Junior Cadougan has come a long way. The Toronto native has overcome various obstacles and is quickly rising to the top of the national basketball recruiting scene.
While Cadougan’s success on the court started early, he had a lot to overcome according to Ro Russell, his AAU coach, “He was a phenom on the court at a very young age and has dealt with a lot and really come through. He came from humble beginnings, and at a young age his younger brother was shot in a ‘drive by’. He had to deal with leaving his family and his home in Canada in order to attend high school in the US. It is a lot for any kid to go through, but I am very proud of the way he has stayed determined and maintained his focus.”
Cadougan’s description of himself is quite a bit different than what you typically hear from young stars. “I will admit that I am pretty shy. Once I get to know people I open up and people come to know that I am a pretty funny person, but I would think my friends would describe me as a humble, normal kid.”
First gaining attention in Toronto as a talented 8th grader, Cadougan started developing into a solid point guard and he continues to progress each and every day. “I really feel that my game is good enough to play anywhere at the next level. I feel that the strongest part of my game is my on court leadership. I really feel comfortable running a team, running an offense, and I feel like I have a good feel for the decision making.”
Russell is very happy with the way his star has been playing for his Toronto Grass Roots program, but like any coach, he feels there is more work to be done. “He has come a long way. When he was younger, he had a little baby fat, but he has really changed his body. He is now more muscular, quicker and athletic. He needs to refine all parts of his game and become more consistent with his jump shot and on defense.”
There have been a lot of high major programs expressing an interest in Cadougan, and his MVP performance at last week’s NBA Top 100 camp is something that will certainly bring on a whole new list of suitors. “I haven’t had new schools calling since the NBA camp, but I think that will come later in the week, “Said Cadougan.
With his recruitment heating up, Junior has managed to stay well grounded, “He has taken his recruitment in stride” said Russell, “He knows the recruiting process can get out of hand and he has done a great job of speaking to coaches, doing a lot of research on the schools and asking a lot of questions.”
While the list gets longer, Cadougan does have some favorites. “I am still wide open and I will listen to new schools, but my three favorites are Marquette, Memphis and Wake Forest. I like the way those teams get up and down the court. I like the run and gun, pick and roll style that they play. I have been to Wake Forest and I will be heading to Marquette on Tuesday.”
Cadougan says he has no time frame for making a decision. “I am not in a hurry, I just want to see the schools, talk to the players and coaches and when I know the situation is right, when I really feel it, I will make a decision. The number one thing I look for in a school is what the graduation rate of the players is. I want to make sure that I understand what I will be able to get out of a program. I also want to make sure that they can develop me to my full potential to give me the opportunity to play professionally. ”
Coach Russell has seen Cadougan grow as a player and a person, and knows Junior has what it takes. “I really am proud of him. He has a high basketball IQ, he has the determination and he really can run a team.”