When most people think of basketball hotbeds in North America they tend to envision New York, Chicago or the DMV area, one answer you don’t hear often is Canada.
Canada, our neighbors to the north are known for being a hockey loving country but over the past few years there has been exponential growth with their basketball programs.
While most basketball fans may name-drop Steve Nash and Andrew Wiggins as top players from Canada, if you dig a little deeper you my find some surprising talent has manifested its way into top high schools, NCAA programs and the NBA.
Top players such as Jamal Murray, Tristan Thompson, R.J. Barett, Kelly Olynyk, Trey Lyles and Nik Stauskas have all enjoyed some success at the college level, in the NBA or both.
The success of these athletes at a high school and collegiate level has now helped Canadian basketball organizations to devote more resources to youth basketball development. A perfect example of this is Hooprecruits Services, an organization started by Kevin Scarlett in 2017.
The main goal of Hooprecruits Services is to give elite level athletes an opportunity to be seen and recognized by high level scouts on the college, prep and professional level.
While Canada had been doing a good job of developing players at the high school level Scarlett recognized that there could be a better job done at the youth level, specifically grades 2nd-8th.
"I noticed that the development these kids were coming to us with was lacking. It came to my attention that it’s in the best interest of the sport if the best program in Canada (Nike U-play Canada) was able to merge with the best program in the country for kids grades 2-8, that being The Collective Elite, it would be the perfect marriage of elite level program.” Said Scarlett.
"After speaking to the Presidents of both clubs they were able to come to an agreement that now houses the best prospects in Canada from grades 2-12.”
A problem that many kids face, even elite kids is lack of exposure. Many talented athletes go undiscovered every year. In today’s fast paced, 24/7 news driven society the exposure game has changed, athletes have more outlets to be recognized, especially if they are mentored the proper way.
Bringing all of these young athletes together under the same roof is already paying off for Scarlett and some of his underclassmen. Jahvon Myles, Keon Fuller, Isaiah Spencer and Josiah Sutton all were named top performers at the 2018 MSHTV Camp, the biggest middle school basketball event of the year.
These players are just a few examples of talent being developed and guided the correct way. Moving forward don’t be surprised if you see more Canadian players snagging headlines on the middle school, high school and collegiate levels.
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