Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hoops: Canada's Kabongo and Thompson are Superbad

One hope is basketball coverage in Canada will become more cohesive in time.

The Raptors are covered well. Canadian university basketball coverage is getting better, but the media really needs to do a better job highlighting Canuck ballers who have relocated to the U.S. for better competition. Players such as point guard Myck Kabongo and forward Tristan Thompson, whose Newark, N.J., high school team is ranked No. 3 in the U.S. by Maxpreps, get sparse media attention in their home country. The same goes for point guard Cory Joseph (Minnesota Golden Gophers guard Devoe Joseph's brother), whose stock has shot up recently among the experts. They should get more attention, beyond clips on The Score once they get to college. It will come in time.

Kabongo and Thompson, who helped their St. Benedict's Gray Bees beat Lincoln High from Coney Island last week (yes, the school Jesus Shuttlesworth/Ray Allen attended in He Got Game) probably will be on Canadians' radar screens. It might be like how people didn't know that Michael Cera was Canadian when he was on Arrested Development, but after Superbad became a hit, everyone knew Michael Cera was from Brampton, Ontario.

Kabongo, who just turned 16, and Thompson, probably need time. In keeping with their aim of "trying to be the best one-two punch in the world," (Rivals.com), they're both committed to play college basketball at Texas. (Thompson finishes high school in 2010, Kabongo in '11).

Kabongo, as his high school coach, Danny Hurley (brother of Bobby Hurley, the Duke point guard from the early '90s), noted, is very media-friendly.
"You've got to have this extra quality of just being able to get it done and he's got that. He's just a very well-rounded kid. He's a highly intelligent guy. His personality is kind of an infectious thing ... He's the type of college basketball player that you can sell to the public because he actually has some thoughts and expresses himself positively without any of the negative stereotypes."
As a player, Kabongo "needs work on his outside shooting and defense (but) has already drawn comparisons to Steve Nash, the most famous Canadian ballplayer of all time." (Nash plays defence?)

The point is you will be hearing about Kabongo, Thompson and Cory Joseph. It would not necessarily be a shame if they go down to the States and never come back to play for their country, but it's necessary that people become aware of the opportunity they represent for our national hoops profile.

St. Benedict's has a special pair of players (Rivals High)


Mike Radoslav said...

I agree that hometown basketball coverage, both HS and CIS levels, needs more attention. It seems with the introduction of the NBA basketball awareness has been increased nationwide, yet at the same time decreased interest for our own homegrown talent.

I remember back in HS at a citywide track I ran Titus Channer (meet held at MAC) and I was generally excited, if not beside myself, that I got the chance to actually speak with him. But the coverage in both The Spec and CHCH back then was pretty good, especially on Channer. Even though that was only about 15 years ago (give or take). Not sure of the likeliness of thss sort of reaction to any CIS players happening any more for younger basketball players (but hopefully I'm wrong).

Mike Radoslav said...

I should probably also mention here in was aware of Michael Cera's roots well before SuperBad, but like many around this site in particular I may be an exception to the norm in some ways :)

(love the fact that the AD movie rumours aren't dying off btw, can't wait!)