Saturday, June 30, 2007

Largest private donation ever to sport kicks off U of T's new facility

For some reason, the most recent post doesn't show up at the top of site so please click here to get to Monday, July 2nd's entry


The University of Toronto recently announced plans to construct a new 2,000 seat basketball/volleyball facility as part of a Center for High Performance Sport in downtown Toronto. With an $11 million injection into the fundraising campaign by the Goldring Family (touted as the largest ever private donation for sport to a university in Canada, presumably surpassing Ron Joyce's $10 million donation to McMaster last year), U of T's goal of raising $53 million by the end of this year is off to a rousing start. Plans are to begin construction in the fall of 2008. Best of luck to U of T for hopefully producing another top-notch basketball facility for Canada, this time deep in the heart of Canada's largest city. Althea Blackburn-Evans and Elaine Smith report for News@UofT U of T moves forward on new fitness centre, student commons: Interim plan for facilities approved

According to Dale Stevens' excellent "Canadian University Basketball Discussion List", the CIS has release a handbook for graduating women that highlights the values staying in Canada to play basketball. The publication, Canadian University Women’s Basketball Information Guide for coaches, parents and university bound student-athletes, is available by clicking on the following link Women's Basketball Info guide here is the press release CIS, Canada Basketball launch Canada First info guide

An older press release from the CIS provides a summary of the recent CIS AGM and what was accomplished CIS AGM Summary

Friday, June 29, 2007

Athletic Director Vacancies to decrease by one next week

According to this article in the Charlatan, Carleton's campus newspaper, the university should announce their next Athletic Director sometime next week. Recall that Drew Love resigned earlier this year to take the Athletic Director's role at McGill University in Montreal. Although an extensive interview process was undertaken and multiple candidates were considered, the article only speculates on one of the candidates, Acting Athletic Director Jennifer Brenning. Committee zeros in on new athletics director

At least two other CIS universities have vacant Athletic Director posts: University College of Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, B.C., which just named CIS Coach-of-the-Year Barnaby Craddock their new head men's basketball coach and Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S. According to "The Point After", a blog written by Brandon Sun columnist David Larkins, candidates for the Acadia post include current Brandon AD Rick Nickelchok and former Acadia basketball star and current TSN NBA analyst Brian Heaney.

FIBA News: Nigeria's U19 team is ready to go Team for Serbia ready

Please enjoy a safe, happy and healthy Canada Day weekend (Canada turns 140 years old on Sunday !)

Queen's Report, UBC/Canada West news, FIBA

Plenty more on the Brandon situation from David Larkins who does such a tremendous job following and reporting on the Bobcats. Through these links which take you to David's "The Point After" site, you'll find that not only has Brandon lost its CIS Coach-of-the-year for men's basketball Barnaby Craddock but could lose its Athletic Director Rick Nickelchok to the vacant post at Acadia. I got the opportunity to meet Nickelchok at the Nationals in March and he is a strong and, more importantly, active supporter of CIS sports who appears to understand the value of marketing and communications among other things. The article also cites sources saying that Brian Heaney, TSN basketball analyst and Acadia alumnus, could also be in the running for the Acadia AD job. Once again, a great job by Dave keeping the basketball community aprised of the situation in Brandon. There are four articles in the set (scroll down to Wednesday's entry if you want to read them chronologically) including an article that appeared in the Brandon Sun David Larkins Blog on the Brandon situation


As mentioned yesterday, Queen's published a report on their athletics and recreation programs and Claude Scilley, as usual, has a tremendous piece analyzing the facts and drawing some very intelligent conclusions. Queen's reviews its athletics programs; Hockey's future in question as panel ranks university's sports

Another interesting note which I feel shows the power of properly marketing a university's sports properties is outlined in the following factoid as presented by Scilley in his article: By the numbers:
1,013 - Number of queen's students involved in interuniversity teams or clubs
$126.63 - Amount each student contributes toward athletics and recreation each year through ancillary fees
10 - Rank among Ontario universities for per capita student athletic support
16.0 - Percentage of total student fees that goes to athletics and recreation
3 - number of Ontario universities with a lower percentage of total student fees going to athletics (Trent, McMaster, Ryerson)

