Tomlinson heads west
Jahson Tomlinson appears ready to make the jump to the next level of basketball.
The 17-year-old, Grade 12 student at Ridley College has committed to the MacEwan University Griffins and Ridley head coach Tarry Upshaw is confident the Pickering native will be able to make the transition to the university game.
“He can play multiple positions,” Upshaw said. “He’s athletic and he can guard and really rebound and defend. Right away, defensively he’s going to be able to get on the floor.”
Upshaw also noted Tomlinson is willing to put in the time to improve.
“He’s a hard worker, he has to work on his jumper but understands that. He lifts and runs, he’s athletic. He’ll have a chance to dunk on guys if they’re not ready.
“He understands how to play. He understands concepts. He is a worker and is always asking how he can get better.”
Upshaw tipped off Griffins head coach Mike Connolly about Tomlinson.
“Coach (Connolly) reached out to me and started watching my tapes and decided to offer me a scholarship,” Tomlinson said.
Tomlinson appreciated the offer, but still kept his options open with the University of Prince Edward Island and the University of British Columbia Okanagan also in the running.
“It boiled down to three and they (MacEwan) had the highest offer,” Tomlinson said. “(I liked) their facility and the vibe that I got from the coach with his team philosophy, so I decided to go with MacEwan.”
Tomlinson, who will study business, feels he will have the opportunity to earn significant playing time quickly at the Edmonton school.
“It’s a young team. All the seniors graduated so he said I have a good chance of playing immediately and making an impact,” Tomlinson said.
The Griffins play in the Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference (ACAC), against 16 other post-secondary institutions in Alberta as well as in the Canada West conference of U Sports.
“It’s going to be a challenge. I’m playing against players who are 24 and I’m going to be 18. I’ve been playing against older players from my Pine Ridge days, but it will be an adjustment.”
Connolly feels the 6-foot-6 small forward/wing will fit nicely with the Griffins men’s basketball program.
“Jahson will allow us to have different looking line-ups on the floor as needed,” Connolly said in a story posted on the school’s website. “He’s an athletic wing who can defend several positions but also has the diversity to play several positions on offence.
“He is a quality player who will have an immediate impact on our team, but more importantly Jahson is of quality character and he excels in the classroom.”
Tomlinson joined the Tigers this season after winning an OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations) provincial championship with Pine Ridge Secondary in his hometown in 2019.
“I was looking to just go to a place where I could grow, work out more, and be on a schedule,” Tomlinson said.
Tomlinson didn’t get a chance to suit up for the Tigers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s been very difficult. It’s been my last year in high school so I really wanted to play and put on a show for my year. At least we get to practice, most teams don’t even get to practice. I’m pretty grateful for that.”
Tomlinson has an impressive background, including playing in the Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) with Toronto-based Nike Bounce Canada in 2018-19.
“Going to the States is definitely a wake up call for a lot of Canadian players,” Tomlinson said. “We may think we’re the best but when we go into the States, there is always a bigger fish.
“They’re bigger and stronger, frankly.”
Tomlinson is eager to head to Alberta in September, the COVID pandemic notwithstanding.
“I’m looking forward to it, definitely.”
It’s time to win with BPSN!
To entice readers to make a donation to our site, we have come up with a contest.
BPSN is offering four prizes to anyone who makes a donation to our site, regardless of the amount. In addition, anyone who has made a contribution to our site in the past three months will also be entered in the contest. The contest will run until March 1 at midnight. At that time, four names will be randomly selected and contacted as the winners.
Thanks to Jeff Chcoski at the Niagara Brew Club for generously donating a Free Batch of Wine, 30 bottles, valued at $135 while Dan Timmins at Big Red Markets in Thorold has donated a $100 gift certificate.
As well, the Niagara IceDogs have donated a framed, autographed picture of Akil Thomas scoring the golden goal for Canada at the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championships while the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games have donated a hoody.
Just hit the Support Us button located halfway down the right-hand side of our home page or the yellow Support Us button located at the top of each story to make your donation and be eligible to win.