The annual NCAA-USPORTS exhibition showcase returns to Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) this year, with the team slated to face three US college teams this month.
All games will be played at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) to prepare for the upcoming 2022-2023 season.
The showcases are organized to allow Canada’s USPORTS teams to match up against their American counterparts.
TMU's first game was against the Northern Illinois Huskies (NIU) on Aug. 5.
After several roster changes attributed to graduated athletes and transfers, the new-look TMU team took the court for this first time since April.
Despite some scoring runs in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, TMU was soundly beaten 112-82. TMU was led by forward Aaron Rhooms, who scored 21 points and grabbed six rebounds.
The second year standout commented on playing against an older, more physical NCAA team and what the team needs to do differently in the next match-ups.
"It's a different feel, playing with guys who are more physical, guys who are more athletic," Rhooms said. "As a collective, its an adjustment and moving forward, what we have to get accustomed to."
Carleton University transfer Simon Chamberlain scored 17 points for TMU, and was a catalyst from three point range to help TMU make some runs in the second half.
Despite the loss, assistant coach Jeremie Kayeye commented on the loss and what is needed to prepare for the next NCAA opponents.
"The guys came out here, they practiced hard, they did their best," said Kayeye. "But you kind of see the difference as far as the maturity playing a team (NIU) that is a bit older than us, playing a team that has been together longer."
Notable past games for TMU include match-ups against the Duke Blue Devils in 2018, when college stars Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett came to Toronto. Both players made their Blue Devils debuts in the preseason game against TMU.
Williamson became the 1st overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. Barrett, who went 3rd in the same draft, grew up in Mississauga and is part of the Canadian national team.
The next scheduled games will be against the Saint Michael’s College Purple Knights of the NCAA’s Division II on Aug.13 and against the Division I Oregon Ducks on Aug. 27.
Listen to CJRU's coverage of TMU vs. Northern Illinois: