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HoopStars Canada Recruiting Report (April 14/07)
By: Barry Hayes
Updated:
Recruiting has really started to heat up lately for Canada’s finest, with the NCAA Late Signing Period beginning on Wednesday and Canadian universities (“CIS”) looking to put the pieces together for a complete recruiting class as well.

Canadians already set for NCAA careers…

Jared Mintz, a 6’9” centre (Toronto, ON/Vaughan Road), has committed to NCAA Division I Lafayette of the Patriot League.

Toronto’s David Collins, a 7’0” centre who spent the last three years (one redshirting) at Missouri State-West Plains, has committed to NCAA Division I Bradley. Collins played his high school ball for Emery Collegiate in Toronto under coaches Bob Maydo and Andrew Vallejo, winning an OFSAA AAA championship in his senior year (2003-04).

6’6” swingman Tyrell McDowell has committed to The Citadel, an NCAA Division I military college in Charleston, South Carolina. Tyrell is originally from Whitby, Ontario and left Denis O’Connor after his grade 11 year to attend Christopher Columbus HS in Miami. Due to Florida High School regulations, he was unable to compete this year as a senior, but was able to practice with the team.

Eliot Rushton, a 6’3” shooting guard (Victoria, BC/Oak Bay), has committed to NCAA Division II California State-Los Angeles.

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Still deciding their fate for next year…

Jordan Bachynski, a 7’0” centre (Calgary, AB/Centennial), plans on attending a post-secondary school in 2007-08 before taking a two-year mission, then returning to complete his eligibility. With tremendous upside, Jordan has received interest from NCAA Division I schools on the west coast – Arizona State, Brigham Young, Southern Utah, and Pepperdine. He also is considering Alberta and Calgary in Canada.

Ben Johnson, a 6’0” point guard who moved from Pictou, NS to Waterloo, ON this year, has received a scholarship offer from Bloomsburg University, an NCAA Division II school in Pennsylvania. He will be visiting the campus in the near future and is also considering UPEI, Waterloo, and Windsor in Canada.

Laytrell Provo, a 6’2” shooting guard (Dartmouth, NS/Cole Harbour), absolutely torched opposition this year in leading Cole Harbour to the Metro Halifax championship. He has seen his stock skyrocket as the season progressed, averaging 33 points per game, including a jaw-dropping 64 in a playoff outing.

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Several Canadians have recently made plans to depart their current school in the United States…

Freshmen Keak Biel (Windsor, ON) and Alain Muteba (Toronto, ON) have both left Kirkwood College in Iowa.

Isaac Kuon, a 6’4” freshman guard (Mississauga, ON) at Northeastern Junior College in Colorado this year, has verbally committed to the University of Windsor and will be eligible immediately for the fall.

Branimir Zeko, a 6’8” post player (Mississauga, ON), has left the New Hampshire program after two years and will transfer elsewhere. Bran broke his foot early this season and only played in a handful of games.

Andre Smyth, a 6’7” combo forward (Windsor, ON), will transfer from Central Michigan after using up his first year of eligibility this year.

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On the other hand, despite recent coaching changes, two Canadians that committed earlier to NCAA Division I programs under the old coach have decided to stay on with the new coach...

6’0” point guard Tyler Kepkay (Vancouver, BC/College of Eastern Utah), who led the entire National Junior College ranks in scoring this year at a sizzling 27.9 points per game clip, has signed with the University of Utah.

6’2” guard Chretien Lukusa (Toronto, ON/Eastern Commerce) has also made public that he is still committed to Binghamton after the new appointment of Georgetown assistant Kevin Broadus as the new head coach.

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Four CIS schools have been working on outstanding recruiting classes thus far…

UBC and Calgary have really stood out among the schools out west with a number of quality players that will inject impressive depth to their respective futures, while Carleton and Western have also put together their own collaborations of top prospects.

The UBC Thunderbirds have at least two Under-17 Provincial Team players on board in 6’2” combo guard Nathan Yu (Vancouver, BC/Vancouver College) and 6’5” forward Graham Bath (Langley, BC/Brookswood), with still the possibility of landing star 6’2” guard Denny Dumas (Burnaby, BC/St. Thomas More) as well. Emerging 6’8” centre Nick Adair (Courtenay, BC/GP Vanier) is also committed and will boost the T-birds’ frontcourt for years to come.

