The grind to make the NBA 2K League in Season 3 is well underway, and last week, our Canadians showed up as Toronto’s Raptors Uprising in partnership with WorldGaming hosted its first ever Scout The North tournament to showcase the best talent North of the border.
Open exclusively to Canadian residents and casted on Twitch by Raptors Uprising stars Kenneth “Kenny Got Work” Hailey and Jerry “Sick x 973” Knapp, 16 PS4 and three Xbox One 5v5 Pro-Am teams competed for a cash prize pool, but more importantly for the possibility of earning one of two coveted spots in the 2020 NBA 2K League draft pool.
“Hosting a tournament to showcase Canadian talent is an investment in the future,” said Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) Esports Manager Shane Talbot, who was pleased with the overall turnout. “We know that the best way to grow the game here and to ensure the future NBA 2K League has a stronger representation of talent from our side of the border is to give the early adopters a platform to inspire that next generation.”
And after nine rigorous hours of competitive gameplay, two sides stood above the rest: Off Grid (Xbox) and Bloodlust (PS4).
Bloodlust, led by point guard o_oSav and centre RellReborn, were the most impressive team on the day, making it through a more crowded PlayStation side, and as a result, earning their big man a chance to be selected in the 2020 NBA 2K League draft.
“Rell is a dog at centre,” said Talbot. “Inherently, it tends to be the point guards and centres who standout in Pro-Am, and in this case, the winning point guard had already earned his way into the Draft through another team’s tournament, so Rell was the natural choice for us.”
For Off Grid, meanwhile, the box scores told the story as former Celtics Crossover Gaming player Speedbrook x took home MVP honours for his side after averaging a ridiculous 34.0 points per game in the finals.
“Speedbrook’s a season 1 veteran who by most accounts deserves another shot at the league,” said Talbot. “His box scores were dominant in Scout The North, but keeping it real, there was a lot of fast-break scoring and some of his teammates are definitely on our radar heading into combine.”
Knapp and Hailey, who will both be returning to Raptors Uprising in Season 3, were also impressed by the abundance of quality Canadian talent they witnessed first hand.
“Scout the North definitely opened my eyes to a lot of new Canadian players,” said Sick x 973. “I’m not a scout for any of these teams, but I can see five — if not more — of these Canadian players we saw at the tournament making it into the league next season.”
“I actually was surprised at how many league ready players there were in the tourney,” added Kenny Got Work. “Too bad we couldn’t give more spots away for the draft pool because there’s certainly talent here deserving of it.”
The tournament was the first of its kind, giving Canadians the exclusive chance to qualify directly for the league.
And while everyone didn’t qualify today, as both Hailey and Knapp alluded to, more than anything, for this crop of Canadian players, this is yet another step in the right direction as they, along with Raptors Uprising and the team’s partners, continue to write the narrative of competitive and professional NBA 2K in this country.
“Hosting events like this makes it much easier to scout the talent in our backyard and give those aspiring to make the league a platform to showcase their skills,” said Kenny Got Work. “I’d be surprised how if we don’t have more Canadians in the league in Season 3.”
— Raptors Uprising GC (@RaptorsGC) November 18, 2019