Two Showcase AAU basketball teams competing at the 13U category and the 15U category in the United States are holding tryout - Burlington players can get in on this..

element_sportsBy Staff

August 24, 2015


The increasing number of scholarship opportunities for basketball players in the United States is something Jim Thornton, of the Wildcats Basketball club feels should be welcomed by the Hamilton Region basketball community. In recent years there has only been one organization in the Hamilton and surrounding area offering an AAU Showcase program.

Starting this season (2015-2016), Wildcats Basketball out of Hamilton, Ontario will be introducing two Showcase AAU Teams competing at the 13U category and the 15U category in the United States. These teams will be for players born in 2002/2003 and 2000/2001 respectively.

Wildcvats 2015 Team Picture

Wildcats competed at the U15 level last year in Ontario; finished their season in the Top 15 teams in Ontario out of approximately 100

If the last few NBA drafts have shown anything, they have shown that Canadian Basketball in general is getting stronger. Several of the top overall picks have been Canadians over the last few years and going forward Canadian Basketball is only going to get stronger on the world stage.

AAU stands for Amateur Athletic Union which is the main organization for youth sports in the United States. Teams that compete in the top tournaments in the AAU have some of the top talent in North American and many of these players go on to play basketball at the collegiate level offered through scholarships.

Thornton, President of the Wildcats, took over the club for the 2014-2015 season. In just one year, he and his right-hand man Rob Bowman have been able to change the image of the club; giving it a much needed makeover.

Thornton’s plan is to raise Wildcats Basketball Club to The Premiere Basketball Club in the Hamilton and Surrounding area. “Hamilton has some great basketball talent and it is a shame that more young athletes don’t get the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of the right scouts and coaches”, says Mr. Thornton.

The Wildcats competed at the U15 level last year in Ontario (Born in 2000), finished their season in the Top 15 teams in Ontario out of approximately 100 teams that competed at that age group. Five years ago this team was one of the lowest rank teams in the province. “Our accomplishments and improvement only testify to the hard work and dedication that my players have put in almost 12 months per year over the last 2 seasons”, said Thornton.
Both Showcase AAU teams that Wildcats Basketball will be launching for the 2015-2016 season will compete from October 2015 through to the end of July 2016.

These teams will train a minimum of twice a week in the Hamilton area and will compete in exhibition games and tournaments in Ontario. They will then compete in the CYBL (Canadian Youth Basketball League) which is a league designed for the top Canadian teams to prepare for their U.S. Tournament Schedules.

Basketball player red shirt

The creation of two AAU Showcase basketball teams opens up an opportunity for young Burlington players to grow with the sport.

From April through to the end of July 2016, both the Showcase Wildcats teams will travel to the U.S. where they will attend “Live Tournaments” such as Motown Showdown in Detroit, The Chicago Classic, King James Shooting Classic and others. Live tournaments are tournaments where there are numerous, sometimes dozens of College and University scouts from NCAA schools in Division 1, 2 and 3. Teams like this don’t offer any promises for the athletes that play on them, but at least there will be a second organization in the Hamilton Area that is willing to commit the time and resources to young athletes, helping them get in front of College and University scouts for the purpose of earning scholarships.

Thornton will be starting tryouts for these Showcase teams starting as early as September 8, 2015 at McMaster University. For information on locations and times for tryouts visit and look up U16 for the 2000/2001 age group and U14 for the 2002/2003 age group.

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