Wilguens Exacte Jr. will not be heading to college for 2 extra years. However at 16 years previous, some main U.S. faculty basketball packages are already bidding for his providers.

In June, George Mason College in Fairfax, Va. provided the younger Montrealer a full athletic scholarship.

“I used to be actually excited and I used to be actually grateful due to the truth that it was my very first provide. I have been working laborious,” Exacte Jr. stated.

Whereas it is not extraordinary for 16-year-olds to be courted by NCAA Division I packages, it is also not one thing that occurs daily — particularly for gamers who develop up in Quebec.

Exacte Jr. is a product of the Solar Youth basketball program. And it would not harm that he is 6-6 and nonetheless rising.

“Three years in the past, we realized that he was going to be particular,” says Rodney Skerritt, Solar Youth’s basketball co-ordinator.

Wilguens Exacte Jr. says Solar Youth gave him the chance to appreciate his basketball desires. (Joseph Munro/Solar Youth)

“It is like successful the lottery whenever you get a child that loves the sport, is athletic, works laborious in class, listens to his coach, is an efficient son, is an efficient brother. When all of the bins are checked it solely occurs each 7 to 10 years.”

Skerrit believes George Mason’s provide would be the first of many for his younger protege as a result of now that one college has stepped up, others will take discover.

“Most of these youngsters do not come round too typically,” he stated.

A want to compete towards one of the best

Exacte Jr. needed to be a soccer participant till he met his cousin Gandhi Jacques when he was seven years previous.

“He advised me that at your measurement, you should not be taking part in soccer. Try to be taking part in both basketball or soccer,” Exacte Jr. stated.

“He is the rationale why I fell in love with basketball. He put the ball in my fingers, I respect him.”

School recruiters started to take discover of Exacte Jr. when he was 14 years previous after he participated in a basketball camp in Toronto.

Ishan Aksel, an amature videographer, noticed him on the ground and determined to chop collectively a spotlight bundle of the participant and posted it on Instagram.

Exacte Jr. says the video created a number of buzz and helped to safe a suggestion to take part within the John Lucas Elite Invitational Basketball Camp in Houston, Texas final summer season.

It gave him the chance to check his expertise towards a few of the prime gamers in the USA.

His efficiency proved to coaches he was a authentic Division I prospect and the expertise served to feed his personal rising starvation to problem himself.

“That is what I am all about, to compete towards one of the best. I acquired an opportunity to try this. I simply beloved the expertise over there and the mentality over there. It was a very actually good expertise for me,” Exacte Jr. stated.

The younger participant is now considering his subsequent step. He says he has affords to play at prep colleges in the USA, and whereas that will usually be his first alternative, the uncertainty round subsequent season because of the COVID-19 pandemic has him additionally contemplating taking part in in Ontario or regionally at Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf.

Montreal basketball manufacturing unit

Skerritt says Exacte Jr. is the most recent instance of Montreal’s rising popularity for cultivating high-end basketball expertise.

Past present NBA gamers from Montreal akin to Khem Birch, Chris Boucher and Luguentz Dort — who present younger gamers that making it to the massive leagues is feasible — Skerritt says there’s a rising group of Montrealers who did not go professional however performed within the NCAA.

He says they’re utilizing their connections to elevate up the subsequent technology.

“They’re giving again to their communities, which helps and producing extra youngsters which might be going additional,” Skerritt stated.

Rodney Skerritt, Solar Youth’s basketball co-ordinator, says Montreal’s popularity for creating nice gamers is rising 12 months by 12 months. ( Joseph Munro/Solar Youth)

Maurice Joseph is one instance. He is a Montrealer who performed within the NCAA at Michigan State and Vermont, and is now the assistant coach at George Mason.

“Wherever Maurice goes, he retains his hometown on his coronary heart and he at all times seems out for his guys out right here,” Skerritt stated.

Exacte Jr. says he is excited to go to George Mason and communicate with Joseph as soon as cross-border journey is permitted once more. He plans to make his choice on the place he’ll play subsequent 12 months earlier than the tip of the month.

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