Home | About Us | News | Contact Us | Links | Search
HoopStars Canada Recruiting Report (June 14/09)
By: Barry Hayes
NEDA's Roger Dugas
NEDA's Roger Dugas

The late signing period for the NCAA came and went with another big pack of Canadian talent preparing to head down south on scholarships. NEDA’s forward Roger Dugas was the latest to commit, as he pledged to Elon University in North Carolina. Dugas sets to compete in the Southern Conference under new head coach Matt Matheny, who previously worked as an associate coach at conference foe Davidson College featuring Canadians Max Paulhus-Gosselin and Will Archambault.

Updated Canadian NCAA Division 1 Commitments

1. Junior Cadougan 6'1" PG (Toronto, ON/Christian Life Center Prep) - Marquette
2. Mangisto Arop 6'5" G (Edmonton, AB/NEDA) - Gonzaga
3. Bryson Johnson 6'0" PG (Waterloo, ON/St. David's) - Bucknell
4. Taylor Johnston 6'6" G/F (Toronto, ON/West Hill) - Binghamton
5. Niko Cochran 6'2" G (Vancouver, BC/Champlain St. Lambert) - Davidson
6. Tristan Renaud-Tremblay 6'7" F (Montreal, QC/Champlain St. Lambert) - The Citadel
7. Rob Gagliardi 6'2" G (Ajax, ON/Pickering) - Canisius
8. Dwayne Smith 6'5" F (Toronto, ON/Bridgton Prep) - George Washington
9. Murphy Burnatowski 6'7" F (Waterloo, ON/NEDA) - Maine
10. Mike Allison 6'9" C (Lynden, ON/NEDA) - Maine
11. Kelly Olynyk 6'10" F (Kamloops, BC/South Kamloops) - Gonzaga
12. Jason Calliste 6'2" G (Toronto, ON/Quality Education Prep) - Detroit
13. Alwayne Bigby 6'4" G/F (Toronto, ON/Eastern Commerce) - Northeastern
14. Jonathan Tull 6'3" G (Ajax, ON/Pickering) - Central Connecticut State
15. Dallin Bachynski 6'11" C (Calgary, AB/Sir Winston Churchill) - Southern Utah
16. Roger Dugas 6'8" F (Georgeville, QC/NEDA) - Elon
17. Bol Kong 6'7" F (Vancouver, BC/Douglas College) - Gonzaga

Like every year, there are some players mentioned above that have yet to clear the NCAA's requirements to join their school and will know their fate soon.

Ten of the above group (Cadougan, Arop, Johnston, Smith, Burnatowski, Olynyk, Bigby, Tull, Bachynski, and Dugas) were all part of Wayne Dawkins’ annual star-studded All Canada Classic at Seneca College in Toronto two weekends ago.

Transferring from Division 1

Adam Jespersen (6’8” SF, London, ON/HB Beal ’08) has opted to transfer from the University of Hawaii after one season to attend the reigning Canadian University (CIS) National Champions at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Homeward bound is Vali Lazarescu (6’5” SF, Montreal, QC/Champlain-St. Lambert ’07), who will suit up for the McGill Redmen next year after leaving William & Mary University during the season. He will have four years of eligibility remaining.

Marc-David Vil (6’4” PG, Montreal, QC/Montmorency ’07) has transferred from Winthrop to attend Lincoln Memorial University, a Division 2 school in Harrogate, Tennessee and will be eligible to play right away next season. This rule has become an enticing draw for Division 1 transfers, since there is no requirement to sit out a year when transferring from D1 to D2.

Junior College-bound Freshman

With a busy summer competing for the Junior Men’s National Team in his immediate future, Ty Nurse (Vancouver, BC/NEDA) set his post-secondary career by committing to Midland College in Texas. The 6’1” guard is among the country’s top outside shooters.

There weren’t many players in the Toronto area tougher than Josh Ogden (Toronto, ON/Father Henry Carr) this past year. Lake Region State locked up the 5’10” point guard for next year. The college in North Dakota enjoyed past success with another former Carr point guard in Marlo Davis, who just recently finished his playing career at NCAA D1 UNC-Wilmington.

