eddie Ekiyor – Ottawa, Ontario (New Hampton School) (6’8”, 215-pound forward)
Matt Neufeld – Victoria, British Columbia (Sunrise Christian Academy) (Signed to Saint Louis) (6’11”, 220-pound forward)
Jermaine Haley – Burnaby, British Columbia (Sunrise Christian Academy (6’7”, 185-pound guard)
Jordy Tshimanga – Springfield, Massachusetts (MacDuffie School) (6’10”, 230-pound forward)
Corey Johnson – Ottawa, Ontario (Vermont Academy) (Committed to Harvard) (6’5”, 185-pound guard)
Howard Washington – Buffalo, New York (Montverde Academy) (6’2”, 172-pound guard)
Monday and Tuesday promise to be a big couple of days for the game of basketball in Canada. The sport is on the rise in our country, and some of the best players from across the country will put their talents on display inside the Mattamy Athletic Center in Toronto, Ontario on Tuesday night on TSN.
Note: the game will be live at 7pm, but will be played on television at 10pm EST, due to TSN playing the Toronto Raptors game against Boston.
Follow us on Twitter, @CC_Report, for in-game statistics and analysis over the two-day event. Also, use the hashtag #CCRAllCDN to join the conversation!