(FREDERICTON, NB) Javon Masters is taking his game on the road.
The CIS scoring champion is trading Fredericton for Yunyang, Dazu and Shenzen, in China.
But don’t worry Varsity Reds fans, it’s a temporary trade. Masters will be back.
The third year guard has been named to a roster of CIS and Canadian-born NCAA players that will play a series of exhibition games in the three Chinese cities.
The Toronto 3D Global Sports Team holds a training camp next week, in Milton, Ontario.
3D then plays a total of nine games, in China, between May 5th and May 15th.
“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” says Masters. “I had to talk with Coach Baker, and I obviously had to talk with my parents and they were both on board.”
The Canadian university players will face an all-star team from Lithuania, a team representing the NBA D-League and China’s national “B” team.
“These guys play basketball for a living,” says Masters, of the competition he’ll see. “It’s their job, so they’re training each and every day, trying to get better, and that’s what I try and do, but it’s going to be a learning experience.”
Of the eleven players on the Canadian roster, seven come from the CIS ranks.
Joining Masters is forward Theon Reefer, from Saint Mary’s, five players from OUA teams, two from NCAA schools, a player from the NBL and a Canadian currently playing in Australia.
Masters is ready to assume any role.
“Whatever the coaching staff wants me to do, I’ll do, but I’m excited for the opportunity and it should be fun.”
The team will be coached by Fatih Akser, who coaches the women’s team at George Brown College, in Toronto. He’s served as an assistant at several CIS schools and worked with the national men’s team for a number of years.
The 3D squad is the brainchild of Teddy Tochev.
He played at Ryerson and Waterloo, before a brief pro career in Europe.
Tochev says the team can help CIS players transition from university basketball to the pro ranks.
He believes Masters has the talent to make the jump.
“He plays above the rim. This will be amazing for his development. He shows a ton of potential and athleticism, enough to go to the next level.”
Tochev says recruiting the leading scorer in the CIS was a “no brainer.”
After hearing about Masters, Tochev travelled to Fredericton last November to see him with his own eyes.
“He stood out, no question.”
Varsity Reds head coach Brent Baker is cautiously excited for Masters.
“Any time we can get our guy out there, our brand out there, and get it overseas, it’s great experience for him and another feather in our cap.”
Baker says Masters can only benefit from playing against bigger, stronger and faster players than he sees regularly.
“Who knows, maybe some things will come from this, some positive spin for our program and for him.”
While it’s not exactly summer camp, Masters acknowledges his commitment to 3D is limited. Still, he’s looking to get as much out of the experience as he can.
“It’s really going to test my ability, to see if I can play at that level.”
And while he’d like to play professionally at some point, UNB’s all-time leading regular season scorer plans to return for another season with the Varsity Reds.
“I’m just focusing on my time here at UNB and what’s been a great ride and a great three years, and trying to help this team win an AUS title and get to nationals.”