Junior combine provides Montreal NBA hopefuls with skills and dreams
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.”
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.
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