Monday, 28 May 2007

Burns gets U of T Honour, Laval Update, Dalembert for Canada?

Congratulations to Theresa Burns, a long-time CIS women's Head Coach at McMaster University and Ryerson University, who has deservedly been rewarded by her alma mater, the University of Toronto, for her stellar playing career as point guard on the great Varsity Blues women's teams in the mid 80's. As this article outlines, Burns is one of several athletes from U of T named to their Sports Hall of Fame Burns named to U of T Sports Hall of Fame

For a program that started play in the CIS only just over a decade ago, the Laval Rouge et Or under Head Coach Jacques Paiement have enjoyed spectacular progress, representing the QSSF at the Nationals for 4 consecutive seasons between 2000-01 and 2003-04, with their strongest showing being 2002-03 when they went 13-2 in the "Q" and advanced to the CIS semi-finals before losing to by 3 to Carleton Ravens, who went on to win their first of 5 consecutive CIS crowns. The past 3 seasons have seen the Rouge et Or contend in the "Q" but stumble in the playoffs, most recently last season against Concordia with probably the youngest team Laval has had since the late 90's. However, expect the Rouge et Or to return to the ranks of contenders this coming season on the heels of a second consecutive strong recruiting class that will support CIS All-Canadian candidate 6'7" J.P. Morin, who should push for a spot on one of Canada's team internationally this summer, and last season's CIS Freshman of the Year 6'3" J.F. Beaulieu-Maheux. In their most recent class, Laval added 6'4" Jerome Turcotte-Routhier (pictured), a CCAA All-Canadian this past season at CEGEP Ste-Foy, who the Laval coaching staff feels will have the same kind of impact J.F.Beaulieu had last year. Turcotte impressed at the Be-One All-Canadian Weekend a few weeks ago, starting the game and playing 30 minutes. This gives Laval at least 3 impact players as a foundation surrounded by at least another 7 players who can play. Next season, Laval will welcome yet another high impact recruit as 6'5" Etienne Labrecque, a former Player of the year in Quebec, CCAA All-Canadian most outstanding player at the CCAA Nationals for CEGEP Montmorency in 2006 returns to Canada after spending last season with Quinnipiac Bobcats of the NCAA Division 1 Northeast conference, where he appeared in 7 games, averaging 1.4 ppg. Labrecque will sit out this season as a transfer but will practice with the team every day. His size and skills will allow him to play any position from 1 to 4. Expect the "Q" to be a very tough conference this coming season.

With the surprising resignation of Canada Basketball's Executive Director Fred Nykamp, Canada's basketball community could use a shot in the arm. While this may not qualify as program-altering news, if the rumours are true, it is a definite positive for Canada basketball as the likelihood is strong that Philadelphia 76ers 6'11" forward/center Samuel Dalembert, who averaged about 11 ppg/9 rpg this past season with the Sixers, will suit up for Canada. Dalembert was scheduled to play for Canada a couple of years ago but could not get passport issues settled in time. Sources indicate that Dalembert is close to being cleared to play for Canada, which should be a huge boost to the program. Dalembert, born in Haiti but raised in Montreal, is a four year NBAer from Seton Hall University, who only began playing basketball in his second year of high school. Stay tuned for more on this breaking story.

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