Chris Tadjo (6’8”, PF, NBA Academy Latin America, 2024)
The 2024 recruit Chris Tadjo was easily the most impressive player on the court throughout the game and was appropriately rewarded as such with winning the MVP award for his team. His combination of strength, athleticism, and smooth ball handling allowed him to dominate on both ends of the court. Tadjo’s ability to play as a grab and go wing gave him many transition opportunities where he also displayed a wide array of athletic finishes and dunks. His ability to control the boards was a difference maker in this game as well through his sheer strength and nose for the ball, despite not being the tallest player on the court. His slashing ability and off-ball movement helped create opportunities for his team. Tadjo’s defensive effort was consistently at a high level throughout this game. His ability to be a switchable defender was shown through his willingness to either slide his feet with quick guards or play physically against bigger players. His helpside defense was impressive as he seemed to simply be one play ahead of players he was guarding. Tadjo’s passing was solid but could use a lot of work as there were many instances where he had tunnel vision and missed teammates on open cuts. Another area of improvement is Tadjo’s jump shot, he was not comfortable with shooting many attempts despite having a fairly smooth dribble pull up.
David Simon (6’11”, PF/C, Royal Crown Academic School, 2023)
The recipient of the Canadian National Player of the Year Award before the start of the game, definitely showed why he deserved such honors by making the most of his skills and tools. His very thin frame, athleticism, and overall length immediately stood out when watching him pregame. During the game Simon displayed very impressive touch and great hands on the offensive end. There were many points in the game where Simon would make the most out of bad passes or putback attempts off missed shots. His composure in those moments was apparent as he was not very phased by double teams by the opposing team. His defensive impact was arguably the best part of his game with his ability to easily block shots as a mobile big man and intimidate opponents from even trying to go at him in the paint. An area to improve on is his ability to comfortably play in the post as there were many plays where Simon was not able to establish post positioning and create shots likely due to his thin frame. Another area would be his ball handling which he displayed in short flashes particularly on short roll opportunities but it is important for him to develop that aspect of his game.
Bubu Benjamin (6’7”, SF, Edge Prep, 2023)
The athletic wing out of Alberta showed his two-way potential in this outing and impressive pace of play at his age. His physicality, shooting potential, and nice touch stood out. Specifically with his shooting Benjamin was not afraid to shoot deep threes off the dribble whenever defenders went under on screens. His potential with shooting and smooth movement on all three levels was definitely apparent in this match up. His touch in the paint has room to improve when finishing against contact despite his apparent athleticism. On plays where he had an open lane on a drive, Benjamin showed his athleticism with impressive dunks. His ability to identify open teammates and get them the ball at the right spots stood out as well. Defensively, Benjamin had a good knack for the ball but struggled with consistently guarding on the perimeter against quicker defenders.
Baraka Okojie (6’3”, DME Sports Academy, 2024)
The young two-way guard out of Ontario played with arguably the highest motor compared to anyone else on the court. His willingness to pick up opposing ball handlers in a full court press immediately stood out in this game. More importantly, Okojie was successful in doing this as he forced multiple turnovers through offensive fouls and steals. After getting stops or hitting big shots, Okojie got the crowd involved and instantly felt like a spark plug guard who helped his team go on multiple runs. Another area of this game which made him stand out is how his team played when he was not on the court, as they lacked energy and playmaking. Okojie’s jump shot needs work as he had a couple bad misses in the midrange area and was inconsistent in his free throw shooting, but given that he hit a good percentage of his threes and seemed confident when shooting this is likely a correctable area in his game.
Michael Evbagharu (6’4”, Royal Crown Academic School, 2023)
The 2023 recruit was the recipient of the MVP award for his team in this game. He looked like a veteran combo guard in this outing displaying his great playmaking and ability to play under control. Evbagharu’s ability to grab offensive rebounds at his size was very impressive in this game, in large part due to his constant cutting and following his own shot attempts. His stronger frame and above average athleticism as a guard attributed to this as well as it allowed him to play physically against bigger forwards and wings on the opposing team. He also leveraged this strength on the defensive end making it easier for him to fight over screens and force turnovers. Evbagharu is a good passer and displayed an ability to make multiple reads, but was more interested in initiating to create his own shot as opposed to creating for his teammates. While he did not attempt many jump shots outside of open attempts, Evbagharu looks like he has solid touch on his shot. Overall, Evbagharu seemed to bring a sense of reliability and confidence to his team simply through his presence which made him stand out as a leader throughout this game.
Written by: Yonatan Ghebremedhin