It’s 2020 and year round basketball focused prep schools are popping up in every province across Canada. Many people are only hearing about them recently but they have existed in North America for decades and for decades Canada’s top high school ballers have been migrating to the United States to play for them. The drain of Canadian talent south of the border has been steadily flowing from the 1990’s in search of greater training and competition. Canadian coaches initially looked to the governing bodies for answers and Canada Basketball eventually created the National Elite Development Academy (N.E.D.A) in 2006 in Hamilton, Canada. But N.E.D.A. was only one program designed to satisfy a small group of Canada Basketball’s chosen elite. The rest of Canada’s top talent was still without options for a year round high level training and competition at home.
With no answers in site, the talent drain to the United States would only escalate. The few coaches that were in the trenches could only assist their athlete’s to get to the best U.S. prep programs possible.
From my AAU teams I had to step back and let Mike Tuck, Eugene Kotorobai, Kevin Massiah, Tristan Martin and many more head off to prep schools like Main Central Institute, Laurinberg Prep, Philadelphia Christian and Love Christian. I watched as many of our players bounced around from one prep program to the next. Player’s moved for all sorts of reasons but what bothered me the most was our players having to leave the country to succeed at the highest levels. – Wayne Dawkins
Finally in 2010, frustrated with the lack of options in Canada for our aspiring young basketball players. P.H.A.S.E. 1 entered the North American prep basketball scene. Starting out the gate as one of Canada’s first true scholastic programs. The inaugural program was a partnership with Vaughan Road Academy in Toronto, Canada. Vaughan would be the academic parter and the student athletes were enrolled in the innovative Interact Program. The Interact Special Focus Academic Secondary Program offered credit courses on a flexible timetable and made Vaughan Road Academy the school of choice for future rap superstar Aubrey “Drake” Graham and his Degrassi cast-mates along with many Canadian aspiring Olympic athletes.
Shortly after starting P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy, the need for consistent top competition in Canada became a major challenge and P.H.A.S.E. 1 would take the lead in creating the first Canadian Prep School league called the National Prep School Athletic Association (NPSAA). The initial 2010 NPSAA League featured a mixture of newly formed academy and prep teams from across Ontario, including P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy, YAAACE Prep, REDA Prep, Athlete’s Institute, Metro Prep, Tri-County Prep, AGBU, and Faith Christian Center from North Carolina. The NPSAA league finished in 2012 with Grassroots Canada, led by Nik Stauskas losing a hard fought battle to the reigning Champions REDA/Athlete’s Institute.
In 2012 P.A.S.E. 1 made another major move on the prep scene. To provide equity in their basketball programs, P.H.A.S.E. 1 added it’s first girls prep team led by Head Coach Britney Miller. The success of the girls program was a reflection of Coach Miller’s commitment to the development of each of the girls on the team. Coach Miller had many stand outs at the post secondary level on her P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy roster, including Rashida Atkinson who finished her 5 year career in 2017 at U. Toronto, second in scoring, while leading the team in steals.
The Talent Drain South Continued
In 2012 even with a large number of basketball prep programs across the Canadian landscape, talented Canadian ballers wanted more. Canadian NBA players, Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph reached the greatest heights of success for Canadian high school ballers while at Findlay Prep in Henderson, Las Vegas. Tristan and Cory would become Canada’s first McDonald’s All Americans and were household names playing in hyper-exposure of the United States basketball market. Many Canadian ballers saw Tristan and Cory’s success as a sure sign they needed to be in the United States. The talent drain was now happening at any cost and this led to number of unfortunate situations for Canadian families. With very little knowledge of the U.S. prep basketball industry, families were taken advantage of, not realizing the business of prep basketball is not a fairy tale for everyone and making money is a high priority.
In 2013 P.H.A.S.E. 1 made an unprecedented move to support Canadian ballers heading south. The decision was made to close P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy in Canada and move the program to the United States. Through close relationships P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy was established in Phoenix, Arizona. This move firmly planted P.H.A.S.E. 1 in the history books as the first and only Canadian prep basketball academy to operate in Canada and the United States. P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy in Arizona would also become a global hub for international players outside of North America. This pool of talented student-athletes would gain the experience of training and competing nationally against top high school and prep teams in North America in preparation for collegiate play.
The creation of P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy AZ in partnership with Faith Christian School in Mesa, Arizona was not only a a first of its kind for a Canadian program but P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy become one of just a few prep programs in Phoenix, Arizona. P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy AZ brought top basketball talent from around the world to the state of Arizona and raised the level of competition for local players, while also bringing the biggest names in collegiate basketball to recruit the area.
