We held the open tryouts for the BNB U15 and U15 Development teams this past Sunday at Fredericton High School. Overall it was a very good day from this coach’s perspective as turn out was good and the players seemed to be motivated to show they deserve the honour of representing their province.

The best surprise is the abundance of height we have within this year’s U15 age group. By abundance I mean we actually have some skilled players with good size to pick from which is not always the case when selecting BNB provincial teams. At the U15 Showcase we will have four players 6’5” or bigger and one of them is only in grade eight. This should allow the players in the 6’0” to 6’3” range to play their more natural position of small forward or power forward. A luxury NB teams don’t often get.

In addition having several “bigs” to pick from this year we have some very skilled points guards competing for a spot on the team as well. At the tryouts these players showed they can break people down off the dribble, know how to find the open man and can score. With zone defence being illegal at this year’s U15 National Championships I suspect guard play will be even more important than previous years. Based on my initial assessment of this group of guards, we should be able to play the up tempo/penetrate & pitch style the new rules would dictate.

But as always, it comes back to one thing. Who are the guys that can make jump shots? If we are going to field a team with break-down type guards and forwards that can post up, I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of sagging man-to-man defences. This will put the pressure on our perimeter game and the guys playing the shooting guard and small forward positions. The good thing is, we can teach shooting.

Showcase is May 15-16 at UNB Fredericton. I’m looking forward to seeing these guys compete and seeing who steps up. There are some very tough picks ahead but regardless I think BNB will have a solid U15 boys team representing the province this year.

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