The Junior Men’s National Team (JMNT) continued training camp with an intense and energetic intrasquad match Tuesday night at Ryerson University. The second annual Red and White Game showcased Canada’s world-class talent at the under-19 level as the White squad prevailed 73-53.
The match featured the athleticism and length of the young team as both sides reminded the crowd that this game is not just for show. With training camp still in its infancy, the Red and White game allows players to show why they deserve a spot on the team’s final roster as it continues to prepare for this summer’s competitive season.
Plenty of Canadian future stars were featured on both sides, but the Red Team took the early lead as 6-10 forward Trey Lyles demonstrated his full offensive repertoire. The Saskatoon, Sask. native finished with a team-high 13 points while adding a game-high nine rebounds.
Duane Notice, a 6-3 guard from Woodbridge, Ont., beat the opening quarter buzzer to give the White squad its first lead of the game at 16-15. The White Team continued its control in the second frame, led by the potent backcourt play of Notice and Brampton, Ontario’s Tyler Ennis. The pair dictated the tempo of the game and powered their side to a 42-30 halftime advantage.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes of Scarborough, Ont. opened the second half with back-to-back three-pointers to provide a spark for the Red side, but the team could not piece together a sustained offensive push. 6-5 guard Joe De Ciman potted a shot from long range that put Team White ahead 51-40 – a double-digit lead the team would not relinquish throughout the remainder of the contest.
“I think we have a good group. We’re talented and deep at every position, I just think we have to come together quicker than we did last year – get that chemistry and play tough,” said Ennis when asked about the potential of this team.
JMNT head coach Roy Rana spoke to the character and skill of those assembled for the Red and White Game. “I’m super happy that guys are playing as hard as they can and giving everything for their country. Hopefully people that are here watching get a chance to see the incredible depth of young talent we have in this country. I say to the players all the time there’s not many people that get to take part in a World Championship. As a coach I’m honoured, this is my second, and as players, this is an incredible opportunity. This is a humble group – very patriotic and they love their country and look forward to going to war at the World Championship in a couple weeks.”
Coach Rana is encouraged that the effort his team showed this evening will translate to international play. “If we play as hard as we did against each other when we play Spain, Croatia and Korea in our pool play, I think we’ve got a good chance to advance.” Canada is set to begin the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Men against Spain on June 27.