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The North Pole Hoops Podcast

The North Pole Hoops Podcast

By NorthPoleHoops
Follow us on IG: @Northpolehoops and the host Jason Thom on Twitter @_Jasonthom

Programming of The NorthPoleHoops Podcast will tackle hot topics in Canadian basketball, while featuring special guests including players, coaches, program directors and industry professionals.

North Pole Hoops is a Canadian Basketball media, marketing and scouting organization designed to provide a pathway and support for homegrown talent coast to coast. This partnership will further strengthen the organization’s mission to develop the game on and off the hardwood.
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Episode 19: Jamie McNeilly and Canadian club basketball talk with Efe Ashakah
Host Jason Thom welcomes TCU Assistant Coach Jamie McNeilly who talks about his 10+ years coaching in the NCAA and his time with the Canadian Men's Basketball program including winning a U19 World Cup Gold Medal.  McNeilly also talks about why helping the next wave of Canadian coaches and players is so important to him, while also retelling his experience with Hurricane Katrina as a student athlete at the University of New Orleans.  NPH Lead Scout Efe Ashakaha also joins the show to talk about the return of club basketball in Canada.
August 16, 2021
Episode 17: Marcus Carr, Winta Desta and Efe Ashakah reviews the NBA Draft
Newest Texas Longhorn Marcus Carr joins host Jason Thom to talk about his journey through the NCAA to this point, coach and registered physiotherapist Winta Desta talks about female coaches and the differences of coaching young men.  NPH Lead Scout Efe Ashakah checks in to recap the 2021 NBA Draft.
August 12, 2021
Episode 18: Justin Jackson and NBA Summer League with Efe Ashakah
Host Jason Thom talks with G League Champion Justin Jackson, who joins from NBA Summer League to talk about his path through Canadian basketball and why it's important for him to give back to the basketball community back home.  While Efe Ashakah checks in to talk about Canadians in the NBA Summer League.
August 11, 2021
Episode 16: Canadian Senior Women's National Team Special
Just before the start of the competition schedule for Canada's Senior Women's National Team at the Tokyo Olympics, host Jason Thom revisits interviews with team veterans Miranda Ayim and Kayla Alexander, along with Head Coach Lisa Thomaidis.
July 30, 2021
Episode 15: Lindell Wigginton, Keevan Veinot and Bryson Johnson
It's an all Nova Scotia episode with Lindell Wigginton and Keeven Veinot of the CEBL's Hamilton Honey Badgers talking about their different paths to this point.  Lindell talks about how much undiscovered talent there is in his home province which included Keevan Veinott, who has exploded onto the scene as an AUS Athlete of the Year and now in his first pro season coming out of a village of just 1,200 people in Port Williams, NS.  Then it's fellow scotian Bryson Johnson who played four years in Division-1 basketball with Bucknell University before getting into the coaching ranks first with George Mason University and now as an assistant with the University of Vermont.  Host Jason Thom speaks to Johnson about the misconceptions of the different levels of post secondary basketball in the US and Canada.
July 21, 2021
Episode 14: Canada Basketball Men's Program
Host Jason Thom recaps Canada's Senior Men's National Team missing out on the Tokyo Olympics and suggests a new plan going forward.  North Pole Hoops CEO Tariq Sbiet gives his opinion on the program and what is needed going forward.  While NPH Lead Scout Efe Ashakah shares his thoughts on the U19 Mens Team that recently won a bronze medal at the 2021 U19 FIBA Men's World Cup.
July 14, 2021
Episode 13: Efe Ashakah Canada U19 Preview, Michael Linklater, Abu Kigab
Canada Basketball’s Senior Men’s team is back on the court on home soil as they attempt to qualify for the Olympics which is less than a month a win. Canada is two wins away from winning their qualifier in Victoria while the men’s U19 team is also starting up their schedule in Latvia at the U19 FIBA World Cup. North Pole Hoops Lead Scout Efe Ashakah joins host Jason Thom to talk about both competitions including who to watch for in the younger age group. Abu Kigab saw last season come to an early end due to a shoulder injury but will be able to return to Boise State for another season due to the NCAA granting all players another year due to Covid. Abu looks to make the most of the opportunity and also looks back at playing an integral role on the U19 FIBA World Cup Gold Medal winning team which turned into a full circle moment for him and his family. Michael Linklater is Canada’s most decorated Indigenous basketball player and now is using his platform to help use the sport to uplift aboriginal youth in his hometown of Saskatoon. With more news coming out daily about the atrocities surrounding the Canadian residential school system, Linklater joins host Jason Thom to help explain the issues and oppression facing the Indigenous people of Canada to help educate people as to why they need to pay attention to what is being reported. (WARNING: some of what you hear may be disturbing to viewers)
July 03, 2021
Episode 12: Canada Basketball talk, Melvin Ejim, Lisa Thomaidis
With the Canada Basketball SMNT about to tipoff their Olympic Qualifier, the U19 team a week away from competition and some of our Canadians working their way through the draft process, North Pole Hoops lead scout Efe Ashakah makes his podcast debut to break it all down!  Follow Efe on Twitter: @Eshakah Jason Thom then talks to Canada Basketball veteran Melvin Ejim just days before he was forced to withdraw his name from the roster of players involved in the Victoria Olympic qualifier.  Ejim speaks about what representing Canada means to him and why he appreciates the role as mentor for the younger players involved in the program. Then we are joined by Senior Women's National Team Head Coach Lisa Thomaidis about the recent Americup tournament, the growth of women's basketball on the worldwide stage and here at home in Canada.  The SWNT will be adding three WNBA players to their roster as they prepare for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo.
June 28, 2021
Episode 11: Amidou Bamba, K. Braeden Anderson, Kemy Osse
Host Jason Thom talks with Guelph Nighthawks forward Amidou Bamba about why is playing in the CEBL, what it took to win a U19 FIBA World Cup gold medal and why perfecting the position of role player on a basketball team should be celebrated at all levels!  As a financial major in the NCAA, Amidou also speaks on the need for financial literacy to be taught at an early age, especially for student athletes. Then it's first men's basketball player to become a lawyer while still playing collegiate basketball.  Braeden Anderson who has one of the most unique and interesting paths in Canadian basketball history.  From being homeless in a small town in Alberta; to the prep school scene in the US; to the University of Kansas; Fresno State; then Seton Hall.  But it a life-altering car accident that made him change his perspective of the value of his basketball scholarship that he now wants to share for student athletes to help them gain a new perspective from the path he has walked already. We finish with Saskatchewan Rattlers guard Kemy Osse about the CEBL Summer Series, how the team hopes to bounce back this season and what the new CEBL franchise in Montreal will mean to the city.  Kemy also talks about his neighbourhood of Parc Ex and how he brings that environment everywhere he plays.
June 28, 2021
Episode 10: Mike Morreale, Jonathan Kabongo, Dejan Kravic
A current builder in Canadian basketball, a player who had to walk away from the game in his prime and someone who almost gave it up but has now made history across the world.   Host Jason Thom speaks with CEBL Commissioner Mike Morreale about the challenges the league has faced since starting up 3-years ago and why advocating for the sport of basketball is needed now more than ever. Then Jonathan Kabongo talks about being forced into retirement at 20yo due to injuries and the advice he has for young players to ensure they are ready for life after basketball.  Jon released his first album on his 22nd birthday (June 11th 2021) which can be found on his Instagram @jon.kabongo Finally, it's Dejan Kravic whose basketball journey took him from USports, to the NCAA, to three BCL Championships and a return to Serbia, the country his family left to settle in Canada for a better life.
