Tony McIntyre, who leads the top AAU program in all of Canada, CIA Bounce, has high hopes for his stepson, Dylan Ennis, and his future.
McIntyre said that Ennis' improved play this season is because of how much work he put in during the offseason and the differences between his and head coach Jay Wright's relationship from this season compared to last.
"I don't see, honestly, why he can't be a pro," McIntyre said in a phone conversation on Tuesday. "He's got a great body, can play the 1 and 2 and has a 6-9 wingspan and great athleticism. If he gets into an NBA combine he will test off the charts. Eventually, there is a pro career there. He can be a lot like a combo of guys. The bigger the game the bigger he is."
Ennis, has been on a bit of a cold streak since getting nine stitches in his left eye after a collision with JayVaughn Pinkston in practice prior to the match-up with Temple weeks ago. In the last two contests, Ennis has gone 3-for-14 from the field, 1-for-7 from deep and fouled out of the Wildcats' last contest with Syracuse.
But it's his defensive prowess that's been impressive for Wright this season. During the offseason, Wright told Ennis frequently that he could be the "best defensive player on the team, if not the best in the conference." The guard stayed on campus during the summer and the results have been tangible this year.
And if anyone knows about building and developing professional talent, it's McIntyre. The AAU coach has had former NBA First round picks Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Tristan Thompson and Tyler Ennis in his program and has produced over 40 other Division I players in recent years. Popular names including former Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim, current Stanford big man Stefan Nostic and 7-foot-5 big man Sim Bhullar from New Mexico State
He's been the key to developing some of the nation to the North's top talent. But for McIntyre, there needs to be a continued building if Ennis wants to show off his skills professionally at some point.
"He can continue to build," McIntyre said. "He's fitting into a system that Jay has that's been a learning process for him to play differently, whereas Tyler [Ennis] grew up being himself always. When he went to Wings Academy he had to change to be a scorer, at Lake Forrest Academy they wanted him to be a combo guard, at Rice they wanted him to be a pure-point, at Nova he's a combo guard.
"He's got great point guard potential, but theoretically every [guard at the program] does. He's got that capability where he led C-USA in assists as a freshman. At the same time he has combo-guard skills and score and shoot the ball."