Calgary already had an early commitment from 6’6” forward Henry Bekkering (Taber, AB/Eastern Washington transfer) and followed it up the additions of: 1) Alberta’s top high school senior - 6’9” wing Tyler Fidler (Calgary, AB/Western Canada), 2) Alberta’s top college senior - 6’0” CCAA All-Canadian point guard Jeff Price (Calgary, AB/Mount Royal transfer), and 3) a sleeper in talented 6’2” guard Brennen Fule (Strathmore, AB/Strathmore). They have also been actively recruiting former Ross Sheppard H.S. stars Jamaal Bucknor (Edmonton, AB) and Andrew Champagnie (Edmonton, AB), 6’11” centre Remington Stemler (Calgary, AB) from North Dakota State College of Science, and the aforementioned 7-footer Jordan Bachynski.

Five-time defending national champion Carleton University secured one of the nation’s premier high school seniors recently at their recruiting weekend as 6’8” forward Aaron Chapman (Belleville, ON/Nicholson) committed to the team. He joins 6’11” centre Neal Dawson (Ottawa, ON/Queen’s transfer) and 6’5” wing Cole Hobin (Ottawa, ON/Eastern Commerce Prep) as fully committed players up to now. The Ravens are also likely to get 6’0” athletic guard William Donkoh (Ottawa, ON/Notre Dame) and are in a tough battle for 6’4” Maritimes’ star guard Elliot Thompson (Fredericton, NB/Fredericton) with UNB, Bishop’s, Queen’s, and St. Francis Xavier.

University of Western Ontario named Brad Campbell as their full-time coach this month and will receive a outstanding recruiting class that already includes two Division I transfers. Former All-Ivy League swingman Keenan Jeppesen (Hamilton, ON) transfers in from Brown, while 6’10” forward Colin Laforme (Hamilton, ON) joins the Mustangs after leaving Youngstown State. Also formally released as recruits are 5’10” point guard Ryan Barbeau (Belleville, ON/Nicholson) - fresh off a third consecutive OFSAA AA title - and 6’6” versatile forward Garrett Olexiuk (Burlington, ON/Lester B Pearson).

Elsewhere, Dalhousie has been successful tapping into Ontario this year to accompany blue-chip recruit Simon Farine (Toronto, ON/Wisconsin-Green Bay transfer). Farine’s former high school and club teammate Yannick Walcott (Toronto, ON/Northern), 6’6” jumping-jack Robert Nortmann (Toronto, ON/Eastern Commerce Prep), and 6’7” post Jason Wang (Ottawa, ON/Sir Robert Borden) are all on board for next year.

UPEI head coach Matthew Davies is predominantly focused on Ontario and Nova Scotia high school recruits along with CCAA transfers to fill roles. He has already secured commitments from 6’5” forward Nick Kaminsky (Moncton, NB/Bernice MacNaughton) and 6’9” centre Mitchell McQuade (Fredericton, NB/Leo Hayes).

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In the Canadian College (“CCAA”) ranks, Grant MacEwan College (Edmonton, AB) has already put together an impressive recruiting class for next year. Coach Erhayat Ozcan has received commitments from eight players, with five of them arguably among the top 15 seniors in Alberta this year:

Ryan Sherman 6’7” F/C, (Edmonton, AB/Archbishop O’Leary)
Nick Zutz 6’7” C, (St. Albert, AB/ Paul Kane)
Zach McKee 6’1” G, (Airdrie, AB/Bert Church)
Colton Ennis 6’6” G/F, (Medicine Hat, AB/Medicine Hat)
Kaylor Betts 6’2” G, (Edmonton, AB/Louis St. Laurent)
Paul Hicks 6’6” F, (Edmonton, AB/Archbishop O’Leary)
Percy Wiredu 5’11” G, (Edmonton, AB/Louis St. Laurent)
Brendan Gawling 6’6” G/F, (St. Albert, AB/ Paul Kane)

Over in Ontario, Humber College (Toronto, ON) have worked hard on the recruiting trail all year and, barring any strong U.S. junior college interest that arises, are on track to welcome a provincial “Fab Five”:

Mark McNee 6’6” F, (Richmond Hill, ON/Bayview)
Andre McPherson 6’1” G, (Richmond Hill, ON/Bayview)
Jessie Simmons 6’4” G/F, (Toronto, ON/Jean Vanier)
Mike Dvorak 5’10” PG, (Barrie, ON/Central)
Lynden Drayton-Barrow 6’4” F, (Toronto, ON/Oakwood)

