With 8 seconds left in the 2012 Peach Jam Championship game, the Oakland Soldier’s Jabari Bird went up for what would be considered the most controversial shot of the tournament. Bird went up for a long two-pointer, and a foul was called in the act of shooting, on the continent’s best player, Andrew Wiggins.
The building erupted, and Bird would go on to knock down two free throws that would prove to be the game winner for the Oakland Soldiers. Their opponents’, CIA Bounce, left the court in obvious disappointment.
The Canadian powerhouse would leave the court and take with them a motivation that is sure to serve them in next year’s Peach Jam. While the roster that CIA Bounce has collected is impressive, there’s a more significant impact that the program is having on an entire generation of Canadian basketball players.
Toronto, specifically, has become a city where recruiting eyes are now fixed upon to try and find stars, diamonds in the rough, and future standout players at the college and pro levels. With international recruiting on the high school, college, and pro levels higher than it has ever been, a program like CIA Bounce has placed themselves as a key component in leading their own country to gaining the respect that they feel is richly deserved.
“We’re over-comers,” said Mike George, co-founder of the CIA Bounce. “We’ve had to over-come the Canadian stigma.” A stigma that George says has included a lot of jokes, but now with more widespread success, those jokes and whispers are starting to decline.
In fact, as of the 2012-13 NBA season, Canada has produced the most foreign players, with 24. At a time where the Canadian Men’s basketball team is finally starting to come together, the CIA Bounce are showcasing what basketball fans in Canada knew that they had the whole time: talent.
“Our program is full of guys from Canada,” said George. “A lot of the guys live within the same provinces.”
The CIA Bounce has gone a long way in helping to make sure that Canada gets the respect that they’ve earned. They are a team that has set their own high standards and who work hard to meet and exceed those standards with each passing season.
“We teach guys to respect our history,” said George. “Guys have to know how to carry themselves.”
George went on to say that players have to be mindful that, even if they don’t have a CIA Bounce jersey on at all times, they still represent the program at all times. The CIA Bounce has not only built a winning culture, but also a close family culture that even sees its players spending Christmas together.
With the CIA Bounce doing all that they can to develop their players and be a huge resource that young, talented players can grow from, it’s no wonder why Canada has turned in to a coach’s favorite recruiting grounds.
Canada as a whole has seen an increase in resources and funding from Canadian companies. With more resources becoming available for the game of basketball, the National Men’s team is able to encourage and help develop its younger, home-grown talent on the court.
CIA Bounce members, Tyler Ennis and Andrew Wiggins, have shown their commitment to the national team. Both, unquestionably, will learn a lot and only help pathe the way for more young Canadian-born players to represent their country.
The CIA Bounce has done well on the recruiting trail including commits from: Isaiah Watkins (Duquesne), Xavier Rathan-Mayes (FSU) and Denzell Taylor (Old Dominion), the CIA Bounce is sure to continue producing highly-touted players.
Not only is the CIA Bounce showing how it’s done as far as building a top-notch AAU program, but they are also going a long way in helping their country advance in the game of basketball.
We’d like to thank CIA Bounce Co-Founder Mike George for allowing this article to be possible. If you’d like to find out more about the program, you can visit their website.