Written By Rahsean Simpson
July 2nd, at Sheridan College, two strong U17 Canadian AAU teams squared off. Canada Elite’s Under Armour Circuit team and the up and coming Adidas Gold team, the Collective Elite.
Canada Elite displayed their dominance showcasing their ability to turn defence into easy transition buckets.
I was impressed with the well-rounded talent on Canada Elite’s roster. Guards Baraka Okojie and Romell Russell demonstrated their ability to consistently get paint touches. Baraka’s ability to create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates really showed in transition.
The Game in Review
Romell Russell is a sharp shooter who (https://www.instagram.com/yxngruss/) moves extremely well off the ball to create open shots. He can also play on the ball as a lead guard, probing the paint, changing speeds really well and making quick decisions to keep the ball moving.
Brayden Jackson a 6’9 guard started the game strong showcasing his ability to stretch the floor and get out in transition. He is very comfortable off of the ball and can get his shot off against anybody, given his size.
In the wing position, highly touted standouts Dominic Pangonis and Efeosa Oliogu lived up to their reputations. Domonic is a fundamentally sound shooter that can score off the catch, off the bounce and in transition. NBA top 100 Camp participant Efeosa Oliogu, the best prospect in the gym, showcased his strength and athleticism, catching lobs, dunking in traffic and finishing around the rim.
Also, stretch forward Ethan Brown (https://www.instagram.com/ethanbrown_7/) showed why he will be an asset at the next level. Standing at 6’9, Brown displayed his versatility and skill set. He does what every winning program wants and needs. He can stretch the floor, guard multiple positions and he doesn’t need plays called for him to score. Last but not least, Brown is a long, explosive 2 sport athlete (volleyball) with a great motor who will be able to contribute to wining right away at the next level.
Despite the decisive victory for Canada Elite, there were a few bright spots from The Collective Elite. Standout players like David Poppa and Stefan Jimenez-Vojnic left a lasting impression. David is a three-level scorer with a knack to get to his spot no matter who is guarding him; a wing with length or a quick pesky guard. Poppa uses his body very well to create space when getting in the paint, which goes really well with his already impressive mid-range and three-point shooting game.
Meanwhile, Stefan’s strength and skill as a 6’11 forward made him a force on the boards and a solid interior defender. His potential to stretch the floor with his mid-range shooting was an encouraging sign for his future development, as his shot continues to mature, expect him to extend his range to the three.
Overall, the game provided valuable insights on both programs. Both sides have players that will excel at the next level, and this was a great event with two of the most promising teams in Canada.