Our next Feature Friday is Drew Ebanks. Drew runs On Point Basketball, a basketball media and lifestyle website that features prominent basketball personalities from across Canada and around the world. On Point’s mission is to uplift the basketball community both in Canada and abroad through our production of high-quality video and written basketball content. Read as we ask Drew about upcoming talent in Canada, the importance of traction when playing on the court and where his love of the game stems from.
Q: First off, congratulations on the publication’s nine-year anniversary coming up this August. What you’ve done for Canadian basketball to date is remarkable and I’m excited for the future of On Point. Things have slowed down in the basketball world due to the pandemic. What have you learned during this time off?
DREW: Thanks for the kind words guys. It's been a great journey so far and we feel that we're really only scratching the surface as far as our potential. This pandemic has kind of been a rebirth for us as far as our mentality and outlook on the basketball scene and future of the sport in this country. We've had to deal with a major slowdown in our business and revenues due to the lack of events and competition. So, we've used this time to re-tool and add key pieces to our teams in marketing, sponsorships, content creation and sales. We have positioned ourselves to hit the ground running once basketball can be played again.
Q: Let's take it back to the beginning. How did you get into basketball? Was there a particular player or person or team that you idolized growing up?
DREW: Basketball has been in my blood since middle school days… when I didn't make the team at Lawrence Heights in Toronto. There was so much talent there which was hard to overcome. I used that setback as motivation to become a perennial All-Star in high school after we moved up to Vaughan from Toronto. I went on to play one year at York University at the point guard position. My absolute favourite players were Magic Johnson and then Michael Jordan. To this day when I play in leagues, I always wear the number 32 of the Magic Man. The "Showtime Lakers" squads were the ultimate team to watch when I was coming up! Jordan's Bulls were incredible as well.
Q: As a Canadian basketball die-hard, you’re obviously a Toronto Raptor fan. Where were you when Kawhi Leonard hit “The Shot” and how did you react? What was the most memorable moment of that championship run?
DREW: I remember it vividly. I was at a friend's house watching the game and when he took the shot, it seemed like the world stood still. Bounce, bounce, bounce and in! I almost hit the roof when it dropped down and in and we all jumped up in absolute joy and a sense of relief to get past Philly. The Shot will be a tremendous moment in Toronto and Canadian sports history, like Joe Carter's homerun for the Blue Jays. It was one of the best moments in my life
Q: Staying on the topic of Canadian basketball, the talent pool in Canada is continuing to grow. On Point has done an incredible job highlighting local youth athletes across the nation. We know there are a lot, but can you name a few to watch out for?
DREW: Oh for sure... there are tons of talented Canadian kids in the pipeline. In the men’s department Elijah Fisher is a big one. He's got all the skills to be something special. Caleb Houstan is heading to Michigan, Shaedon Sharpe is one of the top athletes on the planet and Ryan Nembhard is the younger brother of Gonzaga PG Andrew Nembhard. Zaiden Cross, Enoch Boakye and on and on and on.
For the ladies, Latasha Lattimore and Shayeann Day-Wilson will be at Syracuse in the fall. Emma Koabel (Duke commit) and Lemyah Hylton are next level high school players and will be doing it big in the NCAA in the near future.
Q: Now, let’s get a bit technical. How important is shoe traction while training and playing ball on the courts?
DREW: Lot of times when you're playing you just need a bit more traction to get by your defender, or hustle back on defense. I've had the pleasure of using Cross-Odor and it's all that and then some. It's a great product to throw in your gym bag so you can spray it on before you hit the court. I'd recommend Cross-Odor for any serious baller looking to gain a competitive advantage on and off the court.
Q: You’re one of the busiest people on the basketball scene in Canada. You always have new projects launching. What’s next for On Point Basketball?
DREW: Yeah, busy like a beaver as always! I'm always thinking three steps ahead. We love our newly re-designed website. We're also looking forward to diving into the realm of social media management for some of our clients. We recently received NCAA certification for On Point Scouting which we're very excited about. We also have a great new competition platform called "Show N Prove" which will see players compete against their peers in 3-point shooting, skills, free throw shooting and pro-style drills as well as virtual competitions. We're also pumped about the restart of our Men's Recreational League, the On Point Free Agent League as well as our Prep Circuit, the NSC Platinum. I wish there were 36 hours in each day.
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