Everyone’s story is unique but the foundation of success is similar in all facets of life including basketball – hard work and perseverance.Perhaps the most effective way to understand that the impact Drive for Dreams and KingNation Basketball can have on a young adult is by learning about the stories of some of our players. Every player’s journey is different and the particular circumstances are unique, yet most have common themes. Numerous road blocks and obstacles to overcome; athletic potential; a lot of hard work and a strong desire to succeed and persevere.
Often the player must deal with a difficult family situation – single parents, difficult economic circumstances – but most often there is a loving and supportive ecosystem of people behind the player. These people include the player’s family, high school coaches and the dedicated coaches, volunteers and teammates that make up KingNation. We care about these kids as if they were our own. This makes us a family and we have a saying that captures this feeling – “Once a King always a King”.
Derek Ogbeide, University of Georgia
When we first met Derek in his freshman year of high school he was a 6′ 9″, burly, somewhat overweight and out of shape young man. Our Executive Director, Vidal Massiah, saw some raw potential in him that made him think of another young boy he had trained in the past – Anthony Bennett, the 1st overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. Derek lived in a single parent home in a tough neighborhood but his Nigerian Mother taught him to be god fearing and focused on school, which helped him stay out of trouble.
His size naturally lead him to play basketball and at first it seemed like it would be a recreational past time. After meeting Coach Vidal, they began working together with our other coaches on his game. He soon came to understand his potential and Derek became extremely motivated to work hard to realize it. So, then began the process of transforming this young unknown boy into an elite athlete. It was fortuitous that Vidal resided in Atlanta during the school season and was thus soon able to facilitate moving Derek to Atlanta to live with his Father, a US citizen.
With Vidal’s guidance, Derek continued to work hard and transform himself. By his senior year, Derek became the third ranked player in Georgia and was ranked in the top 75 players in North America. He is now a leader and tremendous presence on the court, setting a record for rebounds in the state championship game being one of his outstanding accomplishments. Heavily recruited, Derek accepted a scholarship to the University of Georgia a top basketball school with strong academics. Derek has completed two seasons with Georgia, solidifying himself as one of the top rebounders in the SEC, including a 16 point, 10 rebound effort against the University of Kentucky this season.
Corey Johnson, Harvard University
Hailing from Ottawa, Ontario, Corey is the son of two basketball coaches and as a result was taught the fundamentals of basketball from an early age. While Corey was an accomplished and well regarded player who played on Provincial teams and in all-star games, he was passed up or ignored by other top AAU programs. When we first met Corey in his senior year at an all-star tournament of regional teams, he had no scholarship offers and was destined to play CIS basketball at one of the Ottawa area universities. Both schools have strong programs but Corey’s dream was to play Division I basketball.An excellent student, we felt that Corey had the skill and the basketball IQ to play at the Division I level – it didn’t hurt that he also had one of the smoothest shooting strokes we had seen. We invited Corey to become a member of our club and advised him to do a post-grad year at a highly-regarded school in New England, Vermont Academy. In Corey’s case, our job was to facilitate the continued development of his basketball skills and provide the exposure he needed to attract NCAA Division I coaches.
Corey was a dream team player – hard working, coachable, skilled and smart. And did I mention that he could shoot it! The outcome was spectacular and Corey’s accomplishments included: more than 40 Division I offers, member of the Nike Global Challenge Canadian team, selected to the All-Canadian High School All-Star game and winner of the 3-Point Shooting Contest, and member of Canada’s Junior Men’s National team competing at the World Championship level.
After helping Corey and his parents sort through and consider his many offers, he made the decision to attend Harvard to play basketball and continue his education. Corey is currently finishing up his sophomore season at Harvard, and has developed into a important player for the Crimson, starting a majority of games in both seasons and establishing himself as one of the best shooters in the Ivy League.
Duane Notice, University of South Carolina
Duane joined the Northern Kings family in 2012. A celebrated high school prospect from an early age, Duane worked closely with Vidal Massiah in the later stages of his high school career to help maximize his skill development and exposure. After a successful post-grad season at St. Thomas More, a prestigious prep school in New England, Duane decided to attend the University of South Carolina. Duane is currently a junior at South Carolina, and has become a key member for the Gamecocks, who have been consistently ranked in the top 25. Duane has playing experience with the Canadian Junior Men’s National team and remains involved with the Northern Kings program through his younger brother, Marcus Carr, who is a top 5 player in the Canadian Class of 2018.
Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga University
Jabari Craig, Eastern Carolina
Matt Atewe, University of Washington
Jake Babic, Appalachian State University
‘My time with the Northern Kings was one I’ll never forget. From the moment I met Coach Vidal and program manager Michael Simonetta, I knew this club would be a good fit. Coach Vi truly cares about the future of his kids, a rarity in the AAU circuit. Michael, Vidal and my other coaches gave me the opportunity to compete at the highest level AAU tournaments in front of hundreds of NCAA division 1 coaches. As a result of my time with the Northern Kings, I was able to accept a full scholarship to Appalachian State – a D1 school in North Carolina. The Northern Kings are a class organization and an even better support system, and I’m truly grateful for the relationships I maintain today and the opportunity to be apart of such a great program!- Jake Babic, Appalachian State University
Kareem South, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
– Kareem South, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
Sammy Ayisi, Queen’s University
– Sammy Ayisi, Queen’s University
Delon joined the Northern Kings and Drive for Dreams in the summer of 2014. A resident of Regent Park in downtown Toronto, crime and violence surrounded Delon as a youth, but his passion for sports helped him stay on the right path. After excelling in both football and basketball at the historic Eastern Commerce Collegiate in Toronto, Delon earned a scholarship to attend a private high school in California, with the help of Drive for Dreams Community Liason and former CFL Pro Karim Grant. Once in California, Delon’s 6’7, burly frame allowed him to shine on the gridiron, leading to scholarship offers from a variety of Division 1 suitors. In November, Delon signed a full athletic scholarship to play football at San Diego State in the prestigious PAC-12 Conference. An outgoing and charismatic individual, Delon is one of the most well-liked players we have had the pleasure of coaching and mentoring in our program. Delon was not only a key contributor on our AAU teams for three summers, but he also volunteered with youth camps and as a mentor for our younger players. Sports truly served as a tool for Delon to open doors to new opportunities and experiences and we are excited to see him suit up for San Diego State in the fall of 2017!
Eliel Nsoseme grew up in Kinshasa, the capital city of Congo. With the help of Northern Kings community liason Joe Kalonji, Eliel immigrated to Canada in the fall of 2016 with the hopes of attaining new educational and athletic opportunities. Growing up in Congo, Eliel had very little exposure to organized basketball, often playing on dirt and concrete, with makeshift baskets and balls. From the moment we met Eliel, it was obvious that he was a humble and kind-hearted kid, and with his lanky 6’9 frame, he was oozing with potential and had the work-ethic and attitude to match. After helping him navigate the visa process, Eliel joined our 17u AAU team last summer, and went from a complete unknown to a sensation, using his length and athleticism to earn over 25+ Scholarship offers from major NCAA division 1 schools. He was also invited to participate in the prestigious Adidas Nations Event in Los Angeles this summer. In the fall, Eliel signed a full scholarship to attend the University of Cincinnati, a perennial top 25 school in the NCAA. In just over a year’s time, Eliel went from playing without shoes on a dirt court in Kinshasa, to signing a full scholarship to one of the top universities in America! Eliel’s success is a testament to his humble, hard-working nature, and we are ecstatic for him to continue to thrive as a player and a student at Cincinnati in the fall of 2017!
Marcus Carr joined the Northern Kings program as a 7th grader. A phenom at a young age, Marcus took after his older brother, Duane Notice, establishing himself as one of the best young prospects in North America. After standout performances with the Kings on the AAU circuit and at Toronto powerhouse St. Mike’s, Marcus had earned himself a top 50 ranking in North America from various scouting services and numerous scholarship offers and interest. This led to a scholarship to attend Montverde Academy to complete high school, an elite Florida prep school that has produced over 25+ NBA Players. Unfortunately, shortly after arriving on campus at Montverde, Marcus suffered a basketball player’s worst nightmare, a torn ACL. Marcus facedsurgery and a long rehab process, and many of the schools that had expressed interest in him lost contact and his national ranking dropped. Under the guidance of Coach Vidal Massiah and with an incredible dedication to his rehab, Marcus worked hard to get back on the court and prepare himself both mentally and physically for his last summer of AAU basketball, determined to prove that he was still one of America’s top point guards. Marcus took the AAU circuit by storm in summer 2016, leading the Kings to a major tournament championship at the Adidas Invitational and several other high profile victories, along with being invited to Adidas Nations in Los Angeles. With many 30 and 40 point performances, along with his incredible leadership skills, Marcus attracted scholarship offers from some of the biggest schools in NCAA Basketball. In the fall, Marcus signed a full scholarship with the University of Pittsburgh in the ACC. He recently completed a fantastic senior year at Montverde Academy, where he helped lead Montverde to a tournament championship at the prestigious City of Palms and a #1 overall ranking in the U.S.A. Marcus’ leadership, dedication and work ethic has become the standard for which we hope to model our young Kings, and we are excited to see him suit up for Pittsburgh in the fall of 2017!
