Each week this summer leading up to the AAU National Championships in Orlando in July, ESPNHS will profile one of the nation's top AAU teams and tell you why you should be paying attention.
Team: CIA Bounce
Location: Brampton, Toronto, Canada
Coach: Tony McIntyre
What you need to know about CIA Bounce:
With a roster comprised of players attending schools across two countries, CIA Bounce is often at a disadvantage when it comes to assembling for practices heading into the AAU season. But when the opening whistle blows, few teams can keep pace with this loaded squad. McIntyre and his staff have cultivated a program that stands out as one of the premier AAU clubs. Last season, the Nike-sponsored club finished 26-2 and won the AAU Super Showcase.
This year’s Bounce team is a veritable who’s who from the sophomore and junior classes, and is out to prove it can compete on the same level -- if not higher -- with its neighbors to the south.
"Our guys aren’t playing for scholarships; (they're) just playing for wins,” says McIntyre. "They play with a chip on their shoulder because they’re from Canada and sometimes people ask, ‘can you guys even play basketball up there?’ Our talent is phenomenal and people are starting to take notice.”
Those in attendance at the NIKE Elite Youth Basketball League session in Hampton, Va., were on hand to witness the squad's on-court dominance in late April. Bounce went 9-0 at the talent-filled event and took down perennial AAU contenders Team Takeover (D.C.) and King James (Ohio) in the process. They went on to run through the competition at the Dallas EYBL, highlighted by a monster Andrew Wiggins double-double (31 points, 15 boards). Few teams can match up with Bounce’s versatility and scoring punch when it employs its three-guard set. And on defense, the team’s length, instincts and quick switches makes it a tough unit to score on.
Andrew Wiggins, F, 2014: This 6-foot-7 athletic freak has insane bounce and an explosive scoring arsenal that has scouts labeling him the nation’s No. 1 pro prospect regardless of class. The Huntington Prep standout and West Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year is the team’s leading scorer and an underrated defender.
Tyler Ennis, G, 2013: The reigning Gatorade State Player of the Year in New Jersey is a talented floor general who keeps everyone on the court engaged in the offense with a steady diet of easy buckets. Ennis is a deadly player in transition and will score in bunches when the situation requires him to.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes, G, 2013: A knock down 3-point shooter with a progressing mid-range game, Rathan-Mayes is beginning to rocket up recruiting charts. His perimeter scoring is crucial to the team's attack as it opens up driving lanes for his high school teammate, Wiggins, and Ennis and allows the bigs to go to work in the paint free from double teams.
EYBL Session 4: May 25-27 in Oakland, Calif.
Nike Peach Jam: July 18-22 in Augusta, S.C.
Fab 48 AAU Finals: July 22-28 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Boasting the No. 41-rated junior (Ennis) and the No. 1 player in the Class of 2014 (Wiggins), expectations are extremely high for this squad. But don’t expect Ennis and Co. to wilt under pressure; they’re intent on wrapping up the summer by bringing a championship trophy home to Canada.
“Our goal is to go undefeated and go as far as possible,” says Ennis. "I think it will come down to how deep each team is. We can go five on and five off and play with the same talent level. Outside of the talent, we have good chemistry and everyone on here loves winning. We’re gunning for that No. 1 spot."
Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavs, 2011 first round pick)
Anthony Bennett (No. 7 in the ESPNU 100, UNLV commit)
David Auguste is an associate editor and basketball writer for ESPNHS. Follow him on Twitter @DAugusteESPNor email him at David.Auguste@espn.com.