A few weeks ago we took in the Father Henry Carr - Early Bird Prep Tournament
a great even hosted by the Father Henry Carr Crusaders Prep Program the tournament is likely the most competitive and anticipated Pre-Season Tournament in the GTA year to year.
Teams in Competition:
- Bill Crothers - GTA
- Henry Carr - Etobicoke
- Pine Ridge - Pickering
- Vaughan - GTA
- Crestwood - Toronto
- Athletes Institute - Orangeville
- Ridley College - St.Catherine's
- South West - London
- Thornlea - GTA
- Rise - Brantford
- Central Tech - Toronto
- Lincoln Prep - Hamilton
Our review will only mention the teams we saw and witnessed in action as we attended the playoff rounds along with the consolation finals and championship finals.
Review - Pine Ridge - Pickering
Only HS Team in the field great team work and chemistry made it through a rough pool play group with the host team FHC however managed to upset Rise Academy to enter into the final. This team is not your regular HS team this team is blessed with high level coaching and strategy along with tremendous talent for a traditional HS roster players such as Matteus Case (Grade 11 Team Canada Jr Team Member), Shak Pryce a very effective and high level AAU (PG) both players drive this engine that is Pine Ridge along with a host of great guards and combo guard type players who all seem to have the talent to shoot and steal the ball which feeds into Cedric Carter and Cam Nekkers system.
In the end Pine Ridge lost in the final however it was more for a lack of size vs a stronger Athletic Institutes side eventually in Basketball you pay the price for being small. We expect Pine Ridge to medal in OFSAA they will be a top 3 team provincially with ease.
Review - Crestwood
We like this team a lot a great balance of talent and fundamental players they have that traditional prep school as Crestwood is one of the better "schools" in the GTA as private schools go.
The basketball team coached by the legendary Ro Russell seems in good shape led by Sr. Guard Franco Miller Jr. from the Bahamas he was likely the 2nd best player in the Tournament second only to Luguentz Dort of AI who is an Arizona State Commit as of last week. Players we really enjoyed watching on Crestwood Emre Demirsu, Franco Miller and Shayne Shruggs had Jahcobi Neath played the games may have turned out Crestwoods favour. Crestwood is a team with enough talent and depth to win almost any game within the Ontario Prep circuit with Franco Miller your in very good hands most nights.
Review - Ridley College
Ridley College looked good to average most games they were missing a key player in Marcus Upshaw however they did have enough talent present to compete Noah Wharton an always effective point guard from Brampton runs the team and makes sure they are always in Coach Tarry Upshaws system based attack. One thing about Ridley is they are huge they have 4-5 kids over 6'6 easily the issue may be athleticism and youth however the talent is there for Ridley.
Players we liked on Ridley - Malcom Bailey (He is the best Athlete and player on this team), Noah Wharton traditional PG with the ability to score and create, Alex Roots is the key name to watch on Ridley because you simply wont see this kid coming he's a 2021 kids you can play CIS or Ivy is in his future and the best and brightest star could be Charles Badiako he is about 6'9 only in grade 10 and making major development strides under Coach Upshaw.
Ridley is a great school to pick up High Level CIS talent.
Review - Central Tech
Central Tech came out with a roster full of local talent from all over the GTA we can see that the Central Tech coaching and recruiting staff has its ear to the street when finding great players for the program. Players like Tariq Hamad from Mississauga (T.L Kennedy) we saw him dominate Peel Region last season now at Central also Etobicoke star Khalid Ismail who we know is a natural scorer all playing within this program. Central Tech based on what we witnessed will get better during the season as it seemed at times players are still fighting for minutes and positioning within the roster the team had not gelled as yet during their time at the FHC Early Bird however the talent is certainly there.
Review - Rise Prep
We had heard coming in Rise Prep was a favorite to do damage in the FHC Tournament however they were upset in the semi vs Pine Ridge they fell victim to many factors speed, great shooting and bad shot selection at times by the bigger team. Key player Brandon John was missing had he been in the game the result would have likely been different as Brandon stand 6'9 and is a lob and dunking machine. Rise Prep definitely has the talent to win on most nights with players like John Akende, Rahmir Moore, Brandon Kenyon and shooter Vladimir Lukomski. Rise did end up winning the Consolation final with a key performance coming from PG Drajan Stajic. This Rise team with Brandon John is a top team in Ontario however we recognize they had an off weekend without their key guy.
Review - Athletes Institute
This team was the biggest and best team on paper and on the court and they won the final by 30 points vs a traditional HS team which should always be the case when you march out the size and athleticism afforded to AI. The two key players we noticed were the 2 Quebec imports Luguentz Dort and Keeshawn Barthelemy they make this team go and go fast. Everyone knows Luguentz but Keeshawn is a smooth operator a certified D1 player and a great PG he compliments the team and Luguentz nicely as he gets everyone involved he would be the underground MVP for us in the tournament as he was always on the floor in key moments making no mistakes.
Other great performers for the champs - Ben Hendriks, Sam Rautins, Addison Patterson and Mabeny Naam every game was a show with AI at the tournament with easily 15 dunks in the final vs Pine Ridge with the finisher being Addison Patterson monster dunk on a Pine Ridge defender in the final quarter.
We enjoyed the tournament and the talent on display FHC and Coach Melnik always put on a great event open to the community and fans of the game - #PRKING2K