The Rising Stars Showcase was established with the objective of creating an environment to foster the growth and development of Canada’s budding underclassmen basketball stars. As a component of the All Canada Classic National High School All-Star Celebration, the Rising Stars participants were given the opportunity to experience how their top peers’ train, play, and the attitude they displayed on and off the court. The Rising Stars Showcase for middle school and high school underclassmen boys and girls was introduced in 2002 and as a key component of the All Canada Classic, it identified and rallied around the young players who would become the future of Canadian basketball.
This Showcase has introduced to the world top Canadian players from different Canadian cities. Kris Joseph – Montreal, QC (2003), Jevohn Shepherd, Scarborough, ON (2003), Tyler Fidler – Calgary, AB (2004), Kai Williams – Regina SK (2005), Tyler Ennis – Brampton, ON (2008), Devoe Joseph – Pickering, ON (2005), Kalisha Keane – Ajax, ON (2006), Kayla Alexander – Milton, ON (2007), Wumi Agunbiade – Pickering, ON (2009), Justin Jackson – Toronto, ON (2012). Before the introduction of the Middle School (grades 6-8) Rising Stars Showcase in 2008, the first 8th grade phenoms to play in the Rising Stars High School event was Junior Cadougan (2005) and Brady Heslip (2006).
These young student-athletes were given a chance to display their talent against some of the top players in their age group as an undercard match for the battle between the biggest names in Canadian boy’s and girl’s high school basketball (ACC Alumni List). The All Canada Classic alumni consist of over 30 players (ACC Top 30) that have competed in or appeared on NBA/WNBA rosters, 100’s of NCAA D1 players, 100’s of International Pro’s, Over 50 Canadian Sr. National Team Members, and many of Canada’s only Male and Female Olympians in the 21st Century. The Rising Stars participants and the future of Canadian basketball were undoubtedly inspired!
In 2005, to assure that as many young players as possible had a chance to be identified for greater opportunities, the P.H.A.S.E. 1 team decided to launch their inaugural P.H.A.S.E. 1 Rising Stars Camp. For the camp, P.H.A.S.E. 1 assembled the top basketball peers, trainers, coaches and sports scientists to help these athletes expand their basketball skills, build friendships in the basketball community, and grow as student-athletes through life skills sessions and workshops.
The Rising Stars Camp included guest appearances and training session with Leo Rautins, Sherman Hamilton, and Steve Nash. Nash had just finished winning his first NBA MVP Award and was hosting his Charity All-Star Game at the Air Canada Centre. So as an added treat, all the Rising Stars Camp athletes attended together. The Rising Stars Camp was a tremendous success and kept true to the focus on developing and enhancing fundamental skills while nurturing mental preparation for playing at the highest level of basketball possible.
The goal of the All Canada Classic was always to bring community leaders and organizations together. The Rising Stars Showcase was a great addition to making this goal a reality. Notable partnerships included Hoop Factory from Toronto, ON and CIS Bounce based out of Brampton, ON. In 2008, the Rising Stars Showcase was sponsored by Hoop Factory and P.H.A.S.E. 1 partnered with CIS Bounce to run the Rising Stars Showcase as a fundraiser for their trip to Italy.
The history of the Rising Stars Showcase reflects the beginnings of the Journey of an Elite 1 for many of today’s Canadian professional and national team basketball players. For P.H.A.S.E. 1, it has been an honor to facilitate that journey through the All Canada Classic and celebrate their continued success.