September 15, 2018 6:52 pm
Updated: September 15, 2018 7:26 pm

Junior combine provides Montreal NBA hopefuls with skills and dreams

WATCH: The Jr. NBA was in Montreal Saturday looking for the basketball stars of tomorrow. As Global’s Billy Shields reports, both girls and boys were looking to shine as they were put through their paces.

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Some 50 hopefuls, ages 14 and under, took to the court of Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf Saturday for a chance to hone their skills in front of coaches who are trying to get them to the next level.

“For some reason, we peak somewhere around the age of 15 or 16,” said Team Quebec coach Nathan Grant. “But the talent is there. If we push our guys hard enough, they’ll stand out for sure.”

Much of Montreal’s status as a growing basketball hot spot has its roots in immigration. Cardy Jean, for instance, is a 14-year-old prospect who was born in the United States to Haitian parents fleeing the earthquake.

Girls are also increasingly turning to the game in Montreal, coaches said.

“You’re seeing more female role models,” said Alyssa Thomas, a WNBA player for the Connecticut Sun. “It’s come a long way.”

The Junior NBA Combine seeks to coach and evaluate new talent.

Billy Shields/Global News

Schools in the NCAA have taken notice, too, on both the men’s and women’s sides. Duke University played McGill University in an exhibition earlier this year.

“A lot of Americans right now recognize there’s a lot of talent in Canada,” said Renaldo Maignan, who coaches Quebec youth under 15 years of age.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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