A roster of 1999 and 2000 Canadian born talent was unveiled Monday night by Canada Basketball. The Cadet squad is scheduled to participate at the U16 FIBA America’s in Bahia Blanca, Argentina between June 10th through 14th.

This past summer the Cadet squad finished 6th at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Cup in Dubai. In 2013 at the U16 FIBA  Americas in Maldonado, Uruguay our Cadets took home bronze after their 62-50 win versus Puerto Rico in the consolation game.

Head coach Dave DeAveiro credited a new venture taken up by Basketball Canada as the biggest difference with this crop of Cadets compared to crops of the past. A recently revamped Junior Academy now trains and teaches players at younger ages. It was implemented in an effort to bolster and improve our Canadian grassroots system.

“These kids have been together through the Junior Academy for two years. This group basically had a head start on our last group. It makes a big difference in terms of where these kids are at in development and understanding of the concepts that were trying to teach,” said DeAveiro. “Our teaching is quicker because they have been exposed to it at an earlier age. We don’t have to review things as much,” DeAveiro added.

After a final four-day, eighteen-hour camp in Toronto, DeAveiro’s expectations with this group are high in hopes that Canada can reach the podium at the FIBA Americas,”Our expectation is to be in that gold medal game with the USA,” said DeAveiro. “We’ve mentioned that to the kids. Along with expectations we have to come out and work towards those expectations.” For 1999 born talent the consensus top ranked prospect in the 2018 Canadian class is Simisola Shittu. DeAveiro described how the Burlington, ON big fella may be utilized,

“We asked Sim who he models his game after and he saidTracy McGrady. I think he wants to be that three man or a guard at 6’9″. That’s what he wants to do,” DeAveiro explained.

“On our team I think he’s probably going to play the four but our traditional four is more of a face up, put it on the floor, attack and shoot it four,” said DeAveiro. “He’ll be playing the four using only his guard skills in that position but is probably a guard down the road.”

Shittu at 6’9″ is likely to start along side Rowan Barrett Jr and become a dynamic duo for DeAveiro. In November the two went toe to toe at the Pinky Lewis tournament held in Hamilton, ON. Shittu scored 33 points and Barrett had 26.  Barrett Jr spearheads the 2000 born talent and is considered the top prospect among the 2019 Canadian class

After spending four days in the trenches with RJ, coach DeAveiro offered output on the rising star’s development this far, “He’s a scorer. RJ is special that he can score in so many different ways. Offensively he will keep improving his decision making with experience,” DeAverio says.

“As his coach now I’m challenging him on the defensive end expanding his game. Also taking some steps forward in leadership. We’re going to challenge RJ. Keep challenging him to improve his game and do some things that he doesn’t normally do on the floor.”

Barrett Jr represents the region of Peel located in the suburbs of Toronto. As a freshman this past high school season at St. Marcellinus, RJ  was among the top scorers in all of varsity ROPSAA. Peel region in recent years has produced NBA products such as Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, Nik Stauskas and Tyler Ennis,

Djuricic Displays All-Around Game

Shittu may be the consensus top ranked 2018 player in the Canadian class but Danillo Djuricic is on his tail. Djuricic was the unsung hero in St. Michael’s OFSAA gold winning season. Blue Raiders finished 38-0 in Canada & 48-1 overall. Djuricic according to DeAveiro was the most impressive in camp,

“He was the best player in camp and probably the best shooter. He showed high IQ, the ability to shoot the ball, put it on the floor and and ability to compete in the post in terms of rebounding.” DeAveiro said.

“Danilo is more athletic then most people give give him credit for. We’re expecting some special things from him.”

Big Man Suprise From Kelowna, BC

Despite 1999 born 6’9″ Grant Shephard being the only Cadet who didn’t participate in the Junior Academy Camp, he was was still a pleasant surprise in the eyes of the coaching staff.

“He was the best rebounder in camp. He’s an athlete, he’s explosive he can go up and get rebounds above the rim.”said DeAveiro.

“The thing for him it was his first camp so he had to learn a lot and at times but when he struggled he made up for it with his effort. Being a leading rebounder in this group is pretty impressive.”

Shephard was accompanied by his mother in Toronto this weekend. He was brought to DeAveiro and staffs attention through the University of British Columbia`s basketball coaching staff. After a strong initial impression he will now represent the red and white in June. Until then he will play summer ball with the Junior Heat in British Columbia.

Cadets By The Numbers

11– eleven of twelve players selected are Ontario residents. Only player chosen residing outside of Ontario is Grant Shephard of Kelowna, BC.

10– ten teams total make up the field for the U16 FIBA Americas. Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Uruguay, USA and Venezuela,

7– seven of twelve players selected play summer ball for Jordan Brand Team Ennis. A stat that should bode well for team chemistry and cohesion within the roster.

6– six weeks from now the roster returns for camp on May 28 for another series of practices before embarking on international tour of duty. In between Cadet Assistant and head of player development Michael Meeks will orchestrate personal workouts with some of our Cadets in the Greater Toronto Area while also playing AAU ball during the April live period.

5– five players selected stand 6’7″ or taller (6’10” Liam Courtney, 6’9″ Simisola Shittu, 6’9″Grant Shephard, 6’8″ Jaden Bediako & 6’8″ Danilo Djuricic). To put that in perspective when DeAveiro was in Dubai last summer with the U17 FIBA World team the roster only had three players taller then 6’7″ (6’9″ Eddie Ekiyor, 6’9″ Kalif Young and 6’7″ Jerome Desrosiers).

4– four point guard prospects cracked the roster. 2018’s Marcus Carr, Jaelin Llewellynand 2019’s Jonathon Kabongo and Andrew Nembhard.

3– three players chosen (Shittu, Djuricic & Carr) will toss it up in the Biosteel All-Canadian game taking place April 14th in Toronto.

2– Two alternates selected who will not travel with the team unless an injury or emergency call up occurs (Keshawn Saunders & Brandan John) are both Ontario residents and also play for Jordan Brand Team Ennis

1– only one player of twelve selected plays high school ball in America. Jonathon Kabongo was a freshman at Huntington Prep, WV in 2014-15. The same school that Andrew Wiggins graduated from in June 2013. A single digit number likely to become double digits by the time September rolls around.

2015 U16 Cadet Roster

Name Height Position Hometown Travel Club High School
Rowan Barrett Jr 6’5″ G/F Mississauga, ON Team Ennis St. Marcellinus
Jaden Bediako 6’8″ F/C Brampton, ON Team Ennis St. Marcellinus
Ignas Brazdeikis 6’6″ G/F Oakville, ON Team Ennis Holy Trinity
Marcus Carr 6’2″ CG Woodbridge, ON Northern Kings St. Michael’s
Liam Courtney 6’10” F/C Cambridge, ON Canada Elite St. Johns Kilmarnock
Danilo Djuricic 6’7″ F Brampton, ON Team Ennis St. Michael’s
Jonathan Kabongo 6’3″ PG Toronto, ON Team Ennis Huntington Prep
Noah Kirkwood 6’5″ F Kanata, ON Ottawa Next Level Ashbury College
Jaelin Llewellyn 6’0″ PG Mississauga, ON Team Ennis Father Goetz
Andrew Nembhard 6’2″ PG Aurora, ON Team Ennis Vaughan SS
Grant Shephard 6’9″ F/C Kelowna, BC Junior Heat Kelowna Secondary
Simisola Shittu 6’9″ G/F Burlington, BC Team Ennis Corpus Christi

Credits to Mark Bairos Twitter

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