There is no doubt the relationship between athletics and academics is crucial for the development of premier student athletes. P.H.A.S.E 1 Academy AZ’s program combined the benefits of year long skill development and the academic and social atmosphere of our local partner high school, Faith Christian School in Mesa, Arizona. Faith Christian School a SEVIS approved academic institution was certified to accept international students and issue I‐20’s when needed. Faith Christian School is an NCAA accredited school and accredited through Christian Schools International.
P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy Presses On
Shortly after getting P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy firmly established through the relationship with Faith Christian School, a major scandal entered the academy, threatening to become the end of a historic cross-border move. Wayne Dawkins and his coaches were approached with a partnership by Tamica Goree, the leader of a local basketball organization and a man she identified as former Phoenix Suns basketball player Richard Dumas. Despite every effort by Dawkins to convince his staff not to take the bait, they secretly lured the majority of the athletes away from P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy and convinced the families to become a part of a new start up program in Goodyear, Arizona that would be called Elite 1 Academy.
“She had a big house in Goodyear, AZ and she had the Bentley and the Range Rover and she really made it look like she had the finances to do all these credible things,….. Dawkins said he considered the offer, but after looking into both Goree and Dumas, and learning about pending charges against Dumas for theft and burglary, he decided against the partnership. Later, Dawkins said he learned Goree and some of his coaches recruited some of his P.H.A.S.E 1 players and started a new academy — Elite 1. He said Goree continued to bring players into the U.S. on visas under the P.H.A.S.E 1 name, even the players who were no longer associated with P.H.A.S.E 1. – Jasmine Spearing-Bowen/ Cronkite NewsFull Story – Venezuelan teens came to Arizona for basketball, but were left homeless, Nov. 30, 2017
Despite the defection of the majority of the original staff, P.H.A.S.E. 1 continued to thrive for several more years as and international basketball academy and also began attracting more local and out of state athletes. Finally in 2016 the confusion brought to P.H.A.S.E. 1 by Tamica and the former staff members by unlawfully using P.H.A.S.E. 1 and the Elite 1 name, made it difficult to continue and the P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy AZ would seise operations. Although his name was cleared from any association, Wayne Dawkins would step away from basketball for next three years.
Back to Canada – 2019 P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy at Bond
From 2016 to 2019 Dawkins focused on what he loved, training athletes. The three years away from running basketball programs would become a time of mastering the craft of training athletes of many different sports, while creating P.H.A.S.E. 1 Athletic’s adaptive physical education curriculum for children on the autism spectrum.
In the Spring of 2019 Dawkins was having discussions with a close friend Emmanuel Bonney, the former head of Basketball Development for the Scarborough Basketball Association, about the growing impact of prep basketball programs on the Canadian basketball landscape. The end result would be a partnership in creating a prep program that could support the SBA’s efforts to provide more elite level basketball opportunities. Dawkins also saw this as an opportunity to continue the original mission of providing and alternative for Canadian ballers to stay home and still receive the same quality of training, competition and exposure they were seeking in the United States.
With education being a priority, P.H.A.S.E. 1 and SBA secured an academic partnership with Bond Academy a private, co-educational, non-denominational independent school with students from kindergarten to Grade 12. Bond Academy would provide P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy student athletes with the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Curriculum in small classes with high expectations, within an enriched, caring and secure environment. In the 2017 Readers’ Choice Winners list by the Scarborough Mirror, Bond Academy was voted as the Best Private School (Diamond). The inaugural program would be called BP1 Academy (Blues-P.H.A.S.E. 1), however with the original partners choosing to part company, the program would become P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy at Bond.
P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy’s Elite 1 Alumni – 2010 – 2020
P.H.A.S.E. 1 is an established leader in player development in North America. Wayne Dawkins, creator of the P.H.A.S.E. 1 Training System, has utilized his one of a kind proprietary method of developing athletes to develop 100’s of post-secondary and professional athletes. The alumni of P.H.A.S.E. 1’s Academies includes many NCAA and U-Sport, professional and national team players.
Johneil Simpson 6’5 SG (Toronto, Canada) – P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy 2010–2012
Johneil Simpson was one of the original P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy Alumni at Vaughan Road. He played his his final collegiate games for Brock University where he finished with numerous accolades from CIS Rookie of the Year, team MVP, league all star selections and team scoring leader. In high school Johneil was one of the best shooters in the game. Young ballers, if you want to show coaches you’re a shooter take a look at Johneil in high school hitting jumpers every way possible, through screens, over screens, under screens, off the bounce, going left, going right, fading away….
