MEXICO CITY (Mexico)/MIES (Switzerland)/NEW YORK (U.S) - The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced last Friday the top 64 boys and girls from 17 countries and territories who would participate in the 11th edition of the Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Americas camp.
Attendees included nine Canadians: Cassandre Prosper, Toby Fournier, and Ajok Madol on the women’s side, as well as Keenan Emmanuel, Jovan Milicevic, Christian Nitu, Stephen Osei, Ishan Sharma and Nogbou Tadjo attending the men’s camp.
The BWB, which is the first camp since the BWB Global Camp at the NBA All-Star 2020 in Chicago, was held from Monday May 16 to Thursday May 19 at La Loma Centro Deportivo (La Loma) in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, with NIKE serving as the official partner.
The NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program, the BWB Americas 2022 brought together high school age boys and girls from throughout Latin America, Canada and the Caribbean to compete among their peers and learn from current and former players and coaches from the NBA, WNBA, NBA G-League and FIBA.
"My experience at BWB has been amazing and i'm blessed to have been able to compete with some of the world's top players," said Ishan Sharma, who represented Canada at the FIBA U16 Americas Championships last summer.
Fournier, who has attended numerous development camps with Canada Basketball and made her Team Canada debut last summer with the U16 National Team, is beyond thankful for the opportunity.
"The BWB Camp continued to show me the opportunities and challenges that come with basketball. It was so amazing to face some of the best players from all the America's," said Fournier. "I am leaving this experience feeling not only sad that it is over, but also happy with the things i've learned and the experiences I will never forget."
Madol, who played last summer with Fournier on the U16 National Team, discussed how grateful she was for the opportunity to compete in this camp and meet incredible people within the industry.
"I loved the competitive environment and learning from current and former WNBA and NBA coaches and players," said Madol. "It was amazing to play alongside some of the best female players across North and South America."
Campers were led through a variety of activities, including movement efficiency drills, offensive and defensive skill stations, three-point contests, 5-on-5 games, and life skills and leadership development sessions.
When reflecting on the week, Prosper said she had a great experience and made a lot of amazing connections throughout the camp.
"It was a great opportunity to represent Canada on a bigger stage and challenge myself against players from different countries from the Americas," said Prosper. "It was really interesting to see how each country had a different style of play and how we all had to come together as a team."
On the final day of camp, awards of recognition are given out to players who distinguished themselves on and off the court as leaders such as for defensive MVP, Three-Point Champion and the Patrick Baumann Sportsmanship Award.
Six of the nine Canadian players were recognized by these awards, with Tadjo receiving Defensive MVP honours and Prosper being named the BWB Americas 2022 Most Valuable Player. Prosper, Madol, Tadjo, Sharma and Emmanuel receiving All-Star recognitions for their performance during the week.
When reflecting on what it felt like to be given All-Star recognition at BWB, Sharma said, "[Being named an All-Star] gave me all the more confidence that players in Canada can succeed on a world stage, which can be carried into the competitions that will be played this summer."
"It was a very proud moment to win MVP and show off Canada," said Prosper, who said that being comfortable being herself and being able to excel at BWB at the same time was an incredible experience.
"Winning MVP meant a lot, because it showed that I dominated against the best players all over the Americas and that I was able to adapt quickly to different style of plays and different teammates," said Prosper. "It was amazing to represent Canada on a bigger stage and challenge myself against players from different countries."
The NBA and FIBA have staged 62 BWB camps in 30 countries on six continents since its launch in 2001. More than 3,700 youngsters from 133 countries and territories have participated in the camps with 97 former BWB campers drafted into the NBA or signed as free agents, including former BWB Americas campers Bolmaro, Facundo Campazzo (Denver Nuggets; Argentina; BWB Americas 2009), Kai Jones (Charlotte Hornets; Bahamas; BWB Americas 2017), Kelly Olynyk (Detroit Pistons; Canada; BWB Americas 2013) and Luca Vildoza (Milwaukee Bucks; Argentina; BWB Americas 2013).