NORTHERN KINGS ALUMNI
D’Andre Bernard – University of North Florida
Corey Johnson – Harvard University
Derek Ogbeide – University of Georgia
Eric Rwahwire – UC Riverside
Miles Seward – University of Northern Colorado
Kareem South – Texas A&M Corpus Christi University
Osayende Omoregie – Concordia University St. Paul
Ryan Richmond – Bentley University
Jacques Lukusa – Hill Junior College
Russell Baker – Hill Junior College
Damiann Prehay – Talahasee Community College
Christian Williams – Sheridan Junior College
Kaion Grant – St. Francis Xavier University
Nick Morris – University of Toronto
Alex Otzyv – Western University
Nik Paradina – University of Toronto
Jake Babic – Appalachian State University
Jabari Craig -Eastern Carolina
Gavin Pearce – Northwest Kansas Tech Junior College
Connor Gilmore – McMaster University
Girece Kazumba – Cameron University
Tevin Bartley – Barton Community College
Tevin Bailey – Allen Community College | Cape Breton University
Gene Spagnuolo – York University
Sammy Ayisi – Queen’s University
Sage Usher – University of Toronto
Mike Simonetta – Western University
O’neil Halstead – York University
Kemar Alleyne – St. Mary’s University
Matt Atewe – Auburn University | Unviersity of Washington
Haboubacar Mutumbo – Western Carolina University
Duane Notice – University of South Carolina
Emmanuel Owootah – Fresno State University | Lynn University
Marko Pirovic – University of Maine
Tyler Stone – Howard University
James Sylvester – Northwest Kansas Tech Junior College | Coppin State University
Ravaughn Gayle – Central Arizona Junior College | University of New Brunswick
Kahleek Bakare-Whyte – Polk State Junior College
Josh Bell – Lakehead University
Michael Peterkin – McGill University
Simon Polan-Couillard – Wilfrid Laurier University
Kevin Pangos – Gonzaga University
Jaylen Babb-Harrison – Eastern Kentucky University
Manny Diressa – Tennessee Tech University | Ryerson University
Leon Alexander – Iowa Central Community College | McMaster University
Mike Lafricain – University of Ottawa
Aaron Best – Ryerson University
Juwon Grannum – Ryerson University
Rohan Boney – McMaster University
Adika Peter-Mcneilly – Clarendon Community College | Ryerson University
Denzel Lynch-Blair – Lakeland Community College | University of Winnipeg
TORONTO MISSION ALUMNI
Kingsley Costain – Pepperdine University
Pat Tatham – Cleveland State University
Steve Maclean – Canisius University
Silver Laku – Western Michigan University
Kyle Dodd – Eastern Michigan University
Jaan Montgomery – Binghamton University
Kaylan Anderson – University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee
Tyrone Mattison – Long Island University – Brooklyn
Branomir Zeko – University of New Hampshire
Jamie Vanderbeeken – University of Iowa
Papa Oppong – Eastern Kentucky University
Chretien Lukusa – Binghamton University
John House – Belmont University
Kyle Johnson – Long Island University – Brooklyn
Harouna Mutumbo – Western Carolina University
Adam Jespersen – University of Hawaii
Arnold Mayorga – Long Island University – Brooklyn
Tyler Murray – Wagner University
Keaton Cole – Western Carolina University
Nemanja Mitrovic – Portland University
Alex Hill – Cornell University
Taylor Johnson – Binghamton University