Known for his ability for putting up impressive scoring totals, Boyd Vassell (Kitchener, ON/Eastwood) found a home for next year at Iowa Central Community College. The 5’10” shooting guard will join Kurt Alexander and Jermel Kennedy as Canadian content on the Triton roster.

Richard Amardi’s recruitment skyrocketed after making the move to God’s Academy (Dallas, TX) in January for his final year. The 6’8” 220-pound post from Toronto received interest from several high- and mid-major D1 schools, but will go the JuCo route first at nearby Weatherford College (Weatherford, TX).

Perhaps Ontario’s most dangerous scorer this year was Adrian Tomlinson (Toronto, ON/West Hill). The diminutive guard has incredible speed and deep shooting range to impact his future school - Central Florida Community College (Ocala, FL).

Among the most athletic prospects in Canada this year, Jerome Brown (6’3” G/F) played a key role in helping Eastern Commerce claim the 2009 OFSAA AAAA championship. His next test will be as a member of the Panola College Ponies (Carthage, TX).

Recruiting in the CIS

As usual, the UBC Thunderbirds are doing an impressive job on the recruiting trail. Their major goal was to land an impact post player to help offset frontcourt departures and they hit their main target with 6’10” centre Chad Posthumus (Winnipeg, MB/River East), who showed immense improvement over the past year and established himself as the top graduating big man in western Canada. In North Dakota University transfer Denny Dumas (6’2” G), they get a deadly outside shooter that starred for BC’s U17 team in 2006. Dumas instantly becomes a main scoring option for the coaching staff to use. This includes his brother-in-law, assistant coach Randy Nohr. Within the BC high school system, they landed Tommy Nixon (6’5” G/F, Vancouver, BC/Kitsilano) and Jas Gill (6’0” PG, Oliver, BC/Southern Okanagan). Nixon is a big body that can play the perimeter, while Gill is an underrated speedster that can score.

With an incredible recruiting haul that includes seven transfers, including four from US schools, Trinity Western coach Scott Allen continues to turn his program into a national championship contender since taking over last year. It starts with 6’6” Tyrell Mara, who played for Allen at White Rock Christian Academy before leaving for NCAA D1 Portland State. He comes to the Spartans after helping lead the Vikings to the NCAA tournament last year and will be eligible right away*, as he will enrol in TWU’s MBA program. He brings with him across the border another Portland State star in 6’8” forward Kyle Coston, who plans to use the extra year of eligibility available in the CIS to increase his chances in landing a pro contract overseas. Also transferring in and required to sit out is 6’0” guard Tristan Smith after leading Fraser Valley in scoring last year (14.3 ppg). Like Mara, California State-Stanislaus transfer Calvin Westbrook played for Coach Allen when he coached the U17 Provincial Team several years back. The 6’5” scoring guard becomes eligible after practicing with the team this past year. Incoming 6’6” forward Niko Monachini began last year as a rookie at Yuba Junior College in California, but left early and ended up taking classes at Vancouver’s Kwantlen College instead. He is long, athletic, and brings great versatility and intensity to the team. With two years of experience at Thompson Rivers, Lucian Sauciuc (6’2” G) adds to the backcourt depth along with University of Ottawa transfer Tyler Noble (6’4” G). The gem from the high school ranks is Luke Braund, a 6’5” small forward that can shoot and outwork opponents under the basket. His high school team at St. George’s (Vancouver) won the BC Provincial championship, but he was unavailable to compete due to a knee injury that cut short his senior season.

(*CIS rules state after completing your undergraduate degree, a player transferring from any NCAA or CIS school can play immediately if they are pursuing a Doctorate, Master’s degree, or Professional degree, provided they still have eligibility remaining to that point.)