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A big congratulations goes out to coaches Roy Rana, Trevor Bullen, Paul Duncan and the entire Ontario Mission/Eastern Commerce club team that not only had the luxury of visiting beautiful Milan, Italy this month, but captured the prestigious 2007 Junior International Tournament championship. The team reeled off five straight victories, including a decisive 95-66 win over KK Zadar (Croatia) in the final to win what was billed as one of the best Under-18 club tournaments in Europe. 6’6” guard Jon House (Guelph, ON/Centennial), who has a scholarship to NCAA Division I Belmont University next year, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and the top 3-point shooter. Grade 11 Alwayne Bigby (Toronto, ON/Eastern Commerce) was named a First Team All-Star and won the slam-dunk contest, while Grade 10 Maurice Walker (Toronto, ON/Mother Teresa) was rewarded as the best young player.

Congratulations also to Toronto’s 6’6” wing Duane John for leading Oklahoma City University to the NAIA Championship last month. His performance this season has reportedly gotten him invitations to a couple of pro camps.

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High School Championship Roll Call...

The exciting road to a provincial high school championship has come and gone across the country. Below recognizes a number of crowned champions...

British Columbia
AAA Final
– Dover Bay (Nanaimo) defeated Kitsilano (Vancouver), 58-57, with Tournament MVP Pat McCarthy’s two free-throws making the difference with 20.7 seconds left. McCarthy scored a team-high 21 points.

AA Final – Ladysmith (Ladysmith) needed overtime to defeat Lambrick Park (Victoria), 55-51. Dylan Borgeson scored 31 points for Ladysmith, while MVP Spencer Fyfe-Wilson added 16 points and 15 rebounds.

Alberta
AAAA Final
– #11-seeded Ross Sheppard (Edmonton) received a clutch 30-point performance from their star Mangisto Arop to defeat Paul Kane (St. Albert), 58-44.

AAA Final – Highwood (High River) beat Holy Trinity (Edmonton), 80-74. Joe & Matt Vryhof combined for 37 points in the victory.

AA Final – Kendell Boese scored 20 points to lead Prairie Christian Academy (Three Hills) to a 91-73 win over Foundations for the Future Charter Academy (Calgary).

Saskatchewan
AAAAA Final
– Sheldon-Williams (Regina) defeated rival Campbell (Regina), 83-64. Star guard Kolten Solomon scored 30 points in the win.

AAAA Final – Matt Pitts and Jamie O’Brien each scored 20 points to lead Peacock (Moose Jaw) to an 82-80 win over Central (Moose Jaw).

Manitoba
AAAA Final
– Grade 11 sharpshooter Justin Roper’s 32 points (including 7 three-pointers) led Oak Park (Winnipeg) over Fort Richmond (Winnipeg), 80-46.

AAA Final – Windsor Park (Winnipeg) edged Neelin (Brandon) in overtime, 64-62. Windsor Park’s Jamie Suppes was named MVP.

Ontario
AAAA Final
– Pickering (Ajax) won their first provincial title after defeating Eastern Commerce (Toronto), 52-47. Devoe Joseph led Pickering with 25 points.

AAA Final – James Badder’s team-high 16 points led Southwood (Cambridge) to a last-minute 39-37 victory over defending champion Catholic Central (Windsor).

AA Final – Nicholson (Belleville) completed their goal to “three-peat” by defeating St. Francis (St. Catharines), 47-39. Aaron Chapman scored a game-high 29 points.

A Final – ACMT (Hamilton) beat Rockway (Waterloo), 69-39. Kenan Etale scored 20 points for the victors.

New Brunswick
AAA Final
– Elliot Thompson’s game-high 39 points and 28 rebounds led Fredericton High School to a fourth straight provincial crown in a 66-54 win over St. Malachy’s (Saint John).

Nova Scotia
Division 1 Final
– Horton (Wolfville) beat Sackville (Lower Sackville), 77-61. Grade 11 point guard Ellis Ffrench scored a team-high 23 points for Horton.

Division 2 Final – Amherst (Amherst) won 45-40 on their home court over Central Kings (Cambridge). Jason Shepherd led Amherst with 16 points.

Prince Edward Island
AAA Final
– MVP Jacob Ayangma scored a team-high 24 points as Colonel Grey (Charlottetown) repeated as champions with a 72-58 win over Bluefield (Hampshire).

Newfoundland
AAAA Final
– Holy Heart of Mary (St. John’s) beat Gonzaga (St. John’s), 79-77, behind Justin Walsh’s 20 points.