OSBA Finals Wrap Up, Showcase Season Begins


It may have been a sweep, but it’s doubtful the OSBA would have asked for a much better final series than the one between Orangeville Prep and Athlete Institute.

The first game was a blowout, with A.I. Prep walking away with a 95-76 win to go up 1-0 in the best of three series, but not before some blood was spilled on the floor after a couple of elbows were thrown when diving for a loose ball.

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The blood was still visible on the floor the next day when Athlete Institute’s pro team, the Orangeville A’s of the NBL, were set to play.

If anyone had thought that Orangeville Prep had left their last bit of fight in that scrum on Saturday night during game one, they would be proven wrong during game two on Monday.

With just 1.5 Seconds left in the game, and Orangeville Prep down 66-63, Jahvon Blair would drain a corner three to extend Orangeville Prep’s season if not for just one more quarter.

The great comeback just wasn’t in the cards unfortunately, as five-star recruit Thon Maker led all scorers with 27 points and 11 rebounds, in a 82-71 final for A.I. Prep, giving them the series sweep and first ever OSBA championship.

What’s Next?

With the regular season and playoffs finished, many players on both rosters, as well as the rest of the OSBA, will be looking to the string of showcases, AAU tournaments, and of course for the seniors, the national signing day deadline for the NCAA on May 18.

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The showcases and camps during the spring stretch across both the US and Canada, and will be the final processing point for a lot of these seniors. Sort of like “a combine” if you will, where all of the heavyweight college programs across the NCAA such as Kentucky, Duke, and Kansas just to name a few, will make their final decisions and offers to whoever they are interested in.

OSBA finals MVP Thon Maker has drawn interest from all of those major programs and then some since 2014, but a poor showing at back-to-back premier showcases last year may have prompted the 7-foot-1 center to take up grade thirteen to increase his draft stock in the NBA, before making the leap for his inevitable “one-and-done” season in the NCAA.

The gamble has paid off for now, with Maker reclaiming his spot among the most sought after seniors in the country following a dominant performance with Canada Elite during the summer of 2015, and leading A.I. Prep to the OSBA title over the weekend.

One such hopeful suitor is Kansas, who Maker is scheduled to make his third official visit with this weekend.

Maker still has two more notable showcase stops to make, however, before making his final decision, which are the Nike Hoop Summit on April 9, and the BioSteel All-Canadian Game on April 11.

Maker was underwhelming last year, scoring ten points on 2-of-18 shooting from the floor combined in both games.

Although the rosters for the world team at the hoop summit have not been released yet, it is unlikely to think that the Australian-South Sudanese national will not get a second chance at redemption after the season he’s just had.

Other notable Greater Toronto Area players to watch from this OSBA finals going into showcase season are Brampton’s Jahvon Blair, Mississauga’s Jaelin Llewellyn, and Vaughan’s Kalif Young.

Blair is currently a junior and has been with Athlete Institute since his first day of high school. He has continued to progress as one of the top players in the country at his position, and has settled nicely into more of a scoring guard role with the development of Llewellyn, who is his teammate on Orangeville Prep.

If Blair continues to shine throughout the BioSteel game and the AAU season, he could be in for quite the recruiting process next year when he finally chooses where he will attend college.

Llewellyn was a late addition to Orangeville Prep before their season began, but became an integral part of their offence. Lewellyn won the starting point guard spot during the season, and has helped lead Orangeville to an 11-1 regular season record.

Despite this being his first go round in the prep school circuit, Llewellyn is no stranger to the big stage. He was invited to the BioSteel underclassmen game last year to compete alongside players like RJ Barrett, but couldn’t due to illness. Llewellyn also represented Canada during the world under 17s last summer in Argentina, bringing home a silver medal in limited playing time.

This will be Llewellyn’s first BioSteel game, and while his high marks in class will likely allow him to go wherever he’s offered come 2017, it is scary to think where he may wind up considering he, like Blair, has much more basketball left to play at this level.

Kalif Young was somewhat of an afterthought going into this season compared to his former teammate Thon Maker, but during the course of Orangeville Prep’s 2015-16 prep and OSBA schedule, he has carved out his piece of interest throughout the college recruiting community.

With looks from high value programs such as Duke and Syracuse, the 6-foot-9 Young showed he can play with just about anyone in the post following a nationally televised game against Oak Hill Academy at the Jordan Brand Invitational, during the All-Star break here in Toronto.

Young has an imposing figure that allows him to get deep into the paint, but his drastic improvement from last season in both his footwork and soft hands under the rim have made him an ideal big man in a game that is only going to speed up at the college level for the top teams.

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The champs have been crowned, and the photos have been taken, but now it will be time to see in the following months who will be making it to the next level.