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Friday night hoops tips off

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

The problem local hoop fanatics almost always encounter after the high school and college seasons are over in March is except for watching the NBA on television, the game takes a hiatus until late fall.

Two St. Thomas More graduates want to change that.

Starting May 17 (previously set for May 10) at Redeemer University, and for the next 11 weeks, 10 teams will be competing in the North of the Border Basketball Association that will provide hoop fans a taste of what organizers hope will be elite level competition. The first game tips off at 5:30 p.m.

Initially there were 12 teams scheduled to compete, but as of earlier this week, the Marauders and Jayhawks were not on the May 10 schedule. The Marauders last week had only one player registered on its roster, according to the association’s website.

“There was really nothing around here during the (off-season),” said Joshua Sheriff, vice-president of North of the Border Basketball Association. “We wanted to provide players with a league so they can play at a high level.”

Sheriff and Justin Avery, president and founder of the league, are both 22-year-olds, attendingBrockUniversitytaking sports management.

The teams are composed of nearly a who’s who of local basketball talent from Baylor University’s three-point shooting star Brady Heslip, a product of Burlington, Dwayne Harvey from Alabama State, Ryan Wright, a power forward who played at UCLA and the University of Oklahoma, to Kwbana Beckles, who played at Winthrop University in South Carolina, and now plays in Eastern Europe, former McMaster University star Victor Raso. Also included on teams are Manny Campbell and Andrew Cicuttini both from Mohawk’s men’s basketball team, Jordan Clarke, from SFX in Halifax, Grant Mullins, from Columbia University, and Cedric Kasango from Cape Breton University. Sheriff said the teams are composed of players from U.S division one, two and three universities, Canadian universities and colleges, and a few are from overseas. There are also few local high school players who will be showcasing their talents against some of the best hoop players around, he said.

‘The top level competition will give these players a reason to play,” said Sheriff.

The five games will be an hour long, starting at 5:30 p.m. at Redeemer, which tips off with the Halton Region All-Stars against the Badgers, followed by the Gales and Burlington Elite, an hour later. The games will have referees from the Hamilton board of the Ontario basketball referees association.

Sheriff said last week in an interview they were “finalizing” the sponsorship for the event.

“There will be great competition being played at a high level,” said Sheriff. “It will also help the community. We came from here, we played here, so we wanted to do something for the community of basketball.”

For more information, check out the website www.northborderbasketball.com.

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