Raviel Burton 6’7 F (St. John’s, Antigua) – P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy 2010/2011
Raviel Burton arrived a t P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy at Vaughan Road from St John’s Antigua. Raviel was an instant highlight reel for P.H.A.S.E. 1. He ran the floor like a gazelle and caught lobs from everywhere on the floor. Raviel went on to play at John Wood Community College before finishing his collegiate career at Missouri Valley College. Raviel continues to build on his legacy as a star player for the Cutie Oval O’Jay’s in the the Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association.
Adika McNeilly 6’3 G (Scarborough, Canada) – P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy 2011/2012- 2012
Adika McNeilly was smooth guard coming from a lineage of talented brothers from Scarborough, Canada. When Adika joined P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy at Vaughan Road in 2012 he became the second of the McNeilly brothers to play for Dawkins. Adika’s brother Jamie took his talent south of the border to U. New Orleans and is currently the Associate Head Coach for U. Texas A&M. Adika did a short stint south of the border at Clarendon College in Texas before returning to Canada to play for Roy Rana at Ryerson University. There he had a tremendous career receiving several awards for All Canada 1st team, Tournament All Stars and national player recognitions. After university Adika represented Canada and turned professional starting his career in Germany.
D’Adrian Allen 6’8 PF (Brampton, Canada) – P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy 2011/2012
D’Adrian Allen arrived at P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy in Toronto from his hometown of Brampton, Canada. He played high basketball for Brampton Centennial Secondary School before joining P.H.A.S.E 1 Academy at Vaughan Road Academy. After high school he attended Palm Beach Community College in Florida, where he played power forward. He then transferred to the North Idaho Community College, and was then offered a scholarship to attend, and play for the Southern University in Louisiana. where he won the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship (SWAC) in 2016
Adrian Mike 6’0 PG (Brampton, Canada) – P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy 2011/2012
Adrian Mike was tough and determined high school baller from Brampton, Canada, who played both sides of the ball like he had a grudge against every opponent. Adrian is a major gym rat and his love for basketball has allowed him to find ways of staying in the game as professional for the past 6 years. Adrian’s journey after P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy at Vaughan Road is one that speaks to his determination. He traveled to Europe in 2016 to tryout for different basketball clubs and secured himself a roster spot playing for Cerdanyola, Spain.
Alvaro Merlo 6’0 PG (La Pampa, Argentina) – P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy 2013/2014
Alvero Merlo was one of the first international arrivals to P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy in Phoenix, Arizona. His destiny as basketball player was already written and his #1 goal was to play professionally like his dad Raul “Chuni”Merlo a former Argentian basketball star. Alvaro chose to leave high school early to get a head start on filling the big shoes his dad left behind. His father’s famous basketball club Ciclista Juninense renamed their stadium “Raul Chuni Merlo” in honor of his contribution to the institution. Alvaro is entering his 6th year as pro and he’s been steady climbing the ranks. In 2020 begins playing in Italy, his first year in Europe’s highest league.
Daniel Koperberg 6’9 F (Haifa, Israel) – P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy 2013/2014
Daniel Koperberg was a 6’9 15 year old when he arrived in Phoenix from Israel with NBA talks swirling all around him. He was instantly a featured athlete for P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy, anchoring the squad defensively with his fearless shotblocking. Daniel, just like his teammate Alvaro chose not to go to college and turned pro as a 16 year old and he hasn’t looked back since. As a professional for Hapoel SP Tel-Aviv Daniel continues his shotblocking ways anchoring his team defensively in the paint.
Boubacar Toure 7’0 C (Dakar, Senegal) – P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy 2013-2014
Until his arrival in Phoenix in August 2013, as 17 year old high school senior, Boubacar’s athlete development journey was focused on basketball training on the outdoor courts of SEED Academy. Once at P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy Boubacar Toure‘s journey to Grand Canyon U., then transferring to Eastern Michigan U. before landing a pro contract in Chorale Roanne Basketball based in Roanne, France, was a roller coaster of ups and downs. Despite missing multiple season s with potentially career ending injuries Boubacar would bounce back every time. Boubacar’s professional career may be staring in France but the NBA is still in his future.
Solomon Silis 6’6 SF (Lagos, Nigeria) – P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy 2013-216
Solomon Silis holds the distinction as the last of the P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy alumni still actively playing college basketball. Due to unfortunate circumstance with his student visa, Solomon had to sit a out two years before making his debut at Herkimer College in Herkimer, New York. Solomon’s work ethic and strong character has helped him to become team captain and MVP. As a Freshman Solomon helped Herkimer captured its first national championship since 1991 with a victory over No. 5 Rock Valley at the 2019 NJCAA DIII Men’s Basketball Championship in Rochester, MN
Despite the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy has been diligently training over 40 aspiring Elite 1’s both on-site and virtually. The mission to assist the next generation on their Journey of an Elite 1 continues…