By Brent Smyth
For the third consecutive year, Ryerson men’s basketball recruit Jordan Henry will play for Team Canada on the world stage, this time at the FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup, Canada Basketball announced Friday.
The tournament begins July 1 in Cairo, and Team Canada will be led by Rams head coach Roy Rana.
Henry, 19, will be featured in the Rams backcourt next season, and says he is “extremely grateful and honoured to be able to represent [his] country multiple times.”
After starring at Pine Ridge Secondary School in Pickering and for the Canada Elite club team, the point guard received offers to play at several schools including Canisius College, Binghamton University, Virginia Tech and Creighton, however he ultimately chose Ryerson so his family could watch him play.
But before he suits up in Toronto, Henry’s taking his show on the road to compete with the world’s best basketball talent.
Robert Clement, Henry’s high school coach, thinks his former player will not only hold his own at the World Cup, but will succeed against stiffer competition.
“There is a lot of talent there to compete with beyond a doubt,” Clement says. “He has become more of a scorer these days but in truth he is the consummate [point guard], involving his teammates and running the offence. He needs to play that role to be at his most effective as a player in my opinion.”
Ahead of the official roster announcement, Yanick Hannibal, a high school teammate of Henry’s, felt Henry was a lock for the team, and will contribute more than just scoring.
“He’s a great leader when it comes down to the last second shots. He’s always giving touches,” Hannibal said.
Both Hannibal and Clement say Henry’s work ethic is consistent, and he is always learning the game, although Clement believes his former player’s basketball IQ is advanced “well beyond his years.”
“The game came very easily to him he just made everything look easy. He made his teammates better,” Clement added.
Canada is currently ranked third in the world according to the FIBA youth men’s rankings, but last year, the U19 team trudged to a fifth place finish at the World Cup.
Henry wants to do better this time around, but remains excited at the prospect of representing his country.
“I’m confident in my abilities, but I just go out there and play as hard as I can,” Henry says. ”I’m just grateful for the opportunity.”
“We have a great chance of medalling, and we just need to focus on getting better every day and playing our best basketball when the world championships [begin].“
The team will fly to France for exhibition games June 20th, before tipping off July 1st in Egypt.