TORONTO – The second annual Biosteel All Canadian men’s high school basketball showcase was held this past Monday night at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Centre.
There have been notable players to play in the game in the past, including Jamal Murray, Thon Maker, and Jahvon Blair, to name a few. The 2015 game featured a near triple-double from 2016 NBA prospect and Kitchener native Jamal Murray, who netted 29 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds.
Jesse Tipping, president of the Athlete Institute, has been very instrumental in the advancement of this Biosteel program and loves what he sees on the court.
“Every year the talent keeps getting better and better in Canada,” said Tipping, who had seven member of his institute in the game. “There is more and more people who deserve to be in the game but haven’t got selected because there’s that many good players.”
“Kudos to (the selection committee) but every year I think it’s going to get a little bit more challenging.”
Tipping isn’t the only one that sees the potential that this game has for the future of Canada basketball and spreading the game across the country. Tony McIntyre, the Operations Director and Selection Committee Chair, appreciates what this game means to the players.
“For the kids I think it’s a great opportunity for them to spend so much time with each other, they’re able to discuss what it’s like where they’re from, their experiences through their high school season,” McIntyre said.
“I think you are going to see that out on the floor today where guys want to go at each other and continue to build their brand and show that they deserve to be here.”
One of those players trying to build his brand with attending this tournament is last year’s Team Red starting power forward, Thon Maker. Maker is applying for the NBA draft this coming June and is awaiting the NBA’s approval to enter.
Maker is preparing for the draft by working on his overall game and the total package that he wants NBA teams to see when he goes into his pre-draft workouts. However, there is one specific aspect of his game that he knows needs improvement over everything else.
“One of the biggest things is the mental aspect and just being able to handle it because you know, it’s a grown man’s business,” said Maker. “So coming in ready mentally will be really important.”
Maker played in the game last year, but this year he cheered from the sidelines. Tipping sees similarities in the talent classes between this year and last, but there has been definite improvement in 2016.
“I think that we are going to get guys in this game that are very confident and skilled at their position to play at this level so I think this is a more talented year from 1-24 in my opinion.”
Follow Kyle Forster on Twitter – @kahl23