In seven years, the Ottawa Phoenix basketball program has come a long way. They have truly lived by their name and risen from the ashes. In order to understand how this bird took flight, you have to imagine some of the best athletes on the Ottawa basketball scene being made stronger, faster, and more knowledgeable about the game. Add to that accountability and responsibility to themselves, the program and the community. With this recipe you get the prototype Phoenix player.
Some of their original athletes were unknown and unwanted by other club team programs, but Coaches Adrienne Coddett and Andy Waterman had a vision that included just such a player.
Building on their success with the St. Patrick’s basketball program, Ottawa Phoenix Basketball sought to live by a simple motto that has continued to be the mantra of the program to this day – “Use basketball. Don’t let basketball use you!”
You hear this sentiment echoed in the words and actions of past and present Phoenix players. Basketball is a tool that can open up many opportunities and the Phoenix Basketball program has prepared their players to meet life’s challenges head on. Playing for Phoenix means that players are chal-lenged to do well not only on the court, but off it. Practices are rigorous. Games schedules are competitive.
It doesn’t end with that. There are long conversations on a variety of subject matters including community responsibility, academic preparation and planning, family involvement and support, manhood, history, career goals and personal aspirations to name a few. It’s all about breaking down bad habits to build up a new, stronger and more confident individual. “We coach up in order to prepare our players to play at the next level. Because of the training they have received at this level, I am confident that they can step into any college or university program and make immediate contributions,” says Andy Waterman.
The formula has worked well. There is plenty of evidence in the form of former Ottawa Phoenix players. Patrick and Michael Kearns are respective graduates from McGill and Concordia University. Rupert Nyaamine won a National College Championship while attending Humber College. Dion Williams graduated from St. Francis Xavier University and achieved a National Championship during his rookie season. Garry Gallimore is a three time member of the under 21 Canadian National basketball team. Edilson Silva graduated from Durham College and is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Ballerz Basketball Magazine. Jonathan Bell is a current member of the nationally ranked St. Francis Xavier University and former CCAA all-Canadian at Algonquin College. Ryan Bell and Jean Emmanuel Jean Marie were both CIS National Champions in 2004 while attending Carleton University.
The program’s crowning glory came last year at the CIS National Basketball Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the Championship game, five former Phoenix players, who have now moved on to the University level, were pitted against each other in a live, prime time, nationally televised, battle. The championship winning team, the Carleton Ravens had two of the more recent graduates of the program, Ryan Bell and Jean Emmanuel Jean Marie. The runner-up, St. Francis Xavier X–men had three of the early foundation players, Dion Williams, Jonathan Bell, and Garry Gallimore.
Ashitei Twins Loyalty Towards Ottawa Phoenix Basketball Club
With so many sponsorship deals, kids not having patience and friends wanting to stick together; the word Loyalty has become a lost art in today’s basketball world. It’s fair to say that there are very few programs nowadays that are lucky to have the chance of developing players from their first year of eligibility right through their last. It has become quite common for players to bounce around teams until they encounter one that meets all their immediate necessities. Nevertheless, like in most situations in life there will be some exceptions; and have people that will go against the norm, like many who have had the opportunity of playing for the Ottawa Phoenix basketball club.
Phoenix basketball program began in 1997 with the goal of providing for local youths from the area who wanted an opportunity to play basketball after the high school season was over. For about two years coaches Andy Waterman and Adrienne Coddett brainstormed on what shape and direction they thought would be best for the program. After the anticipating two years they came to the conclusion/ creation of the Ottawa Phoenix basketball club. From the very beginning Phoenix basketball goal was to provide young men with an opportunity to excel in their classroom and in the athletic arena. Decades later the organization continues to assist young basketball players on their voyage of discovery.
The club has done a phenomenal job of making players stick around throughout the years and now is recognized as one of the best basketball clubs in the city of Ottawa. They’ve helped develop star powers such as Garry Gallimore, Ishmael Kaba, Johnny Berhanemeskel, Jahenns Manigat and many more! They’ve had such an influence on players that guys like Jahenns Manigat who’s played four years for Division one basketball with Creighton Blue Jays and now for a pro team in Romania; has been going to the facility practically everyday to mentor the kids and tell them what it’s like to play college ball and professionally.
Two very special individuals who have followed the footsteps of other former Phoenix Alumni’s and demonstrated throughout their years with the program the definition of patience, hard work and loyalty. Soon to-be alumni’s of Phoenix basketball are the Ashitei twins, Shandon and Quintin. The twins have been great role-models for the younger generation of basketball players in Ottawa. They’ve not only stuck with Phoenix from beginning to end but they did it with class and are both leaving with tremendous amount of skills and character that will certainly benefit them in their next step as they prepare for University.
Their journey began in the summer of 2012. The twins grandpa woke them up one day and told them that he signed them up for this camp. The first thought was that they would attend the basketball camp for a week. It was the supposed to be the usual “fill a week of the summer” for the kids routine. At the end of camp, there were lots of hugs and thank you’s for a fun week of camp, and see you never goodbye’s.
The very next week of camp, the first two campers in the gym were Shandon and Quintin Ashitei! The (Twins) have been with Phoenix every since. Shandon and Quintin are now members of an elite group of Phoenix players who have competed in more than 150 games. The great accomplishment is a testament to Shandon and Quintin their loyalty and trust in our Ottawa Phoenix organization. Over their years, Shandon and Quintin have been approached about playing in other organizations. To their credit, they have stayed loyal to the program, and to our belief that ‘tradition never graduates.” Shandon and Quintin have now become veteran leaders and role models to our younger players and summer campers and have been classic examples of the fact that “you don’t change the message, the message changes you.”
Coming into high school the Ashitei twins we’re heavily underrated. After both getting cut from their local OBA team they’ve played with a chip on their shoulder ever since. When the first Phoenix AAU travel team was made the Ashiteti twins we’re finally selected, participating in their first club team. They both stated that “It was tough!” so tough, that in fact most people quit the team that year. And now, the twins are the only two remaining players on Phoenix that started back in 2012. Despite the tough years they’ve managed to stick through it and now have surpassed many of the players that we’re ranked above them as they entered high school. Now the twins will be bringing the hard earned loyalty to the university level. Their recruiting process has been quite interesting as they come as a package deal. They’ve both stated that whatever school wants one brother has to take the other as well. They’ve gotten over five university offers have kept their grades up all their high school career. They came to the program as young boys and are leaving as young men!
In the end the twins decided to attend Nipissing Lakers where they’ve received the Schulich Scholarship from Nipissing University! The Schulich is an academic scholarship based on their top four grade 12 marks and their commitment to community volunteer work.
Their coach Andy Waterman stated:
“It has been a pleasure to be able to work closely with Shandon, Quintin and their family. We have also been fortunate to be involved in so many aspects of the boys lives, from birthdays, international tours, huge tournament wins to endless hours traveling the highways and byways and Eastern Canada and the United States. The (Twins) have now carved out their own identities in the long Phoenix storyline. Along the way they have become Shandon and Q. They have helped usher in the next phase of Phoenix ball. I look forward to the next episode for Shandon and Q.” Concluded coach Waterman.
“The future is so bright, you gotta wear shades”
Canadian 2018 Simi Shittu victimizes EYBL defender
Canadian five star 2018 forward Simi Shittu victimizes EYBL defender with this ridiculous one hand slam over a poor defender.