He may be a strong, silent type, but Scarborough hoops phenom Tyrell Gumbs-Frater is making a lot of noise of late.
The quiet Pope John Paul II Catholic School Grade 11 student, considered to be among the next wave of top basketball prospects to emerge from Canada, prefers to do his talking on the hard court – and he’s certainly done a lot of that recently.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound shooting guard, playing two years above his age class, was a solid contributor to his Team Ontario squad’s gold medal performance at the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, QC.
A resident of the McCowan Road and Sheppard Avenue area, Gumbs-Frater put up 67 points in five games – starting in each of those games – and tallied loads of floor time en route to Team Ontario’s gold medal win.
Up until this summer, which also included winning two big U.S. tournaments with Team Ontario in Indiana and Las Vegas, Gumbs-Frater, 16, was best known for sinking a spectacular buzzer beater – and championship game winner – in last year’s Toronto Catholic high school basketball final against Percy Monsignor Johnson.
“Overall this summer has been my best experience so far (basketball-wise), winning the nationals for a second year in a row was big for me,” he said as this school year starts. “With the changes that we had this year with Team Ontario I feel like I proved a lot to myself and to the team.”
As for being considered one of the best hoops talents in the country, Gumbs-Frater, who also plays with the Markham Gators team, is OK with that.
“I feel comfortable with that,” he said. “I know as long as I work hard and put my mind to it I can do whatever I need to do.”
His coach, Russell Yarde, who watched Gumbs-Frater refine his natural talent for six years with the Gators program, said the youngster has flown under the radar for a few years, likely at least in part because of his reserved personality, but calls the Scarborough talent the real deal.
“As far as talent he is definitely the most talented player I have ever seen. Ever. And the thing with Tyrell is he’s going to get better...a lot better,” Yarde said. “This year was probably his best year yet in terms of showing scouts and people what he can do.”
Gumbs-Frater admits becoming more vocal with his teammates is a part of his game he is working on.
“That’s just my style; I am kind of quiet. A lot of people have told me that I need to be more vocal, so that’s one of the things I’m working on.”
His next challenge will be making the national team program.
“That’s my goal for next year, to make the national cadet team,” he said.