After a successful first two years, Pretty River Sports and Entertainment, Canada Basketball, and BioSteel are hoping that the third annual BioSteel All-Canadian Basketball Game is their best one yet.
With the talent that will be on display on the hardwood over the two days this year, two things are for certain.
The first is that this year’s event will be one that fans won’t want to miss. Several players in Monday’s showcase are top recruits in the NCAA, and have committed to play for some of the biggest programs across the country.
The second is that the talent level for Canada Basketball continues to rise. Fans in attendance will get a great look at the future of Canada Basketball, before they take the next steps in their respective careers.
The game was to feature two of the top prep teams in North America, one each from Canada and the United States. The national powerhouse program known as Prolific Prep (Napa, CA) was set to make the trip north of the border to take on the Orangeville Prep Bears (Orangeville, Ont.) inside the historic UBC War Memorial Gymnasium.
However, with the recent travel ban issued by President Donald Trump, concerns grew surrounding the international players on the roster at Prolific Prep.
The 2013-14 edition of the Wichita State Shockers were one of the best teams in recent memory in college basketball, by far.
While the Shockers ultimately fell to the Kentucky Wildcats in the Round of 32, that was their only blemish of the year. They finished the season with a record of 35-1, running the table in the regular season before falling in the NCAA Tournament.
Gregg Marshall’s squad had the likes of seniors Cleanthony Early, Nick Wiggins, Chadrack Lufile, and Kadeem Coleby, and a slew of young stars who were household names later in their careers. Ron Baker and Fred VanVleetwere both sophomores at the time, while Tekele Cotton was a junior, and Shaquille Morris was only a freshman.
After graduation, the senior class went separate ways. Early was drafted by the New York Knicks, and Lufile was drafted by the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the third round of the NBA D-League Draft. The Canadian big man played just nine games for the Skyforce due to a torn ACL.
Now, his basketball journey has brought him back to where it all started.
With the 2016-17 NBL Canada season under a month away, teams are starting to assemble their training camp rosters, and get the right pieces in place as they embark on the journey towards the NBL Canada Championship.
Even though each team protected six players from last year’s roster at the start of the off-season, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re safe from off-season moves.
On Tuesday, the London Lightning and the Windsor Express pulled off a trade that will drastically shake up the lineup for both teams moving forwards.
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 talent level of basketball players coming out of Canada over the past few years has been impressive, and there are no signs of that slowing down any time soon.
Several of the top recruits in the Class of 2017 are from the Great White North. Guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (#29 in ESPN’s Top 100) has committed to the Virginia Tech Hokies, guard Lindell Wigginton (#49) has committed to the Iowa State Cyclones, and forward Christian David (#83) has committed to the Butler Bulldogs.
While the future is bright, the present is also just as bright for the game of basketball in Canada.
The 2016-17 season isn’t even two weeks old yet, but there are several Canadians who have looked impressive in the NCAA. Some are in their first years in Division I, while others are experienced leaders on championship contenders.