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Thunder Look To Promising Prospect For Success

Published by on September 28, 2011

The 2011 Ontario Basketball Provincial Championships was overflowing with excitement as teams battled head to head on the hardwood for supremacy. The tournament was filled with upsets and surprises as some teams pulled off shocking victories. The Etobicoke Thunder Elite entered Division 1 for the first time with an all new squad led by coaches Jordan Paolucci and Sasha Malic.

The team, in just their first year playing in this competitive division, managed to achieve victories against notable teams such as YAAACE (#1) and Burlington Skyhawks.  Etobicoke Thunder Elite placed 3rd and was awarded the bronze medal in the tournament.

This year, both coaches saw most of last year’s team return and some leave for development. Adam Djukic, a 6’5 2013 forward who shined throughout last year’s campaign, transferred to La Lumiere Prep (Laporte, IN) for the fall. Coach Paolucci hosted the first open tryout last weekend which saw Humber College’s gym flooded with approximately 80 athletes. CROWN was on hand to see the boys battle through intense drills and scrimmages. By the end of the weekend, the 80 players were cut down to the Top 20 who were invited to participate in the last tryout which took place this past Sunday.

Tryout Camp Standouts

The following players really flew under the radar during their high school seasons but their performances at the tryouts were exceptional and definitely caught our attention:

Jovan Leamy, 6’4 2013 Guard, Metro Prep – Leamy’s strength and skill under the basket were one of the first things I noticed at the first tryout. His ability to use his body and attack the basket was a nightmare for his defenders. If Leamy can add a consistent long range jumper into his arsenal of moves, he is surely a player to keep an eye out for moving forward.

Patrick Street, 6’5 2013 Forward, Richview Collegiate – Street was among the top forwards at the tryouts. His experience on the AAU circuit really helped the confidence in his game. He seems really confident shooting the ball and can drive to the basketball with his speed and size. Street’s midrange and long range shooting is an asset to any team who wants to create space in the middle for their guards.

James Agyeman, 5’10 2013 Forward, D’Youville – Agyeman did not disappoint yet again as he emerged as the top pure point guard at the tryouts. His ability to carry up the ball calmly and distribute the ball smoothly kept his team on the court for most of the scrimmages. One thing I like about James is that he will not hesitate to put the ball on the floor drive hard to the net. His ball handling, midrange shot, and vision were on true display at these tryouts.

Regis Ivaniukas, 6’4 2013 Guard, Holy Trinity – Regis was hands down the best player at the first tryout and carried that performance all the way to securing a spot on the final roster. He is a very vocal player who understands that communication with his teammates is crucial. Aside from that, Ivaniukas demonstrates a good midrange and long range shooting game and uses his speed and agility to carve his way to the hoop.

Donnavan Hastings, 6’5 2013 Forward, Notre Dame (Brampton) – Hastings is an athletic forward who used his size and agility to finish baskets and create plays for himself. He possesses true high flying ability on the fast break and finishes layups and dunks powerfully and with no fear of contact. Hastings occasionally steps back for a midrange or long range jumper when the lane is clogged. If Hastings can improve on his midrange shot, the amount of talent he has will definitely be a problem for most defenses.

Matthew Taylor, 6’5 2013 Forward, Chinguacousy – Taylor is another  athletic player who demonstrates similar traits as Hastings. Although they are both high flyers who can finish plays with force, Taylor possesses a consistent midrange shot. Taylor needs to improve on utilizing his athletic ability to get better looks at the net. With his athleticism and skill coupled with his speed, Taylor is bound to have a breakout year with Etobicoke Thunder Elite.

Reilly Reid, 6’2 2013 Guard, Lorne Park – Reid was one of the players whom I haven’t heard about before being invited to this tryout. His stellar play right from day 1 raised the eyebrows of most of the coaches running the tryout. His ability to shoot the ball from long range and drive relentlessly in the lane saw him finish play after play. His physique and athleticism helped on the fast break as he often outran and out rebounded his matchup.

Both coaches Paolucci and Malic look to build on their strong finish this season as they head into their 2nd OBA season as a team. CROWN would like to thank them for having us out to these tryouts and wishes them goodluck on their upcoming season.

-Follow CROWN : @CROWNMagazine and Ali Ahmed: @CNDBallJunkie

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