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Dr. J. Naismith 02-13-2009 10:07 AM

Canadian HS Star Kicked Off U.S. Prep Team


Originally Posted by Toronto Sun
The best Canadian high school basketball player to come along in years has been kicked off his American prep school team for what his coach is calling "insubordination."

By almost everyone's account, Tristan Thompson is a great kid, a dedicated student and not in any way problematic. And that's what makes his story so shocking, complicated and yet compelling. The Grade 11 student from Brampton is such an immense talent that ESPN has him rated third best among all junior players in the United States, and he already has accepted a full scholarship to the University of Texas.

That's the future. It's the present Thompson has to address. Since he was banished from the team in mid-game earlier this week, at least 10 other American prep schools have contacted family, or friends of the family, to try to have Thompson transfer to their school. That number probably will be tripled by today. Such is the business of high school sport in the U.S. and in some cases, the business of private-school sport in Canada.

But the business for the teenaged commodity that is Thompson is recovering from a relationship with his coach that his mother, Andrea, calls "mean-spirited" and "verbally abusive and all negative," and his AAU coach and current confrere, Ro Russell, refers to as "insulting, de-humanizing and ego-driven."

The coach at Saint Benedict's Preparatory School in Newark is Dan Hurley, son of a legendary high school coach, brother of the legendary Bobby, seeking to carve out his own legend. Saint Benedict's is not just another prep school. The current basketball roster features players from Canada, Latvia, Lithuania and Cameroon among other countries. This is a place where basketball dreams are supposed to begin, not necessarily be trampled upon.

Hurley is no shrinking violet. He is an in-your-face, hard-on-his-stars, glass-half-empty, sometimes mean, sometimes insulting, coach. He would refer to the 6-foot-9 Thompson and fellow Canadian Myck Kabongo as The Bacon Boys. That was playful. Sneering that Thompson was "overrated," "Canadian" and "would never amount to anything," was not out of the ordinary, either.

Hurley maintains that "outside influences" damaged Thompson's attitude, which resulted in him being kicked off the bench during a recent game and told to leave the team. There are numerous accounts of the circumstances that led to the dismissal, not all of them consistent.

Source - 'Insulting' treatment | Steve Simmons | Columnists | Sports | Toronto Sun

MangoKidHoops 02-13-2009 10:29 AM

I understand not giving these kids too much praise because you want to prepare them for the real world, but sometimes you also need to know when to give praise and a pat on the back. Afterall, these are still kids we're talking about.

Claudius 02-13-2009 10:45 AM

The U.S. High School sport scene is frankly ridiculous and needs to be addressed pronto. The pressue on these kids is insane and truly removes why the kids are there in the first place, i.e. education.

I have read stories that kids as young as 10 years old are taking steroids to bulk up so that they can get noticed by HIGH SCHOOL scouts.

Superjudge 02-13-2009 11:47 AM

He'll be fine.

How he developes now is of no matter, let him ge to Texas, thats where men are made.

zachus 02-13-2009 12:00 PM

I played ball on the Ontario team with Tristan back in grade eight. Used to be a chubby 5'10", now he's a lanky 6'8". It's crazy when I think about it really - he was good when I played with him, but I don't think anyone ever labeled him top three recruit in North America good. Kid verbally agreed to play with Texas in grade 11. Grade 11!

To be honest it doesn't surprise me that he didn't mesh well with a hard ass of a coach. Not to say he was a bitch, because the coach he played with in Brampton was a pseudo drill sergeant, but after having everything handed to you for your whole basketball career it's tough to adapt. Realistically though he'll be in the NBA in a couple years no matter which pretentious preparatory high school recruits him.

Wish him the best though, he's a good guy. Was just talking to him on facebook over the christmas break actually.

Superjudge 02-19-2009 12:39 PM

cool Zach.

sign him up here!

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