Outside of the high school and post secondary seasons, there is little available for basketball enthusiasts to enjoy other than the NBA playoffs that are set to conclude in June. And with the Ontario rep basketball travel circuit having concluded this past weekend, that leaves only the AAU circuit available, which is only played south of the border and restricted to high school athletes.
Local basketball participants are left in limbo until late fall for their nearest action. The organizers of North of the Border Basketball League have set out to change that, developing an elite men’s basketball league that draws some of the best talent that the area has to offer. The league aims to provide a unique and exclusive product that wasn’t previously available to individuals within Southern Ontario.
The founder and president Justin Avery and vice-president Joshua Sheriff, both St. Thomas More alumni and current Brock University Sports Management students, sought to provide players with an elite basketball league to participate in during the off-season to improve players’ skills.
The league’s 11 teams compete each Friday evening until the beginning of August – effectively turning Redeemer University College’s gym into an electric atmosphere each evening.
The Jayhawks Cudjoe Masuka (00) goes up for a dunk in a recent North of the Border Basketball League game. (Photo: NBBL)
Notable names participating in the league this summer include: Ryan Wright, a former UCLA Bruin and Oklahoma Sooner; Tut Roach, former York University star and currently playing professionally in Sweden; all-Canadian guard Manny Campbell and Andrew Cicuttini from Mohawk; Kwbana Beckles, who played at Winthrop University and in Eastern Europe; Tyrell Vernon and Jordan Clarke from SFX in Halifax; Victor Raso, former McMaster Marauder star and newest addition to the Carlton Ravens; Brock University’s Tshing Kasamba; Cedric Kasongo and Meshack Lufile from Cape Breton University; Ostap Cholly from Ryerson University; Tyrel Edwards from Canisius University; and Mike Allison, former Maine University forward.
Slated to begin play on June 21 are Brady Heslip, Grant Mullins and Chadrack Lufile.
Each evening there are five games running an hour in length, the first beginning at 5:45 p.m. at Redeemer. Each game has three officials from the Hamilton Board of Approved Basketball Officials.
Additional league information is available at its website – www.northborderbasketball.com