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Not long ago, there weren’t many Canadians playing Division I basketball in the U.S. In recent years, the flow of talent from the North has increased dramatically. One organization that is helping that trend is the Canada Elite travel program.
“Today, we have players coming out of Canada from the left, right and center,” said Canada Elite coach Handel Kipp. “The college coaches realize that we have a lot of talented players, so there isn’t a stigma anymore about being a Canadian recruit. The doors are open now when it comes to getting a scholarship in the States.”
Kipp’s club will makes it’s debut in the elite All Star Girls Report Summer League this year, and Kipp is confident that his players are ready for the challenge.
“This will be our third year of playing in the United States, and we just keep growing and improving,” the coach said. “We’ve had success getting scholarships for players, and that success has really helped us build our numbers.
“When we started talking to the All Star Girls Report staff about the league, we immediately saw that it was going to help our athletes. The League is going to dramatically increase their level of exposure, and that’s going to increase their recruitment.”
Canada Elite will have a number of players who will be recruited this summer, with the quartet of Janika Griffith-Wallace (2016, 5-9, G), Jada Nneji (2017, 6-1, F), Rachael Niles (2018, 5-5, PG) and Ethel Opoku (2019, 5-6, PG) leading the way.
“Janika is crazy athletic,” Kipp said. “She is a playmaker and a natural scorer. She gets to the rim and scores with her mid-range game, and she is shooting the three pretty well.
“Jada is an athletic defensive stopper for us. She is a rim protector who blocks a lot of shots, and she is a great rebounder. She is a good finisher around the rim on the offensive end, but her toughness is her biggest asset.
“Rachael is one of those ‘heart over height’ players. She sees the court very well, and she sees plays before they happen. She creates shots for her teammates, but she can score the basketball when she needs to. Rachael is also very good on the defensive end.
“Ethel is a scoring point guard who is another tough defender. She will defend someone from end to end, never giving them an inch. Offensively, she can attack the rim, she has a good mid-range game, and she can make the three.”