Grassroots Canada recently had great showings at both the Pitt Jam Fest and the Ruston Showcase. The open team won the overall championship in Pittsburgh and the 17U team won the silver bracket. The 16U team lost on a last-second shot.
At the Ruston Showcase, the 16U team from Grassroots Canada beat their 17U counterparts to take home the overall championship.
Grassroots Canada Head Coach Ro Russell says that his program has a great relationship with the University of Pittsburgh and Louisiana Tech University. The Ruston Showcase was held on the campus of Louisiana Tech University. "Pittsburgh is five hours away and the Pitt Jam is good exposure for our kids," Russell explained. "Nikita Johnson (La Tech Associate Head Coach) is a great friend and Coach (Kerry) Rupp is a great teacher. I get my notebook out every time I talk to him."
Olu Ashaolu, a top player for Grassroots Canada in recent years, just finished his first year at Louisiana Tech. "Olu is stronger and his shot looks better," Russell said. "He came here to develop his ability."
Russell says he also has a great relationship with Carlos Wilson from Christian Life Academy in Houston, Texas. "We have a great relationship with Christian Life; they take care of my players. My son (Rovonn Russell) plays there." Rovonn is a 6'1" shooting guard from the 2010 class. Ashaolu also played at Christian Life, and Hosten, Coleby, and Cadougan all play there now.
Calliste can play either guard spot and can pass the ball and shoot it. He can take the ball strong to the hole and displayed a quick first step in Ruston. Calliste is hearing the most from Clemson, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Pittsburgh.
Renaldo Dixon is a very versatile athlete. He can post up or face up with the ball. Dixon is quick enough to guard the small forward spot, but strong enough to play inside. Dixon is geting the most interest from Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, and Xavier.
Hosten is a defensive point guard who really gets in the passing lanes. He showed great timing on his passes in Ruston. Although Hosten is a pass-first point guard, he also showed good range on his jump shot. Holy Cross calls the most about Hosten.
Coach Russell said Kadeem Coleby is hearing from Texas as well as Louisiana Tech and Pittsburgh. He said that Junior Cadougan is getting the most interest from Louisiana Tech and Louisville.
Cadougan is continuing to get over an injury that kept him out of the last half of his high school season. Hosten filled in nicely for him and now the two are learning to play together this summer. Cadougan is a strong point guard and can use his body to get inside and break down the defense. As he continues to get back in shape and recover from his injury, he will really impress people this summer. Cadougan showed flashes of how good he can be at the Ruston Showcase.
Coleby is a strong, very athletic post player. He uses his athleticism to his advantage and also showed a nice touch on his free throws. Coleby is likely to draw a lot of fouls in the future, so hitting the free throws will be very important for him.
Both Cadougan and Coleby enjoyed their time in Ruston and had good things to say about Louisiana Tech and the campus. Cadougan said he would love to team up with Ashaolu again and said one of his priorities this year is to work on his outside shot. The 6'1" point guard said his strengths are his ball handling, basketball IQ, and his body strength.
Coleby was excited to get to meet Karl Malone. "I got to meet him yesterday," he said. "Tech is a nice school, I like it a lot." Coleby felt like he played well in Ruston and is looking foward to the rest of the summer schedule.
Grassroots Canada is currently ranked 21st in the GBOA rankings. They will participate in the GBOA regionals in New York in May. The GBOA is an orginization designed to bring AAU basketball together, regardless of shoe contracts. The GBOA Challenge of Champions will bring all regional winners together in Chicago this August. Visit http://www.gboahoops.com for more information.