Nats 15U Top Performers
Published by Ali Ahmed on August 12, 2011
The 2011 Canada Basketball National Championships featured the best basketball talent from each province as they battled it out in Humber College from August 1-6. The audience was entertained wit thrilling games throughout the entire week from teams who have not had enough exposure especially in Ontario. CROWN watched each and every game carefully as players made names for themselves and teams crept up the power rankings provincially. We are proud to provide you with a list of the 15U tournament standouts from that performed at high levels when their teams needed them the most.
Matthew Ellis, 6’5 F, Alberta – Ellis played phenomenal for Alberta as he was their go-to player down low. He was a problem for most defences with his tall and lengthy physique. His ability to grab rebounds and create plays off missed shots was really an advantage for Alberta.
Jalen Jana, 5’10 G, British Columbia – Jana has been the most consistent and probably one of the only pure point guards in this tournament. For his size, he uses screens, finds open teammates, makes hard drives to the rim, and knocks down the long range shot. Jana’s speed and decision making forced most teams in the tournament to get back on defense after missed shots especially
Hayden Lejeune, 6’7 C, British Columbia – At first glimpse, I saw that Lejeune had great potential at his height and frame. His ability to collect rebounds and play defense only made me think about how good he was if he could fine tune his offensive game. If he could work on his perimeter shooting and finishing around the net, he could really be force down low.
Joseph Medrano, 5’10 G, Manitoba – Medrano is probably the fastest guard in the 15U tournament. His ability to blow past defenders to the hoop and draw fouls at an alarming rate was the reason he’s made our list of standouts. The best part is that he could be a great combo guard at times when his fellow guard Benjamin Miller would run the point to perfection. He’s got a great crossover that draws defenders off his dribbling hand and kicks out the ball to shooters nicely.
Benjamin Miller, 6’0 G, Manitoba – Miller along with Jana (mentioned earlier) are the two best pure point guards I’ve seen in the tournament. Miller’s knack for finding open players and making plays for his teammates was well noticed by everyone including CROWN. He could pull up for a jumpshot when the lanes were clogged, and drive in for the hoop and the harm when the paint was clear. All in all, this player’s confidence and composure at the point guard position makes way for a great future.
Johneil Johnson, 5’9 G, Nova Scotia – Extremely talented at the guard position, Johnson’s ability to shoot the midrange shot and use his acrobatic maneuvers to finish at the rim makes him a threat on the court at all times. Johnson has the potential to become a great player as he will grow and bulk up a bit down the road.
Nick DePalma, 5’10 G, Nova Scotia – DePalma is a lights out shooter from deep and has a great shooting touch from almost every in the paint. He is streaky shooter that can heat up at any given moment, even scoring a tournament career high 14 points against a rugged Team Ontario defense.
Russell Baker, 6’1 G, Ontario – Baker is a gritty and tough guard who does not allow anything to stop him from getting to the rim. He has had a great deal of success scoring of fast breaks and his strength allows him to finish layups and dunks even with contact. His knack for cutting frequently in the lanes and making shots for himself really made him a go-to option off the bench for Team Ontario’s coaching staff.
Chris Egi, 6’7 F, Ontario – Egi was the hands down X-Factor for Team Ontario. He provided some solid scoring down low and saw a lot of time at the charity stripe due to his efforts under the rim. Egi’s defense throughout the tournament was incredible as most were deterred from driving in against this blocking machine. His dedication and hard work was evident even in the gold medal game where he seemed to suffer a head injury and remained in the game. He was later named Tournament MVP.
Devonte Campbell, 6’5 F, Ontario – Campbell was probably the most efficient scorer on Team Ontario throughout the entire tournament. His offensive prowess was evident on the score sheet as he led the team in scoring on multiple occasions. Devonte’s offensive arsenal included rebounding, a mid range shot, crossover dribbles to make space when driving in the lane, and finesse moves under the rim. Devonte will bulk up a bit and when he does there’s no stopping him under the net.
Brody Clarke, 6’6 F, Ontario – Clarke earned a nod as a tournament first team all star. He was all over the score sheet on a nightly basis whether it was rebounds, points, or other hustle categories. Clarke’s ability to out muscle players down low sent him to the free throw line at an alarming rate. With his ability to make some perimeter shots, Brody drags bigger post players out of the paint allowing much space for his guards to drive inside.
Jalen Poyser, 6’4 G, Ontario – Poyser was a huge part of Ontario’s success in this tournament mainly due to the fact that he was a constant threat from deep. I began to notice that teams played chest defense against Poyser as he made them pay for their unawareness of his location. When defenders would close out, Jalen would slash inside the lane on his way to a quick two points. He might not have earned an all star selection, but Jalen was a crucial piece to this Ontario team and is a All-Star in our eyes.
James Tyrell, 6’0 G, Quebec – Tyrell was the offensive lifeline for Quebec as they relied on him time and time again for some heavy scoring. Aside from that, he was a very decent guard who can put the ball on the floor and use his finesse moves to finish at the rim. His shooting was a bit spotty at times but he made up for it with his effort to get to the line and hit free throws continuously. This is one player that as he grows and becomes a better decision maker with the ball will thrive at his position.
Atlee Simon, 6’0 G, Saskatchewan – Simon scored his way into 2nd team all-star selection. Simon is always in attack mode, looking to find an opening in the mid range area for a pull jumper or make strong penetration to the basket, finishing through traffic or consistently get to the free throw line. He needs to do a better job of locating his teammates a bit more and give up the ball instead of forcing the issue and getting caught in bad situations. Overall a solid guard who’ll give you baskets in a hurry.