By Kevin Werner, News staff
Three Hamilton area basketball players are now in France representing Canada in the U17 FIBA World Championships that begin next week.
Saltfleet District High School Grade 12 student Nicola Djogo and former MacNab Secondary School students Nolan Narain and Marquell Fraser made the Cadet Men’s National Team after the final training camp was held July 25 to 28 at Humber College.
“We’ve had a successful training camp and have begun to come together as a team,” said Coach David DeAveiro. “We are looking forward to our final stage of preparation in France and competing in the world championships.”
The team was in France preparing to compete in a four-game exhibition tournament.
It will then kick off the world championships in Dubai, taking on France on Aug. 8, followed by Japan on Aug. 9 and finally Australia on Aug. 11.
Djogo, a six-foot-six guard, Nolan, a six-foot-nine centre, and Fraser, a six-foot-four point guard, made the initial cut after the first training camp June 26 to July 2, also at Humber College.
“I’m happy with how far I’ve come; it’s a great accomplishment,” Djogo told the Stoney Creek News earlier this month in an interview. “Playing for Canada and representing the nation at the world championship would be the highest honour.”
He attended an open tryout for the team June 25, along with 80 other athletes. Djogo was among four players from the open tryout who were invited to join 30 other athletes from across Canada for the first training camp.
The athletes participated in scrimmages and were evaluated on their performance and skills in different game situations.
DeAveiro, who coached the University of Ottawa men’s basketball team for nine years, and is now McGill University’s men’s basketball coach, said in an interview with the Stoney Creek News he was impressed by Djogo.
“He had a very good open tryout,” he said. “He just continued to do the things that he was doing in the open tryout (in training camp). He has a very good basketball IQ, which definitely helps him. He has been a pleasant surprise, really coming out of nowhere, basically and making it to the second phase.”
Djogo was instrumental in the Saltfleet Storm’s run to its first Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations AAA championship gold medal in Welland last season.
Narain, who will be attending the private school La Lumiere in Indiana next season and has already been offered scholarships from prominent Division 1 universities, has also being playing on the AAU team Uplay Canada Elite in U.S. tournaments.
He led the MacNab Lions to the OFSSA AAAA consolation championship this season.
Fraser played for MacNab, but transferred to the private school Mountain Mission High in Virginia.
He has also been offered scholarships by Division 1 schools.
During the plane trip to France, Fraser tweeted “Thank God for the opportunity to play for my country. Got to give thanks to the ones who supported me, and also to all the doubters.”
The coaches selected 12 players and one alternate for the team. The players come from across Ontario and Quebec and one is from Buffalo, N.Y.