After an impressive run to the National semifinals, the Calgary Dinos loaded up on the recruiting trail with a focus on backcourt talent. Andrew McGuinness (6’3” G, North Vancouver, BC/Handsworth) was among the most respected outside shooters in high school and the U17 National Championships last summer in PEI as a member of Team BC. Another provincial team star, 5’9” point guard Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson (Winnipeg, MB/Garden City) brings an extensive resume that saw him recognized as Manitoba’s top high school player two straight years by a Winnipeg Sun poll. Another respected shooter heading to Calgary is Dan Tilleman (6’4” G/F, Phoenix, Arizona/Desert Vista). He is known more as the son of former Dino star Karl Tilleman, but will make his own identity in a Dinos uniform soon enough. Terrence Blake transfers in after spending a year at SAIT. The 5’11” point guard averaged 10.8 points per game two years ago for the Trojans. Pencil Patrick Walker (Airdrie, AB/George MacDougall) and Jordan Boyd (Shawnigan Lake, BC/Shawnigan Lake) in for the U of C. The 6’8” posts may end up being joined by Erik Glavic, a 6’6” former Hec Creighton Trophy winner that plans to play quarterback for the Dinos’ football team next year, but has experience for the St. Mary’s Huskies as a post player as well.

Incoming head coach Greg Francis put his own stamp on the University of Alberta future with as many as 10 commitments. The framework starts with four teammates from the powerful U15 (Silver ’06) and U17 (Gold ’07, Silver ’08) Provincial teams of the past two years: Jordan Baker (6’7” F, Edmonton, AB/Harry Ainlay), Todd Bergen-Henengouwen (6’5” F, Picture Butte, AB/Picture Butte), Kenny Otieno (6’2” G, Lethbridge, AB/Sir Winston Churchill), and Brett Kallio (6’2” G, transfer/Concordia College). Baker has the pedigree (both parents played U of A basketball) and a bright future ahead of him on and off the court as he spends the summer with the Junior Men’s National Team and brings an academic average of roughly 95%. His ability to pass and shoot like a guard makes him very dangerous. “TBH” is a bull inside with his intensity and strength in the post. He is a 90%+ student as well. Otieno brings a huge wingspan that helps him defend and rebound against much larger opponents. Kallio is a talented outside shooter that spent his rookie year at CUCA, averaging 10.3 points per game. Also coming over from CUCA is 6’7” widebody Jamaal Bucknor, giving some frontcourt experience that can score and rebound right away. The Alberta college league’s leading scorer Khas Toker (6’1” G, transfer/Grand Prairie College) will also become a Golden Bear, while CCAA Tournament MVP Jordan Hone (6’2” G, Mount Royal College) has been rumoured to be on his way as well, but remains unofficial at press time. Coach Francis used his connections to Hamilton while coaching the National Elite Development Academy (or “NEDA”) over the past two years to help build him excellent frontcourt depth. 6’11” Rob Dewar stays on with Francis as a recent NEDA grad and Junior Men’s National Team regular, while rapidly improving 6’9” 245-pound Nikola Manojlovic (Hamilton, ON/Orchard Park) and 6’10” project Colin McKinnon (Edmonton, AB/Archbishop O’Leary) assures competitive battles for playing time in practice.

Lethbridge is moving in the right direction under newly hired head coach Dave Adams and he has two words to thank right away: Jeff Price. The star point guard made his intentions clear recently to lead ‘Horns Nation and will bring instant impact. The University of Calgary transfer becomes the focal point of the offence in his final two years of eligibility and has a history of bringing out the best in his teammates. This will include a couple of talented transfers in Randy Davis and Julian Spear Chief-Morris. The 6’4” Davis was an ACAC all-star last season at Red Deer College after averaging 16.7 points per game. Spear Chief-Morris transfers back home after two years at the University of Victoria, but will need to sit out a year first. He brings great athleticism at 6’4” with experience on the U17 Provincial team, as does incoming freshman Sean McCormick (6’5” F, Chestermere, AB/Chestermere) who has size and ballhandling skills to play various positions on the court, and Taylor Norum (6’6” F, High River, AB/Highwood) who returns to southern Alberta after a year at a bible college in Sweden. McCormick’s high school teammate, Kyle Wilson (6’6” F), is also on board and is expected to redshirt next year.

