The Toronto Pan Am Sports Center and West Hill Collegiate sit within each other’s shadows in East Scarborough but for Kevon Parchment the journey between buildings has taken him across a continent.
The 26 year-old Parchment’s basketball journey started at the age of five when he landed in Scarborough from his native Jamaica – a time when Vince Carter was mesmerizing the National Basketball Association and Canadian sporting public. For young impressionable athletes, like Parchment, the phenomena of Vinsanity, that was unfolding in his own back yard, had consumed him 24/7. “I grew up watching Vince Carter and he really inspired me to play basketball,” announced Parchment who spent many an hour mimicking his hometown hero’s trademark moves on the outdoor parks of the Mornelle Court housing complex.
Basketball became very serious for Parchment as he quickly grew into his athletic 6”3”frame. There was only one place he wanted to play – a high school within a stone’s throw from home with a rich basketball tradition. “West Hill Collegiate was the school I always wanted to go to growing up,” he announced. “Great players like Denham Brown and Jevon Shepard (both Canadian Internationals) played at West Hill and it was a good experience for me as we had a really good team,” he stated. In addition to impressing college scouts throughout his high school tenure Parchment attached himself to the Jamba Cats – an east end Toronto REP team created by former NBA player Jamaal Magloire
American College basketball came calling for Parchment’s talents and he eventually landed at Tallahassee Community College in Florida where he red-shirted during his first season. He admitted that his time at the JUCO school was invaluable but he eventually returned to Canadian soil transferring to Lakeland College in Alberta where he led the Rustlers to a perfect 20-0 season. During his tenure playing and excelling in CCAA ball he entertained several offers to migrate to a Canadian University. After one visit to the University of the Fraser Valley, with its picturesque campus in Abbotsford, British Columbia, the talented guard was convinced that he wanted to relocate to the West Coast where he could play ball and gain a valuable University Degree. Parchment helped the Cascades establish themselves as a legitimate CIS Western power, capturing Conference Championship and in 2002 and 2004. During his four seasons at UFV he cemented himself as one of the team’s most versatile performers, not only being a leading point getter but also impacting games blocking shots and rebounding. After maxing out his CIS eligibility,while garnishing a Degree in Kinesiology, Parchment was ready to write a new chapter in his life.
The Canadian Basketball League came calling and he was invited to play professional basketball for his home town. Garrett Kelly, the Head Coach of Scarborough, has been impressed with Parchment’s engine as well as his desire to get better. “He has a special skill, he is capable of playing harder than other players,” announced Kelly of the young Canadian. “It sounds cliché, Kevon has an extra gear that he operates at that allows him to chase down rebounds and loose balls, and defend well,” added Kelly who has inserted his home town player into critical game time situations.
The eventual goal for Kevon Parchment is to open his own clinic with a physiotherapist, chiropractic and message therapist. But for now he is primarily focused on entertaining basketball fans at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre where he is enjoying a basketball homecoming.
Canadian Basketball League: The Encore
After a tried and tested inaugural campaign the Canadian Basketball League readies for a second season.
There are many adjectives to describe Butch Carter. The Founder and General Partner of the Canadian Basketball League (CBL) has been described as being determined. Others who have rubbed shoulders with him have described him as being relentless. But there is one thing for certain about a man who is on a mission to see a professional development basketball league thrive on Canadian soil. He is certainly not a ‘ one and done’ type of fellow. He is not aborting his journey to see the CBL find a niche within Canada’s dynamic and ever changing sports landscape.
Prior to the inaugural CBL season Carter came armed with concepts from years of research as well as dialogue within the basketball and business communities. This summer he brings a year of first hand experiences after a season of trials and tribulations from four trailblazing franchises within the CBL’s single entity blueprint.
Carter is a firm believer that the league was very professional in how they set things up for the players. “Our living accommodation for players were very good and I think that players liked the way games were handled and set up,” he explained.
The league invested a great deal of its resources and energy into the television product and Carter was not disappointed. “Our partnership with YES TV was a resounding success,” he proclaimed. “Our Numeris ratings for our three products (CBL in 30, live CBL games and CBL in 30 -post game in Alberta) reached 300,000 people,” he added. Carter is hopeful that he will be able to broadcast 10-12 games throughout the 2017/18 season.
Although he noted that the talent level was better than anticipated he reported that he would like to retain 20 players from last season while adding an additional 15 young talented players to last season’s pool. He admitted that; “because we started late with funding last year there were about 15 players who shouldn’t have been in the league.” CBL teams will be holding as many as 20 tryouts in Canada and in the United States with the hope of inviting a talented pool of players to a super camp where roster spots will be finalized. He is hopeful that the G-league’s (Formerly the D-League) new rule prohibiting players without NCAA D1 experience from playing in the G-league unless they have FIBA experience will entice some players to the CBL. He is steadfast in the quality of player he saw during the first season. “I don’t think we have an NBA player but we have a couple of guys who have the length and I Q to give themselves a chance,” he announced.
Garrett Kelly (Scarborough) and Mark Anderson (Hamilton) will be returning for their second seasons as head coaches while Milt Palacio is looking at new challenges in the NBA’s G-League. But Carter reports that in March he assumed a new role within the NBA where he is responsible for mentoring retired NBA players who are looking to move into coaching. Under the NBA’s new collective agreement 14 former NBA players must be hired by the league as interns. Carter has identified potential new coaching candidates for league vacancies extending his search to such places as Portland, Oregon and Halifax, Nova Scotia. He believes that Garrett Kelly has set the bar pretty high in his expectations of what a young coach can bring to the league and he is confident that Kelly will some day be headed to greener pastures.
