All Canada Classic Recap
The top players in the nation battle at the Air Canada Centre.
by Tariq Sbiet / @Tsbiet
For those unfamiliar with this event, the PHASE 1 All Canada Classic is the only national high school all star game held in Canada. The ACC has garnered the top Canadian players in the past and has alumni who are spread across the basketball board, with players in the Euroleague, Canadian national team and the NCAA.
This year it was no different as the top Canadian prospects were aligned to throw down at the home of the Toronto Raptors, the Air Canada Centre. Although household names such as Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph were unable to attend due to NCAA ruling (already participating in two all-star games), the rosters were still jam packed with top prospects such as Myck Kabongo (Findlay Prep), Emerson Murray (California), Maurice Walker (Minnesota), Duane Notice (St Mike’s), Kevin Pangos (Dr. Dennison) and Stefan Nastic (Stanford) to name a few. Sim Bhullar (Kiski Prep), the 7-4 giant, was also in attendance to flaunt his major improvements.
Right from the jump, it was clear that highly touted prospect and Texas commit Myck Kabongo (2011) was eventually going to get a strangle hold on the competition; the question was when. In the first Q, the top two Canadian guards in Kabongo and Kevin Pangos (2012) were facing off, and it seemed like Pangos had the edge as he held his ground against the lightning quick and aggressive Kabongo. But as the game progressed Myck truly displayed why he’s the highest ranked Canadian PG, capturing MVP honors while scoring a game-high 38 points.
“That’s basketball, there’s always competition and you’re always battling it out with someone else. He’s a great player and it was really tough but fun playing against him tonight,” said Pangos on his match-up with Kabongo.
The dark horse in this game was undoubtedly 6-2 Combo guard Daniel Mullings (2010). He entertained the crowd with his high flying act and showed his combination of speed and athleticism. Mullings was able to consistently get to the rim at will and finish over the trees as he filled up the basket for 32 points. It was a break out performance by Mullings which was unexpected by most due to the lack of buzz he received leading up to the game. The good news for college coaches is that he is still uncommitted and surprisingly only has one offer from New Mexico State.
“My mindset was to be fearless and go after whoever. I was chosen to be part of this game for a reason so I had to show what I got,” explained Mullings.
While Kabongo and Mullings stole the show, 6-11 centers Stefan Nastic (Stanford) and 7-4 Sim Bhullar (Kiski Prep) did the dirty work inside. Bhullar continues to shed weight and improve his game as he showed the ability to consistently hit his patented baby hook. “This year I got used to my body. At prep school, it’s an everyday thing with workouts, lifting weights and being in the gym, it’s mandatory to be in shape.”
Unlike Mullings, this 7-4 junior is accustomed to the limelight as he was welcomed by hundreds of fans at the airport on a recent trip back home to India. “It’s overwhelming because I’m 16, I can only imagine how it’s going to be in a couple years. Maybe the whole country will be after me,” he says with a slight grin.
Nastic, who will be attending Stanford this September, was the most complete big man in the game with polished inside skills, good footwork and patience. Each time he would make a play, wild cheers erupted from the right side of the Air Canada Centre where his family and friends had gotten comfortable.
This contest stayed close with a halftime score of 54-48.
In the first half, Kabongo was looking to get shots up but he wasn’t necessarily efficient. The second half was a completely different story. He came out with a full head of steam (as usual) and opened up the third quarter with an acrobatic finish in the paint.
Mullings continued to be extremely efficient slashing to the rim and showing off body control that is rarely seen at the high school level. “He is definitely one of the most athletic guys in Canada right now. He can run up and down the court, he can jump. That’s his game, he’s flashy and fun to watch,” said Pangos.
“He’s a highlight reel, he has unbelievable hang time and he uses it to his advantage,” added Nastic.
Matthew Wright, 6-3 SG (undecided), made his presence felt in the second half knocking down a couple of smooth jumpers. Kabongo officially took over the game and began his onslaught by sinking back-to-back three balls, totaling 18 points in the third quarter. This was when I began to hear comments like, “This guy is the man.” MK’s biggest asset is his quickness, but when he gets his shot going, he is an absolute nightmare for defenders.
The opposing team tried three different defenders on Myck in the fourth quarter but it didn’t matter as nobody on the court was able to stay in front of Kabongo. Both teams continued to seesaw until Kabongo hit yet another tough shot to put his team up 103-101 with 50 seconds left. The red team had one more crack at it with Nastic shooting and missing a fade away baseline jumper with time expiring.
Final Score: 103-101 White
“It happened too fast. I haven’t totally soaked in what we just participated in. This is a big deal, probably tomorrow morning I’ll think about it and realize that we just played in the biggest game in our high school careers.” — Matthew Wright
“I think this event was run very well. PHASE 1 has come a long way with it being the tenth anniversary this year and I just felt excited to be chosen. When I first got the phone call, I was very excited to know that I will be playing amongst the best in the country.” – Daniel Mullings
“Being able to see what the NBA players have, and the court that they get to play on just fuels your fire more; I’m appreciative of it and definitely want to make sure I’m back here some day.” — Emerson Murray on playing at the Air Canada Centre
“I would say that this year was more of a back and forth battle and the atmosphere was crazy. All the people here supporting what they do, it’s just amazing.”– Emerson Murray
|BOYS TEAM WHITE||HEIGHT||POSITION||SCHOOL||HOMETOWN|
|MYCK KABONGO||6-2||PG||FINDLAY PREP (NV)||TORONTO, ON|
|TYLER SCOTT||6-3||PG||HALIFAX WEST||HALIFAX, NS|
|EMERSON MURRAY||6-3||SG||ST GEORGE’S||SURREY, BC|
|LAURENT RIVARD||6-5||SG||NORTHFEILD MOUNT HERMAN (MA)||ST BRUNO, QC|
|BJORN MICHAELSEN||6-8||F||CHAMPLAIN ST LAMBERT||MONTREAL, QC|
|KYLE WILTJIER||6-9||C||JESUIT(PORTLAND, OR)||WEST LINN, OREGON|
|MAURICE WALKER||6-11||C||BREWSTER (BREWSTER, NH)||SCARBOROUGH, ON|
|GRANDY GLAZE||6-7||PF||NOTRE DAME PREP (MA)||BRAMPTON, ON|
|YANN CHARLES||6-5||SF||CHAMPLAIN ST LAMBERT||LONGUEIL, QC|
|MANNY SAHOTA||6-6||F||MARGARET D’YOUVILLE||BRAMPTON, ON|
|BOYS TEAM RED||HEIGHT||POSITION||SCHOOL||HOMETOWN|
|KEVIN PANGOS||6-1||PG||DR. DENNISON||HOLLAND’S LAN., ON|
|DUANE NOTICE||6-2||PG||ST MICHAEL’S COLLEGE||WOODBRIDGE, ON|
|DANIEL MULLINGS||6-2||SG||WILFRED LAURIER||SCARBOROUGH, ON|
|ANTHONY BENNETT||6-5||PF||MOUNTAIN STATE (WV)||BRAMPTON, ON|
|JULIAN CLARKE||6-3||SG||OAKWOOD||TORONTO, ON|
|STEFAN NASTIC||6-11||C||THORNHILL||RICHMOND HILL, ON|
|ANTHONY OTTLEY||6-6||F||EMERY||TORONTO, ON|
|SIM BHULLAR||7-4||C||KISKI (PENN)||NORTH YORK, ON|
|MATTHEW WRIGHT||6-3||G||MARTINGROVE||TORONTO, ON|
|KHEM BIRCH||6-9||PF||WINCHENDON (MA)||MONTREAL, QC|