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HoopStars Canada Recruiting Report (May 28/08)
By: Barry Hayes
Bol Kong : Gonzaga-bound
Bol Kong : Gonzaga-bound

Like every year, the activity for Canada’s top players is extremely busy as the NCAA’s Late Signing Period approached and passed on May 21. Seasons have ended and prospects are making commitments across Canada and the United States. HoopStars Canada gives you another inside look at some of the interesting developments taking place.

Division 1 Commitments

A couple of Canadian stars with Sudanese backgrounds made commitments to NCAA D1 Gonzaga recently. 6’7” swingman Bol Kong transfers over after leading Douglas College to the CCAA National Championship in March as a freshman, while 6’6” Class of 2009 guard Mangisto Arop becomes the first NEDA (‘National Elite Development Academy’) player to commit to a Division 1 program. Kong, who will redshirt next year due to NCAA rules, has learned that his paperwork to finally allow him to cross the Canadian border is nearing completion. Expected to play a key role on Canada’s Under-18 team this summer, Arop raised eyebrows at the Albert Schweitzer tournament in Germany in March, averaging a team-high 20.5 points and a tournament-high 11.3 rebounds per game.

After standout performances for GrassRoots Canada at top AAU tournaments over the past two months, 6’6” forward Dwayne Smith (Ajax, ON/Pickering) committed to George Washington, an NCAA Division 1 program in the Atlantic-10 Conference.

Leading his high school team to three consecutive OFSAA ‘AA’ finals, 6’5” swingman Tshing Kasamba (St. Catharines, ON/St. Francis) will now join the D1 ranks at Chicago State.

With his advanced abilities to handle the ball and post up at 6’8”, Adam Folker (Markham, ON/Markham) signed a Letter of Intent with the University of California-Irvine.

Making a commitment just before the deadline was 6’0” point guard Juevol Myles (Ajax, ON/Pickering), who plans to attend Louisiana Tech in the fall. Myles is a former Junior National Team player that earned an OFSAA ‘AAAA’ Gold Medal this year. He has impressed on the AAU scene with GrassRoots Canada recently and is arguably the top senior point guard prospect in the country.

Transferring from Division 1

After leaving the University of San Francisco, 6’10” forward Jared Casey (Maple Ridge, BC/Maple Ridge ‘06) has committed to Seattle University, a program beginning the process of reclassifying from an NCAA Division 2 school to Division 1 next year. Casey will need to redshirt the 2008-09 season after averaging 1.8 points and 2.2 rebound in 9 games this past season at USF.

Division 2 Northern Michigan has earned a Letter-of-Intent signing from 6’5” forward Mark D’Agostino (Montreal, QC/Vanier ’06), who transfers from Delaware State after two seasons. He averaged 1.0 points and 1.0 rebounds after playing in nine of the team’s 30 games this year. NCAA regulations state that academically eligible players that transfer from D1 programs to D2 can play right away, so D’Agostino will not have to sit out a year.

Max Craig (Montreal, QC/St. Thomas More Prep ’06), a 7’0” 260-pound centre that played on Canada’s U20 team last summer, has taken campus visits to Ivy League schools Columbia and Cornell after declaring his departure from Loyola Marymount University in California recently.

A redshirt this year at Eastern Washington, 6’8” forward Petar Milasinovic (Mississauga, ON/Toronto Academy Prep) will transfer to Blinn College, a junior college in Texas.

Junior College-bound Freshmen

One of Canada’s elite players on the sidelines in recent years, DJ Wright (Sault Ste. Marie, ON/Toronto Academy Prep) has signed with Salt Lake Community College in Utah. The 6’7” combo forward had previous commitments to Division 1 schools LSU and Louisiana Tech, but struggled to qualify through the NCAA’s Clearinghouse. Joining him at Salt Lake will be former ‘TAPS’ teammate Mike Luby (Kenora, ON/Toronto Academy Prep), a 6’11” centre with potential. Luby’s path was also lengthy, having committed to Division 1 Fairleigh Dickinson in the fall of 2006, but was denied entrance by the Clearinghouse. After signing with North Dakota State College of Science last summer, he left before the season began and moved to redshirt at Chipola College, a top junior college in Florida. Both Wright and Luby will enter the 2008-09 season as freshmen.

Yuba College in Marysville, California will welcome 6’6” athletic forward Niko Monachini (Richmond, BC/Hugh Boyd) to their roster next season. Monachini led Hugh Boyd to the BC ‘AAA’ tournament this year and was a key member of the BC Under-17 team last summer.

The GTA duo of 6’0” guard Kurt Alexander (Pickering, ON/Pine Ridge) and 6’5” forward Jermel Kennedy (Mississauga, ON/Lincoln Alexander) are heading to Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Alexander led Pine Ridge to the OFSAA ‘AAAA’ tournament as their main scoring option and participated in the All Canada Classic in March. Kennedy has been hiding under the radar and brings lots of athleticism.

Former Ottawa high school star Eric Kibi has committed to Jacksonville College in the competitive Texas junior college region. The 6’5” 210-pound small forward really bloomed as a senior at Sandia High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico this year.

After moving from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia to attend famed Eastern Commerce CI in Toronto almost three years ago, 6’3” shooting guard Juleous Grant and 6’4” wing Timothy Gray will attend Northern Oklahoma College in the fall. Both played for the John Innes Prep team run out of Toronto this year.