June 28, 2021
Episode 9: Kayla Alexander, Duane Notice, Dylan Ennis
Host Jason Thom is joined by three current professional Canada basketball players.  Kayla Alexander's love for basketball has led her around the world to experience things she never would have imagined.  It has been so inspiring, that she wrote and illustrated a kids book called 'The Magic of Basketball' with her younger sister.  Now, Kayla has her eyes set on the Olympics with Team Canada to add another chapter to her amazing basketball story.  For more on Kayla and to order her book visit: Duane Notice is rehabbing from an achilles injury that he suffered during a pandemic.  But he has words of advice on how to make it through tough times and that both he and his brother Marcus Carr have experienced through their life.  Notice expects to return to the floor with the Hamilton Honey Badgers of the CEBL this season. After a collegiate career that spanned six years and three teams, Dylan Ennis is now thriving professionally overseas while building a family that is as worldly as he is.  Ennis joins host Jason Thom from Spain to talk about his path through basketball and around the world.
June 28, 2021
Episode 8: Miranda Ayim on the SWNT and her pro career and Kevin Pangos on EuroLeague success and the importance of family
This week Jason Thom brings listeners two more outstanding people in the world of Canadian hoops. First, Miranda Ayim joins the show to talk about going out a champion in the French league, retiring from her professional career, trials and tribulations in Turkey, taking care of the body and mind, Canada basketball growth, women's basketball growth, mental health, the Canadian SWNT and more! Second, Kevin Pangos talks about playing in the top leagues in Europe and Russia, his daughter and wife, Gran Canaria, Lithuania, fun Gonzaga stories, injuries, handling the pandemic, the Canadian National team, his basketball journey and much more!
May 30, 2021
Episode 7: Tamara Tatham on the growth of the Canadian SWNT, Carly Clarke on preparing for the Olympics and Grant Shephard on why he chose U Sports over the NCAA
This week host Jason Thom is joined by three more fantastic guests. First, Tamara Tatham joins the show to talk about taking over the head coaching job at U of T, her open tryout that led to her making Canada's Senior Women's National Team, mental health, recruiting, growing Canada's women's program, her family and much more! Next, Ryerson Rams head coach and Canadian Senior Women's National Team assistant coach Carly Clarke talks about the impact of COVID-19 on U Sports, WNBA growth, women's basketball coaching hires in U Sports, WNBA Expansion to Toronto, heading to Tampa for Olympic training camp, heading to Tokyo and much more! And finally, New Carleton Raven and former UBC Thunderbird Grant Shephard explains why he chose U Sports over the NCAA despite having multiple offers, COVID-19's impact on training, the U Sports CEBL experience, motivation this year in the CEBL, the U Sports vs NCAA debate, how to grow U Sports, U-19 world cup gold with Canada Basketball and much more!
May 23, 2021
Episode 6: Jasman Sangha on earning a NCAA D1 scholarship, Adika Peter-McNeilly on the CEBL and 3x3 Olympic Basketball and Dr.Julian Clarke on his path from Mr. Basketball Canada to Neurosurgery
This week host Jason Thom is joined by three more fantastic guests. First, the new Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi commit Jasman Sangha on earning a division one scholarship, representing his family, Indian basketball players, the Peel Region and much more! Then, Former Ryerson Rams men's basketball star Adika Peter-McNeilly explains the transition to 3 on 3 basketball, how Olympic qualifying is going, playing U Sports, JUCO basketball, representing Scarborough and much more! Finally, the 2010 Mr. Basketball Canada Julian Clarke joins the show to talk about his journey from Canadian basketball standout to now medical school graduate and future neurosurgeon. Clarke also explains how his time at Santa Clara and the University of Toronto as a student-athlete helped prepare him to succeed in academia once his basketball career was over.
