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Tyler Ennis -- the basketball player -- leads St. Benedict's at Hoophall Classic

Syracuse commit is often confused with Buffalo Sabres center by the same name

Tyler Ennis competes at the 2012 Under Armour Elite 24 Basketball game in Venice Beach, Calif., last August. / AP

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Tyler Ennis is a big name in Canada. The problem is, the Tyler Ennis who is a high school point guard isn’t always sure if they’re talking about him or the Tyler Ennis who plays center for the Buffalo Sabres.

“Everybody asks if I play hockey and I say, no,” said Ennis, point guard for St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J., and a native of Ontario. “They say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen your stats online.’ They get confused, especially on Twitter.”

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Ennis and forward Mike Young scored 16 points each Sunday as St. Benedict’s, No. 12 in the USA TODAY Sports Super 25 boys basketball rankings, defeated Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) 63-51 in the Spalding Hoophall Classic.

It was on defense where the Syracuse commit really made his impact. He had four steals and along with the rest of the Gray Bees (16-0), forced Montrose (10-4) into 18 turnovers.

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“Tyler does so many different things off the ball that people don’t see,” said St. Benedict’s coach Mark Taylor. “Our goal is to get Tyler to shoot the three better, which he’s doing, and to improve his defense and he knows he’s going to be an impact player defensively.”

In the Gray Bees’ system Sunday, Ennis frequently played like a safety, roaming and then pouncing.

“Coach puts me and John (Williams) in the back,” Ennis said. “That way, we can read a little more what the point guard is trying to do.”

Ennis committed to Syracuse last summer, letting everyone know with a YouTube video and following it up with Twitter messages. He may be entrusted early with the Orange’s offense if starting Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams is headed to the NBA after this season.

“Playing time was a big factor in (his Syracuse commitment),” Ennis said. “They really develop their point guards. The situation with Mike is great. If he stays, I’ll be able to learn from him. If not, I’ll get to play a lot earlier. I’d love to play with him, but he has to do what is best for him.”

Follow Jim Halley on Twitter @jimhalley.



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