Inside CIS Transactions

The RMC coaching job was filled with the appointment of former Dalhousie assistant coach Scott James. James will also relinquish his role as head coach of the Nova Scotia Under-17 boys’ team that will compete in Charlottetown in August.

The University of Ottawa has added three more commitments recently, putting their recruiting class to four. The Gee-Gees have added frontcourt depth with 6’9” centre Matt Michaud (Montreal, QC/John Abbott), athletic 6’7” centre Jordan Vig (Barrie, ON/Bear Creek), and 6’8” La Cite College transfer Louis-Philippe Gauthier (Ottawa, ON/Garneau ’06). Head coach Dave DeAveiro has also secured an underrated point guard in 5’11” sparkplug Max Clarkson (Peterborough, ON/PCVS).

Rob Smart Sr. will welcome a provincially eclectic mix of talents to the Queen’s Golden Gaels program beginning with 6’7” centres Jeff Lightburn (Vancouver, BC/Kitsilano) and Oliver Friesen (Surrey, BC/Southridge). Lightburn competed in the BC all-star game at UBC along with 22 other elite provincial talents after helping lead Kitsilano to two straight BC ‘AAA’ provincial quarterfinal appearances, while Friesen oozes potential with his work ethic and athletic ability. Two Nova Scotian high school players have also declared for the Kingston campus in Under-17 provincial team starter Matt Johnston (Halifax, NS/Halifax Grammar) and athletic 6’6” forward Bernard Burgesson (Port Hawkesbury, NS/SAERC). 6’6” swingman Jared Evans (Waterloo, ON/WCI) has also committed.

McMaster secured three commitments that will provide great groundwork for a return run at the OUA West championship. Head coach Joe Raso has two blue-chip incoming freshmen in former U17 Ontario team player 6’4” guard Scott Laws (Newmarket, ON/Sacred Heart) and versatile 6’7” forward Cam Michaud (Grimsby, ON/Grimsby). Both are capable of playing more than one position on the floor and are dangerous outside shooters. Smart and tough 6’1” guard Jordan Tew (Dundas, ON/Parkside) rounds out the new Marauders.

After leading his high school team to the OFSAA ‘AAA’ championship in March, 5’9” point guard Greg Carter (Ottawa, ON/St. Patrick’s) declared for Lakehead University in the fall. The ThunderWolves add the immediate impact quarterback that head coach Scott Morrison was looking for.

With the University of Western Ontario returning much of their National semifinalist team, not to mention Division 1 transfer Keenan Jeppesen who sat out the past year, coach Brad Campbell has added two players. 6’5” forward Mike Folker (Markham, ON/Markham ’05) transfers over from Acadia after two seasons, while 6’4” forward Josh Windsor (Hamilton, ON/Bishop Ryan) adds depth and will be counted on for the future.

St. Francis Xavier has picked up Nova Scotia’s top high school post player this past year in 6’5” Jeremy Dunn (Wolfville, NS/Horton) who helped lead his team to two straight Division 1 Provincial championships. Also heading to the Antigonish campus are 6’2” scorer Eamon Morrissey (Halifax, NS/The Citadel) and 6’6” forward Jordan Hope (Calgary, AB/Notre Dame), who adds excellent athleticism.

New head coach Brent Baker received his first two commitments for his UNB program from guards Dustin Anthony (North Bay, ON/West Ferris) and Patrick Riley (Wolfville, NS/Horton).

The University of Alberta will add five newcomers to their roster next year, starting with Klaus Figueiredo (St. Albert, AB/Paul Kane), a lightning-quick 6’0” point guard that started on Alberta’s Gold medal-winning U17 team last summer. Another U17 member, athletic 6’4” guard Sahr Saffa (Edmonton, AB/Louis St. Laurent) is on board as well. Three transfers include two dangerous shooters: 6’3” UVic transfer Isiah Pasquale and 6’0” gunner Tamer Douglas from Grant MacEwan; while CUCA all-star and former rebounding champion Kris Raymond adds ideal inside toughness.

An Early Look at the CCAA

Head coach Paul Eberhardt has really put together an impressive recruiting haul at Capilano College (North Vancouver, BC), complete with size, strength, and immediate impact:

Demitri Harris 6’5” G (Vancouver, BC/Brittania)
Connor Lewis 6’1” PG (North Vancouver, BC/Windsor)
Sean Ashkenazy 6’6” F (North Vancouver, BC/Handsworth)
Raj Sandhu 6’7” F (New Westminster, BC/New West)
Pat Shier 6’5” F (North Vancouver, BC/Handsworth)

Algonquin College (Ottawa, ON) have added an impact wing to their roster this fall with a commitment from 5’11” guard Charlie Spurr. Charlie played two years at Thompson Rivers University in BC where he put up very impressive scoring numbers, including a team-high 20.2 points per game in 2006-07, while shooting 44% from 3-point range.

Reports out of Montreal suggest 6’3” all-star guard Gurjote Jhaj (Vancouver, BC/St. George’s) has applied and will likely suit up for the Vanier College Cheetahs in the fall after flying over to visit the campus last month.

After leading his high school team to the Alberta provincial championship final, 5’11” point guard Noble Crowfoot (Okotoks, AB/Foothills) will attend Lethbridge College for the 2008-09 year before leaving for his Mission.

For more information on the HoopStars Canada Recruiting Service, email Barry Hayes.

(Picture of Bol Kong from Douglas College website - douglas.bc.ca)