With the tournament starting tomorrow, it is about time to accelerate the pace of preview. So here we go for a first one of lots more to come online tonight: Canada.
This edition of the Canadian Cadet Team has something that it may not have had in previous teams: star power. Though this team heading to Germany is going to be a little more guard heavy than in the past, it will still have a whole lot of players that have been on the radar for many North Americas top NCAA programs.
Coached again by Roy Rana, who preaches defense first, this squad is poised to expose the world to the vast talent that Canada has. He will be utilizing the speed and quickness that his team posses to make another run at a place at the podium and another medal.
We’ll start off by looking at the trio of Kevin Pangos, Duane Notice and Anthony Bennett. All three players we invited to play in the Jordan Brand Classic on the International Team that featured the some of the best in the U16 age group from around the world. All three had great showings at the game with Notice, a 6’2” guard, who took co-MVP honors after posting a game high 23 points to go with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
6’1” point guard Pangos has been drawing comparisons to current Suns guard and former Canadian National Team captain Steve Nash for his great passing abilities and his solid shooting and floor leadership skills. He may be the most sought after high school guard in Canada at the moment by American college recruiters.
Bennett is a big man with very good perimeter skills. Listed as a 6’7” combo forward by may North American high school recruiting analysts, Bennett seems to be equally at home banging on the low block or pulling up from the three line. He is a big, yet surprisingly agile, kid and he knows how to use his body to his advantage on offense.
All three have been getting major NCAA programs’ attention over the past year and they all have the tools to back up the hype on the court.
After the big three of Pangos, Notice and Bennett, the talent level does not fall off. Negus Webster-Chan is a tall guard (6’5”) that looks to be more a one than a two. He, like Pangos, can shot the ball but looks more to play the passer. With height and length, he can be a problem for most teams on both ends of the floor.
Rounding out the perimeter players to watch are Junior Lomomba and Andrew Wiggins. Lomomba is another big wing that plays multiple positions. He was a member of the U18 team that recently won the Bronze medal at the FIBA Americas Championship in San Antonio leaving a day early to board a plane to join the Cadet Team in Hamburg.
Wiggins has been a Youtube sensation over the past two years having been labeled among the best 14 year old players in North America by several scouting services. He is a very long and athletic guard that is capable of playing above the rim and finishing in traffic both with equal intensity. Not to be one dimensional, he is also a very good defender who is capable of guarding multiple positions on the floor.
These players have not had the chance to play with each other very much due to the locations of their respective schools and their summer schedules but they looked to be getting into a rhythm as the training camp continued. They all looked to be playing well together and understanding each others’ roles on this team. With them still being so young, this will be a stepping stone for their development as players for the future of the Canadian National Team program.
What will be the determining factor this squad’s success will be how well they handle the size of the other teams in this tournament. Being that Canada will largely be perimeter oriented, they will be to show that their speed and quickness can negate the size advantage other countries may have on them. Look lots of team rebounding and pressing on defense and an outside in approach on offense. Canada can really shoot the lights out and when the shots are falling, it will be a long game for their opponents. This team should really be in contention for a berth in the semi finals in Hamburg.
written by Ray Bala
Official Roster for Canada
Anthony Bennett – 2m04 – Forward – 1993
Joseph de Ciman – 1m98 – Guard – 1994
Olivier Hanlan – 1m86 – Guard – 1993
Junior Lomomba – 1m95 – Guard – 1993
Duane Notice – 1m89 – Guard – 1994
Kevin Pangos – 1m86 – Guard – 1993
Richard Peters – 1m86 – Guard – 1993
Dyshawn Pierre – 1m98 – Forward – 1993
David Wagner – 2m07 – Forward – 1993
Negus Webster-Chan – 1m98 – Guard – 1993
Andrew Wiggins – 2m01 – Forward – 1995
Matthew Willms – 2m08 – Center – 1994
Ray Bala is a freelance journalist from Toronto who covers all things Canadian basketball. Ray’s work can be found on The Can Ball Report on www.raptorshq.com as well as in various media outlets such as SLAM Magazine and www.SLAMonline.com.