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Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA) To Launch League For 2016-2017




The Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA) has announced a new league that promises to shake up the status quo for both high school and rep basketball in the province of Ontario.

Late last week, the OSBA made the announcement of details that had been in the works for some time: A Winter season, prep school league that will be run by the provincial and federal governing bodies.

It seemed as though it was just a matter of time before the this brand new girls league would get started, after the flourishing launch of the boys’ program last year that featured already household names such as Thon Maker, who has just declared for the NBA draft, and UNLV commit Justin Jackson.

“After the successful 2015-16 debut of the OSBA boys’ league, we are excited to expand the league to include girls’ programs,” said Lindsay Walsh, Director of Basketball Development at Ontario Basketball.

In comes the OSBA, who will launch their inaugural season in January 2017, spanning the 2016-2017 school year, with the following eight teams:

Bill Crothers Secondary School – Markham, ON
Durham Prep – Whitby, ON
École secondaire publique Louis-Riel – Ottawa, ON
Guelph – Guelph, ON
King’s Christian Collegiate – Oakville, ON
Lincoln Prep – Hamilton, ON
Southwest Furfaro Academy – London, ON
The Rise Centre Academy – Brantford, ON

According to Walsh, each will set the tone, for a culture that should set each of its participants with the most favourable outcome, within an academic environment.

“The eight schools selected will provide our high performance athletes with the structure and support they need to develop and to achieve success at the highest levels,” elaborated Walsh.

Canada Basketball, which will be working closely Ontario basketball to oversee the operation of the league, also reconfirmed their position articulated by Walsh.

“It is wonderful to see the harmonization and integration between local, provincial, and national basketball organizations through the OSBA,” commented Denise Dignard, Director of Women’s High Performance at Canada Basketball.

On the surface, is seems as though Canada Basketball has an assignment, which is to have a bigger impact on the country’s hotbed of talent, especially with the number of players coming from the province that eventually represent their country at the various national team levels.

That appears to be the case with the unique focus that the league will bring with its “proper periodized training, development and a competition model for high performance” for its athletes, among their list of benefits. Other benefits the league is touting include harmonization, partnerships, FIBA rules and additional exposure.

But also not lost on Dignard, is that there will also be an impact as well on both major impacts on the kids, and will look to address the enlightenment of coaches and parents.

“The league will positively impact Train to Compete athletes as well as grow coaches and educate parents about high performance basketball in Canada.”

Whether the league will be able to make the same impact on the girls’ side, as they have with the boys, remains to be seen. One of the biggest questions that the league will need to solve for is the question about whether they are trying to solve for a problem that may not exist.

Ontario girls’ basketball has always been in an extremely unique position. It is the only jurisdiction in North America where the high school season in the Fall (Sept–Nov). As a result, there has generally been a strong rep team culture, with a season that roughly runs from early to mid December, through to May.

The current league of choice for the majority of the province’s elite, has been the JUEL (JUnior ELite League). JUEL serves two age categories: U16 in their JUEL Prep league, and U19 in their JUEL league. Each league has 14 teams, which span across the province, with a mandate to assemble the best, to play against the best game in and game out, and is currently in their 6th season of operations.