February 09, 2011
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Jamar Ergas may only be 14 years old, but the teenager is already shouldering weighty expectations. With unbelievable athleticism -- he has already won a high school dunk competition despite the fact that he's an eighth grader -- and a rapidly evolving game, Ergas would get attention regardless of where he lived. Yet the fact that he hails from suburban Toronto has sent that hype into the stratosphere, with Canadian prep message boards touting him as the next great hope for hoops north of the border.
If there was any question that Ergas' athleticism is on a different level than all his competitors, save AAU teammate and fellow Canadian phenom Andrew Wiggins, just check out the 360-degree dunk he pulls out in a game in the video clip below. His AAU coach Terence Phillips told ScoutsFocus' Joe Davis that the teen is also hoping to attempt a between-the-legs slam if he gets another wide-open, uncontested fast break later this season.
Like top Canadian prospects before him, including Texas freshmen Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph -- both of whom have already stepped forward to mentor the 14-year-old -- Ergas will leave his home in search of more competitive fields next fall, with his freshman season scheduled to take place at Christian Faith Center Academy in Creedmoor, N.C. The move will help put Ergas under the microscope of top-level American high school hoops, while sitting him in the immediate vicinity of four premier ACC programs.
For some players, that kind of exposure would be invaluable for their future prospects. Yet Ergas' physical gifts should mean he doesn't need that kind of a crutch. At 14, he already boasts a vertical leap of 39 inches, has earned favorable comparisons to a young Demar Derozan and has scored 50 points in a game.
So, what is Ergas doing leaving his roots in suburban Toronto for the warmer gyms of North Carolina? For one, the director of his AAU team -- Canada Grassroots head man Ro Russell -- is also the coach at Christian Faith Center Academy. In that sense, the move to Christian Faith provides Ergan with a natural bridge to cross as he tries to navigate the murky waters of modern recruiting.
Yet his future away from his home nation also raises another interesting question: Can a teen be the future of Canadian basketball if he abandons the country before he can even drive? Following the lead of Thompson, Joseph and current Findlay Prep star Myck Kabongo, it seems likely that other top Canadian players will also flock south of the border for better exposure.
Regardless of his future residence, one thing seems certain: Ergas' athleticism alone will keep him in the prep hoops spotlight in coming years.