Prep School Countdown: No. 19 TAPS

Ro Russell is trying to build a prep power in Toronto that can compete with the big boys in the U.S. He's off to a good start with plenty of talent in his rookie campaign.

We're unveiling the most extensive and only prep school poll of its kind and we'll take a look at a new school – Toronto Academy Prep School (TAPS), which checks in at No. 19.

Ro Russell is a familiar name around Toronto hoops and he's started up what he hopes will soon be a prep basketball powerhouse.

But these guys won't be too shabby this season.

``It's our first year, but I think we'll be competitive," Russell said. "We're looking to be a premier prep school and want to play the majority of our games in America down the road."

Combo guard Shane Morrison, a 6-1, 180-pound Toronto native, will lead the way for TAPS this season. UNC-Wilmington pledge Vladimir Kuljanin is a 6-10, 250-pound senior from Yugoslavia who will start alongside the country's tallest person, 7-5, 300-pound post-grad Jerry Sokoloski.

Russell will also have plenty of other talent at his disposal, including 6-1, 180-pound junior floor leader Nkrumah Murray, 6-4, 190-pound senior wing Odane Harding and 6-7, 235-pound senior forward Andrew Lomond, who has pledged to Florida A&M.

The bench will likely consist of 6-9, 235-pound sophomore power forward Dobre Mavrak, 6-9, 225-pound junior forward Julian Martins, senior guards Jason Roach (6-3), Drew Bynoe (6-1) and Jason Jones (6-3) and senior swingman Phil Nkumah (6-4) and Shane Rowe (6-5). Bizi Manual, a 6-7 senior forward, and 6-4 junior guard Matthew Powell, will also compete for playing time.

``We're going to play some high schools, junior colleges and a couple prep schools this year," Russell said. "We're looking to make a name for ourselves. Now kids in Canada can compete against some of the top prep schools in America. I'm trying to keep all the top players in Canada at home."

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