The Canadian Basketball landscape is at an all-time high in 2016, and all signs point to that rise continuing as the calendar switches to 2017.
Pretty River Sports and Entertainment (PRSE) are the owners and operators of several sport and entertainment properties, including the Athlete Institute Basketball Academy in Mono, ON, the Orangevile A’s of the NBL Canada, and the BioSteel All-Canadian Basketball Game, just to name a few.
On Friday, they announced another event that will feature some of the best up-and-coming basketball talent that both Canada and the United States of America have to offer.
The inaugural VANCITY Showcase will take place on March 18th, 2017, and will feature a pair of powerhouse programs. Orangeville Prep (Orangeville, Ontario) will square off against the perennial powerhouse known as Prolific Prep (Napa, California) in the first edition of the showcase.
The event will take place in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“Canadian Basketball is growing at an alarming level – Vancouver is on the rise,” said Jesse Tipping, Event Director and President of Pretty River Sports & Entertainment.
“It’s very clear from the prospects that have come out of British Columbia and looking at their young talent right now that there is a hunger for more. I hope this event helps push even more kids into playing the game.”
Both participating teams are excited for the opportunity to square off against one of the top teams from their neighbouring country.
“Prolific Prep Academy is excited at the opportunity to play Athlete Institute’s Orangeville Prep in Vancouver, British Columbia and we hope to do so annually,” said Phil Doherty, the Director of Operations for Prolific Prep.
“Anytime our program can play a quality opponent in a great basketball market, in an outstanding part of the world – we welcome the opportunity. We hope to provide high level entertainment to the basketball enthusiasts in Vancouver.”
The sentiments were reciprocated by Orangeville Prep’s head coach, Nathan Johnson.
“As a team, we are beyond excited to have the opportunity to play a top team in North America on Canadian soil,” said Johnson. “This is a tremendous opportunity for Miguel Tomley and James Karnik [both from Surrey, BC] to be rewarded for all their commitment and effort. It will be special having the chance to play in front of friends and family in British Columbia.”
The VanCity Showcase will continue to show the commitment that Athlete Institute has in developing the game of basketball across Canada,” he concluded.
Talented players are featured throughout the rosters of both teams. Prolific Prep has three players who are listed in ESPN’s Top 100 Rankings for the Class of 2017, while Orangeville Prep has a slew of players who currently hold scholarship offers from several high-major programs across the NCAA.
Most notably, Prolific Prep is led by five-star guard Gary Trent, Jr., who has committed to the Duke Blue Devils for the 2017-18 season. He was a part of the 2015-16 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National team, and was named the MVP of the 2015 FIBA America’s Championship.
The game will also serve as a homecoming, of sorts, for Canadian guard Abu Kigab. The native of St. Catharines, ON will suit up for Prolific Prep, and is ranked #81 by ESPN in the Class of 2017. The 6’7” wing has committed to the Oregon Ducks for next season, and was on the 2016 Under-18 Canadian Men’s National Team.
On the flip side, Orangeville Prep is led by a pair of prospects in the Class of 2018 who are garnering more and more attention as the days go by.
The focal point will be 6’8” forward Ignas Brazdeikis, who hails from Oakville, Ontario. He was a part of the 2016 Under-17 Canadian National Team, and holds several high-major offers. Schools that have offered the talented Class of 2018 forward include the USC Trojans, the Oregon Ducks, and the Tennessee Volunteers, along with a slew of others.
Both James Karnik (Class of 2017; undecided) and Miguel Tomley (Class of 2019) will have extra motivation when the game tips off. Both players hail from Surrey, B.C., and will undoubtedly have plenty of family and friends in attendance to show their support.
The full schedule of events has been released and includes a full day of clinics prior to a game at 5:00 p.m. PDT and finally the Prolific Prep vs. Orangeville Prep Main Event at 7:00 p.m. PDT.
Full Event Schedule
10:00 AM – U-12 Boys/Girls Skills Clinic
11:00 AM – U-15 Boys/Girls Skills Clinic
12:00 PM – U-16 BC Elite Select Clinic
5:00 PM – BC Team 1 vs Team 2
7:00 PM – Prolific Prep (Napa, CA, USA) vs Orangeville Prep (Orangeville, ON, CAN)
The VANCITY Showcase is looking to partner with local, provincial and national governing bodies of sport in Canada. The event is set up and prepared to be an annual event that only gets bigger each year.
As the event draws closer, College Court Report will aim to provide more detailed coverage of the event.
– T. Bennett