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Canadians @ McDonald’s: Our Panel of Experts Discuss How They Fared

Posted on 01. Apr, 2011 by Nolan Shulman in Canada Spotlight, High School, Media, Tournaments, Videos

It was a terrific experience once again at this years McDonald's All-American festivities.  With three Canadians competing on high school basketball's biggest stage, it was a terrific opportunity to both evaluate where they stood vs. North America's finest prospects, as well as gather some information from some of the industries most respected basketball minds.  We've evaluated and written about Myck, Kyle, and Khem so many times that we thought we'd try something different and get some different perspectives in regards to where they're at and how they preformed this weekend.  We spoke with Evan Daniels (Scout.com), Jonathon Givony (Draft Express), and Eric Bossi (Rivals) to get their take on how the Canadians performed this week. 


Player, High School (Height, Weight, Wingspan) (Hometown)

Kyle Wiltjer, Jesuit, OR (6-9, 220, 83") (Portland, OR)


Most people we spoke with down in Chicago said similar things about Kyle.  He's got a really advanced skill set, basketball IQ, and is a guy who takes pride in competing.  All three of our experts offered a similar viewpoint on his performance this week.    




According to Evan Daniels, "I don't think I necessarily learned anything new about Kyle.  He's always been known as a guy who can really shoot the basketball.  He uses his jabs and fakes so well to create shot opportunities for himself, showed great touch, and has all kind of moves.  He was really fun to watch all week at McDonald's and I think Kentucky fans are going to be pleasantly surprised."

NBA Draft guru and founder of Draft Express, Jonathon Givony also gushed about his performance this week.  "The first time I saw Kyle was on the under 18 National Team and that was a great setting for him, but what really impressed me about Wiltjer was watching him play in the Elite 24 in L.A.  Kyle is a very self-confident and aggressive guy which really bodes well for him because he doesn't back down from anybody.   Actually, that's kind of what separates him a little bit from most of these other so called big guys who are only known as shooters.   He's a lot more than that.  He's not afraid to put it on the deck, he's going to get into you in the post, and that really speaks volumes for his future.  For Kyle, It's going to come down to how well he defends his position and how well he rebounds.  The jury is still out on those two things, but he had a great week and is probably the most skilled big guy in this class.  

Rivals.com's Eric Bossi had a similar view point as Jon.  "I've always been a really big Kyle Wiltjer fan, and I've kind of always felt that maybe he's a bit under appreciated.  Most people just call him a big shooter and he's a lot more than that.  He's got some grit to him and he fights a lot more than people seem to want to give him credit for.  At the end of the day the guy just knows how to play the game of basketball. It's fun to watch a guy who's not just an athlete with no IQ, who runs and jumps like a maniac out there."


Myck Kabongo, Findlay Prep, NV (6-2, 175, 79") (Toronto, ON)

It's no surprise that the first thing most people allude to when discussing Myck is his charismatic personality.  He is a terrific communicator who can flat out work a room.  No matter who we spoke to in regards to Myck, the immediate feedback was in reference to his leadership qualities and future marketability.   On the court everyone seemed to acknowledge that he's got some rare tangibles, but also needs to tighten it up some in order to take the next jump.  

According to Jonathon Givony, "I think that just being there in front of all those NBA scouts and GM's and showing them first hand how unbelievably fast he is helped him as much as anything.  I think that the turnovers, the shooting, the finishing around the basket are certainly things he's going to need to improve on, but the NBA guys aren't evaluating him right now on how he does that stuff because he has time to get better at all that.  What stands out is that he's one of the fastest end to end guys in high school basketball and that's a something you can't improve on.  That's something you've either got or something you don't.  It's just really rare to find a guy with that kind of athleticism and intangibles." 

Eric Bossi certainly agrees with Jonathon's long term projection, and as someone who takes him in as frequently as any analyst in the country, he offers a very valuable opinion on Myck's performance this weekend.  "If I'm trying to project whether he can play in the NBA, I think he certainly has the speed, quickness, and intangibles.  He still needs to learn to take care of the basketball a little bit better, and he's going to need to prove he can score a little bit against NBA caliber athletes."  

Evan Daniels is another great high school basketball mind that has seen Myck in multiple different settings.  "I think the one thing I took away watching Myck this week is that he handles the ball extremely well.  Maybe even better than I realized and I've seen him quite a bit.  He has an extra gear that a lot of these point guards don't have.  The thing about Myck is that he's really creative and he can really pass the basketball.  I just think he's going to need to cut down on the careless turnovers and put his passes more on point.  But to sum it up, I'd say overall Myck had a pretty strong week."


Khem Birch, Notre Dame Prep, MA (6-9, 185, 86") (Montreal, QC)

After injuring his eye on the first day of 5 on 5, Khem struggled quite a bit in the remaining practices and scrimmages.  He was having trouble with his vision and as a result had a very difficult time catching the basketball.  The biggest knock on Khem during practice by various media outlets was that he seemed to lack interest.  By the time game time rolled around, most in Chicago had already written him off and were questioning whether his selection in the game was warranted.  How did he respond to his first real dose of negative media publicity ?  He scored 15 points, pulled down 10 rebounds, and blocked a game high 6 shots.  He displayed energy, ran the floor, and was a killer on the glass and controlling the paint area.  With all that in mind, it wasn't surprising that the reviews on his performance this week were somewhat mixed. 

Evan Daniels was quick to point out Khem's performance in practices were disappointing, but was encouraged by the fact he bounced back.  "He struggled during practice sessions but to see him come out during the game and play the way he did was awesome.  He was active, he was aggressive, and he swatted everything that came near him.  He was a really live body out there and it was pretty fun to watch because expectations had somewhat been lowered for him after practices.  He came out for the game and was a monster.  It was fun to watch."

Jonathon Givony was a little more concerned.  "It's two different players.  Practice Khem was very apathetic and didn't really fit in that setting.  He just looked very raw offensively.  When he caught the ball around the basket it was as if he wasn't sure what to do with it.  He's a guy who needs to be in a more structured environment and having a coach like Jamie Dixon to push him next year should be very beneficial to him.  What's good is that we're going to be able to see him in college extensively and really get a better feel for him.   What he did in the game, you can't take that away from him.  He was great.  But he's got to play hard all the time.  He can't afford to pick and chose his spots right now.  That's who he is.  He's an energy guy."

Eric Bossi felt similar to Jon.  "Looking at the week leading up to game night, Khem struggled mightily and that might be putting it lightly.  Throughout practice who knows if he was sick or what, but he looked out of it, he looked out of place, and he struggled catching the ball.  Then last night he went out and looked absolutely great.  I think what people need to realize with Khem is that I just don't think it's fair to expect him to do much offensively right now.  His defense and his rebounding is leaps and bounds ahead of where is offensively, but as long as he plays with energy… he's got great instincts and he can get in and outside his area.  There's a need for guys who are situational rebounders that you know you can plug in there and let them go chase it.  So in that regard, he probably helped himself out a little bit." 








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