Carter admitted that the long gap in time between the end of last season and the tip off for next season has been problematic. Many CBL players have expressed concern over the lack of information passed their way regarding their future in the league during the off season. Many CBL players , however, are locked up by two year contracts. Carter fully understands that one of the shortcomings of the league is the lack of a training facility based in Southern Ontario to offer players off season training or the lack of a trainer to travel to each player’s home town to offer a training regiment. He sees this connection as being paramount for player development – especially those interested in trying out in the in the G-league.
Carter’s improved relationships with facility managers throughout the CBL’s four existing markets should result in a seamless return to the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre in Scarborough , the Guelph Griffin Athletic Centre , the Campus Recreation Centre at UOIT and the David Braley Athletic Centre at Mohawk College. He reports that the TPASC in Scarborough, a facility that he describes as being “world class”, has even asked him to bring in two teams. He describes the Durham Region as being an area of significant growth and a region where the league needs to increase its focus.
Expansion is not out of the realm of possibilities for the CBL as Carter is confident that a fifth team will appear in Ontario for the 2017/18 season. But he envisions Western Canada ripe for a new CBL conference down the road. He describes provinces west of Ontario as being facility rich with several new builds among CWUAA schools.
On March 18 the champagne was flowing at the Guelph Griffins Athletic’s Centre after Scarborough captured the first CBL crown. But for Butch Carter and the rest of the CBL thinks tank the encore will be far more important than the prelude.
Troy Taylor: The Hammer’s New Talisman
Hamilton United’s Troy Taylor is always a blur when he steps onto the court. He is lightning quick and a physical specimen unrivalled in the Canadian Basketball League. He is a player who would run through a brick wall for his team and the wall would come out second best. But it has been Taylor’s basketball savvy away from the hardwood, not just his physicality, that caught the attention of CBL Founder and General Partner Butch Carter.
Taylor enjoyed a distinguished NCAA Division 1 career at the University of
where he completed four productive years as the floor general, leading the Purple Aces through the competitive Missouri Valley Conference. The highlight of his university career came in his senior year when the Purple Aces made it through to the semi-finals of the CIT tournament.
It was, however, the time after his College playing days had concluded that the Indiana native’s basketball life had reinvented itself. It was a time away from the glitz and pageantry of being a D1 athlete Stateside when he took stock in his other strengths. Pining for the opportunity to play ball beyond college Taylor joined a group of local players to play for the Anderson Legends – a semi- professional outfit named after Kojack Fuller, a legendary local high school coach. Taylor was not just the team’s point guard but he was responsible for marketing the team and forging relationships with the Anderson community. Like many small American cities, Anderson and its shrinking population of 55,000 is a community in flux. Having lost General Motors, its main employer, several years ago the city had fallen on challenging times. The Legends, however, were an instant hit and the local community embraced the team and the fact that they represented one of the city’s major exports- high school basketball players.
“They were filling high school gyms here for a summer”, explained local Sports Editor George Bremer who has covered sports in Anderson for decades. “It was really fun and a chance for fans to see local kids playing together at a high level”, he added. Bremer reported that the team didn’t disappoint, winning most of their games with scores that consistently surpassed 100. “Troy basically ran the marketing of the team and it was a real grassroots operation that resonated throughout the community,” Bremer reported to CBLinsider.
Although the Legends didn’t affiliate themselves with any league Taylor reported that the team regularly invited teams from other leagues to their gym for a series of exhibition games. The outcomes of the games usually favored the Legends ,including victories over teams from the ABA, UBA and CBA. The results subsequently led to invitations by rivals for the Legends to join their leagues.
It was a year before the CBL bounced its first Molten ball when the 27 year old crossed paths with Butch Carter and ever since they have fostered a mutual respectful relationship. Taylor admitted that he had a lucrative offer to play in Lithuania but has no regrets that he has been a pioneer with the CBL, making the trek from basketball-rich Indiana to what many fondly refer to as ‘The Hammer’ and Southern Ontario. “I see a lot of him (Butch Carter) in me, he’s a hard worker, I understand his vision and I like being around guys like that,” explained Taylor who will be entering the second year of a two year contract with the CBL. “It’s a great opportunity and it’s more than just the money, it’s about relationships,” he added.
He described the inaugural CBL season as being “solid” in many ways. “I was treated really well as were the other players, the money was always deposited in our accounts on time or early and I like the guys I played with in Hamilton”, he announced. Taylor was also able to network with local Hamilton businesses, securing some minor sponsorships for the team.
During the off season Taylor has been assisting league officials with their talent evaluations as it has been a primary goal of all involved with the league to have the best talent scouted before the league tips off in December. He recently joined CBL Director of Operations Garrett Kelly and Mark Anderson, his coach from Hamilton, to look at a small group of prospects who gathered in Pittsburgh. Kelly believes that the Anderson, Indiana native has a “good mind for the game” and is quickly learning the business side of the league. It is this side of the game of basketball that Taylor embraces. “I love all the behind the scenes stuff,” he explained.
Although a head coaching position does not appeal to Taylor as his primary goal in basketball he admitted that he has been spending some of his off season helping train members of the Indiana Fever of the WNBA. “I watched enough tape as a player, I don’t want to watch it again as a coach,” he proclaimed.
For Troy Taylor he has no regrets about joining the Canadian Basketball League, believing that he is well positioned in the future as his relationship with the CBL and his shared vision with Butch Carter will pay long term dividends. “I love what I’m doing and I have been put in a great position,” he stated emphatically.
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