The reigning CIS champs at Carleton University are in re-loading mode after losing three starters (Aaron Doornekamp, Stu Turnbull, Rob Saunders) to graduation. As mentioned earlier, 6’8” combo forward Adam Jespersen transfers over after a rookie year at the University of Hawaii, but must redshirt a year first. Ready to play right away are Eastern Ontario stars Tyson Hinz (Ottawa, ON/St. Matthew’s) and Greg Faulkner (6’5” G/F, Kingston, ON/Holy Cross). The 6’6” Hinz was the top player in the nation’s capital this season, leading his team to the OFSAA AAA championship along with incoming point guard Scott Ring. He has an impressive post move arsenal, excellent passing skills, and the ability to step out and drill three-pointers. Faulkner was a starter for Carleton assistant Dean Petridis’ U17 Provincial team last summer and brings athleticism, a deft shooting touch, and strong defence to the Ravens. Projected to redshirt next season, Thomas Scrubb (6’5” G/F, Vancouver, BC/Vancouver College) has intriguing potential with his length and athletic ability. Also verbally committed to Carleton is Willy Manigat (5’10” PG, transfer/Ottawa), who can play next season if he meets his summer school credit requirements.

The University of Western Ontario Mustangs’ recruitment really picked up as of late as head coach Brad Campbell added two big commitments from two out-of-province stars. Expected to help fill the void left from heavy graduation losses are: Kenny Perry, a speedy 5’11” combo guard originally from Halifax that spent a year at NCAA D1 San Francisco, and Joshua Robertson, an athletic 6’7” forward from the British Columbia high school champions at St. George’s in Vancouver. The duo joins previous commitments from Zack Angus (6’1” G, Hamilton, ON/St. Mary’s) and Greg Edelsward (6’5” F, Aldershot, ON/Aldershot).

The last month has also been kind to the Windsor Lancers’ program. The backcourt of the future comes in the form of 6’1” combo guard Enrico Di Loreto (London, ON/HB Beal) and 6’0” point guard Josh Collins (Thornhill, ON/Vaughan). Di Loreto is strong and athletic with a fearless mentality and a good work ethic. He originally committed to NCAA D1 Central Connecticut State before changing his mind. Collins was a deadly combination of great passer and dangerous shooter in leading Vaughan to an OFSAA AAA Bronze medal in March. Up front, 6’6” jumping-jack Justin Wiltshire (transfer/Lincoln Trail JuCo) and 6’10” Blake Pauls (Leamington, ON/Leamington) will do their best to fill All-Canadian Greg Surmacz’s hole left after graduation.

Lots to look forward to in Guelph, as the coaching staff put together the school’s best recruiting class in years. Entirely made up of high school stars, coach Chris O’Rourke filled the frontcourt with plenty of size, athleticism, and potential. 6’8” John Brutto (London, ON/St. Thomas Aquinas) brings power, athleticism, and potential. 6’9” 265-pound Colton Hood (Waterloo, ON/Rockway Mennonite) has a soft touch for such a big frame. Hidden up north with an intriguing future is 6’10” Dan Latka (Parry Sound, ON/Parry Sound). As the most versatile of the frontcourt additions, 6’5” Matt Howlett (Burlington, ON/Assumption) has huge potential with his muscular build, ability to fly above the rim, and smooth outside shooting touch. However, that shooting touch is nothing compared to the unconscious abilities of 6’1” combo guard Brady Heslip (Burlington, ON/Nelson), who will dawn the Red & Gold as well. He has a chance to be very special. Rounding out the class is athletic wing Adrian Achonwa (Guelph, ON/Centennial).

The rebuilding job at Brock is looking great thanks to the recent commitments of blue-chippers Clinton Springer-Williams (6’4” G, London, ON/Regina Mundi) and Brian Nahimana (6’8” F, London, ON/Montcalm). Springer turned down numerous US opportunities and oozes potential as a wing with length and athleticism. Nahimana’s wingspan and bounce raised coaches’ eyebrows ever since his breakthrough performance at the All Canada Prospect Camp in Toronto last summer. More quality depth up front is on the way with pledges from Andrew Cicuttini (Hamilton, ON/Parkside), Anto Raic (Welland, ON/Notre Dame), Riley Halpin (Halifax, NS/The Citadel), and Alex Reis (Hamilton, ON/Cathedral). The 6’6” Cicuttini has solid post moves and a nice shooting touch. Raic is a 6’7” hidden gem that will stretch opposing defences with his ability to convert from three-point range. Coach Ken Murray thinks he has another steal in 6’7” Halpin, whose ability to rebound and block shots will come in handy next year. The Badgers will rely on the 6’4” Reis for outside shooting as well. Rounding out the class is Nathan Samuel (Brantford, ON/Assumption), a 5’10” guard with great speed.