May 16, 2021
Episode 5: Aislinn Konig on trying out for the WNBA and SWNT Olympics, Kyle Julius on growing the game in Canada and Asia and Jack Armstrong on Canada's basketball future
This week host Jason Thom is joined by three more fantastic guests. Aislinn Konig joins the show first to talk about trying out for the Washington Mystics and the WNBA, playing for the Canadian Women's National team, the upcoming Olympics, making it professionally in Europe after a great career at NC State. Then, Kyle Julius talks about the CEBL, creating a culture with the Fraser Valley Bandits, growing the game in Taiwan and Vietnam, his work training future pros like Kevin Pangos and Duane Notice and what players can do to get through COVID-19 lockdowns. Finally, Jack Armstrong on the Toronto Raptors, the NCAA and growing the game of basketball in Canada and much more!  
May 09, 2021
Episode 4: Danilo Djuricic on graduating from Harvard and transferring to Santa Clara, Kaza Kajami-Keane on U Sports vs the NCAA and pro in Europe and Jermaine Anderson on the CEBL
This week host Jason Thom is joined by three more fantastic guests. Up first is recent Harvard Graduate Transfer Danilo Djuricic. Together they talk about his time at Harvard, his new school, Santa Clara, representing Canada and more. Then, Kaza Kajami-Keane joins to speak about the impact Carleton and U Sports had on his career after initially going D1, playing pro in Europe, representing Canada, U Sports vs the NCAA and more. Finally, Jermaine Anderson of the Shanghai Sharks and Hamilton Honey Badgers is interviewed. Anderson and Thom talk about the Chinese Basketball Association, CEBL, Canada Basketball point guard legacy and more.
May 02, 2021
Episode 3: Kadre Gray on the CEBL, Wendy Sparks on her son Khem Birch's journey and Raptors 905 Vice President of Basketball and Franchise Operations Courtney Charles
This week, Jason Thom is joined by another exciting trio of guests. First, he talks about the CEBL U Sports draft and interviews Laurentian grad Kadre Gray who recently signed his first professional contract with the CEBL's Ottawa Blackjacks. Then, Wendy Sparks, the mother of the newest Raptor and Team Canada member Khem Birch, talks to Thom about her son's 10-year journey to the NBA and what it means to have him represent Canada, and specifically, his hometown of Montreal. Finally, Courtney Charles, the Raptors 905 Vice President of Basketball and Franchise Operations, joins the show to speak about the G-League bubble and what is needed from a leader in the business of sports.
April 29, 2021
Episode 2: AJ Lawson and the NBA Draft, National Champion Matt Gray and Edmonton Stingers and Lethbridge Pronghorns Head Coach Jermaine Small
This week, Jason Thom is joined by another exciting trio of guests. First Thom talks to AJ Lawson about declaring for the NBA Draft, his time at South Carolina and much more. Then, Baylor Graduate Assistant Matt Gray joins the show. Gray explains what it feels like to win a national championship, how he got into coaching and what's next. Finally, Jermaine Small comes on to talk about the CEBL, U Sports and what's next for both. It's another jam-packed episode!
April 25, 2021
Episode 1: Dr Andrew Morris, NCAA Champion Alyssa Jarome, NCAA Finalist Shaina Pellington
In this episode, host Jason Thom opens the show with a monologue on where basketball in this country currently finds itself thanks to COVID-19. Then, Thom is joined by Dr. Andrew Morris, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and the Medical Director of the Sinai Health System-University Health Network Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. Dr. Morris is an infectious disease specialist. More than just a doctor, Dr. Morris is also a longtime basketball coach in the community. Together Thom and Dr. Morris talk COVID-19, its impact on the basketball community and when we could see some return to normalcy. From there Thom takes us on a journey to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four. First being joined by newly crowned National Champion and also one of Dr. Morris’ former players, Alyssa Jerome. In the show, Jerome talks about her journey to Stanford, their season, Canada Basketball and more. Finally, Thom got to talk to Shaina Pellington of the Arizona Wildcats. Pellington stole the hearts of Canadian hoop fans with her 15 point performance in the national championship game against Jerome’s Cardinal. In this interview, Pellington reflects on her journey to Arizona, the difficulty in her transfer from Oklahoma, her strength to fight against racism and homophobia and much more.
April 19, 2021