Top Canadian basketball talents are making their way to the outskirts of Orangeville, Ontario to pursue their hoop dreams.
Jesse Tipping, president of the Athlete Institute there, has designed a program where elite level players can stay in this country, while still attracting the attention of Division I college scouts.
Since its inaugural year in 2012, the prep school has produced over 50 student-athletes on post-secondary basketball scholarships.
“You just create a platform for success to follow,” said Tipping, a former CIS basketball player at Brock and Waterloo University, standing at the annual BioSteel classic in Toronto this week. “I didn’t set a bench mark for NBA players or Division I players.
“I set a benchmark to positively impact young athletes and being able to help them along their journey.”
The institute’s first break came when heavily recruited Canadian Jamal Murray decided to attend the school instead of going down south for exposure. Likewise, Thon Maker, a top high school prospect of 2014, also decided to join Murray.
Those two basketball standouts would go on to be top 10 NBA draft picks in 2016.
The program continues to grab the attention of top-tier Canadian hoopers.
The Athlete Institute had five players in the 2018 BioSteel All-Canadian Game including back-to-back MVP Luguentz Dort, who will be attending Arizona State on a full scholarship this fall.
“At this point, the Athlete Institute has done 9.8 million dollars in post-secondary scholarships in the last five years,” said Tipping, who sees the bigger picture for his young hoop dreamers.
“We focus on all the intangibles to become an athlete, whether that is social, academic, personal or athletic development, those are the sort of things we build our program around.
“We have a kid who went to an Ivy League school last year, which is a huge accomplishment for us.”