The McGill Redmen filled all their needs with a star-studded class that should put them as a favourite for the QSSF title next year. It begins with Acadia transfer Leonel Saintil, giving them instant life to their interior game. The 6’5” post with past recognitions as an All-Canadian, AUS Player of the Year, and among the top all-time rebounders in CIS history will terrorize the league for his final year of eligibility as he pursues a Master’s degree. Adding much-needed frontcourt depth are 6’6” combo forward Nicolas Langley (Golden, BC/NEDA) and grad student Azaz Awan (6’8” C, transfer/York). As mentioned earlier, coming from the NCAA Division 1 ranks is local talent Vali Lazarescu, a 6’5” athletic wing that is eligible right away after leaving William & Mary in Virginia last year. The coaching staff is excited about Winn Clark (Prairie Village, Kansas/Shawnee Mission East), a 6’2” heady playmaker and scorer that provides immediate impact in the backcourt, while 5’10” Olivier Bouchard (Montreal, QC/Montmorency) provides a point guard that can really shoot.

St. Francis Xavier appear in good shape next year after filling the departure of star guard Tyler Richards with the OCAA Player of the Year, Charlie Spurr (5’11” G). The Algonquin College transfer averaged 21.8 points per game in leading the Thunder to a bronze medal at Nationals this past year. His shooting performances will excite the fans in Antigonish for his final two years of eligibility. As for backcourt talent of the future, Coach Konchalski recently secured commitments from University of Windsor transfer Ellis Ffrench (5’10” PG) and athletic combo guard Jordan Clarke (6’2” G, Oakville, ON/Holy Trinity).

Steven Baur was recently upgraded from Acadia’s interim coach to permanent head coach, and for good reason. The Axemen are heading in the right direction thanks to his tireless recruiting efforts. It starts with the commitment of Owen Klassen (Kingston, ON/Bayridge), a 6’9” forward with a European flavour to his game. With excellent shooting, passing, and ballhandling abilities, his future is very bright. 6’4” Anthony Sears (Riverview, NB/Riverview) was regarded as the Maritimes’ top senior in the Class of 2009. As a point guard with size and ability to make those around him better, Coach Baur secured a solid fit to make his young team run. Jonathan Kamba’s (Bathurst, NB/Nepiseguit) recruitment heated up substantially at the end of the high school season as coaches began hearing of a 6’6” wing with huge potential in an area not usually scouted. Once again, the Axemen made their pitch and won the sweepstakes. Also making commitments to attend Acadia are: Alex McLaughlin (6’4” G/F, Dartmouth, NS/Dartmouth), Dustin Poirier (6’5” F, Cambridge, NS/Central Kings), Adam Moore (6’2” G, Arnprior, ON/Arnprior), and Will Thornton (6’5” F, Woodstock, NB/Woodstock).

Ontario high school stars head West

A new trend developing lately is Ontario ballers leaving for western CCAA pastures. At least eight are headed that way and the scholarship opportunities available play a major role. Cousins Shane Reece (6’5” F) and Shane Cox (6’2” G) leave for NAIT (Edmonton, AB) after two seasons at Sheridan College. Lakeland College (Lloydminster, AB) have commitments from high school stars Troy Barnes (6’1” F, London, ON/HB Beal) and Tamoy Lewis (6’0” G, Mississauga, ON/Loyola). Impacting the backcourt at UNBC (Prince George, BC) is Jose Araujo (6’1” G), among the most dangerous outside shooters as an OCAA player with Humber College in the past. Red Deer College (Red Deer, AB) coach Craig Behan did well with his ID camp in Toronto after the high school and college seasons, managing to land three Toronto players in Terell Campbell (6’5” F, Toronto, ON/CW Jefferys), Jason David (6’2” G, Toronto, North Albion), and Sean Giscombe (6’0” G, Toronto, Father Henry Carr).

The next HoopStars Canada report will look into areas such as prep school commitments from Canadians, as well as the AAU scene and ID camps as the summer schedule quickly approaches. Also watch for official CIS recruiting classes in early July.

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