The BOLDED fact shows that only 3 other universities spend a lower percentage of total student fees on athletics including Trent, Ryerson and McMaster. In McMaster's, this is a strong positive indicator; for many years, led by the very underrated Robert Hilson, McMaster has generated tremendous revenues from their athletic programs - at the gate, through sponsorships and through philanthropic donations - working towards a model of self-sufficiency. The fact that Mac is able to limit the amount they need to tax their students for athletics (money which can be used for other purposes including academic needs or simply to make school less expensive) shows the power of strategic marketing and branding in athletics. Several universities across the country are waking up to the realization of the power of this approach and investing in strategic marketing efforts; sadly, some university's athletic directors refuse to act even when the possibilities of success are staring them directly between the eyes.

CANADA WEST: Howard Tsumura, the Vancouver Province reporter who is so active with high school and university/college sports, has published a pair of articles recently. The first describes the great job UBC has done with their fundraising, reaching the $1 million level for their athletic scholarship endowment T-Birds' hoops scholarship fund passes $1m Golf tourney helps push UBC program to impressive total. The second article recaps in great detail all recruits for Canada West men's basketball for the coming season Graduating List

Carleton's campus newspaper, the Charlatan, summarizes some of the key points to come out of last week's CIS AGM The Highlight Reel: CIS AGM

A nice story in a recent edition of the Toronto Sun on Curtis MacLean from the Jane & Finch area of Toronto who aspires to referee in the NBA one day and may be closer than one might think to realizing his dream Private eye is courting success

FIBA News: For those fans wanting to follow the myriad of international basketball competitions going on this summer, bookmarking the following page could be for you as FIBA announces that LIVE STATS! will be available for all key games across both men's and women's tournaments through various web sites. This article provides a summary of all the tournaments and links to the web sites where LIVE STATS! can be followed. We are still looking to produce information on the possibility of video for games involving Canada throughout the summer. Live statistics from the three FIBA World Championships and all FIBA Zone Continental Championships available online

Argentina has named their U19 squad for the FIBA World U19 championships in Serbia Argie's U19 Team Also, Argentina's head coach Sergio Hernandez lashes out at 5 players who failed to report to camp in preparation for the Pan-Am Games Hernandez lashes out

6'5" guard Tyreke Evans, one of the top seniors-to-be in U.S. high school, is among the favorites to earn a spot with USA basketball's U19 team that is preparing for Serbia and the FIBA World U19 championships Star guard shoots down Louisville rumour

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Queen's, Carleton and FIBA News

Thanks to Neate Sager, Queen's alumnus and author of Out of Left Field for a nice summary of the recently-released report on Queen's athletics and recreation Bleeding Tri-Colour: a whole new game for Golden Gaels

Acting Athletic Director at Carleton Jennifer Brenning, my personal choice to get the official head job which should be announced shortly, has announced an apparel deal with Russell Athletics and a marketing deal with Prime Time Marketing an organization specializing in sports marketing. Ravens announce partnership with Russell Athletic and Prime Time Marketing
Again another progressive move by Carleton, outsourcing key elements of their operation to specialized organizations, further positioning the university to reduce their reliance on public funding for their athletic programs. This is the first and only such deal for an Ottawa-based university and should help increase brand awareness for the Ravens which only recently brought on men's hockey and does not field a football team. Interestingly, Brenning is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and moved over from that university a few years ago to become a key driver of programs and strategy at Carleton. Congratulations to Jennifer and team. Meanwhile across town.....

They're floating the idea of a spring-summer pro league in the Maritimes as Chris Cochrane from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald reports Summer pro hoop league great idea

In what could be described as Canada's version of Rick Pitino going to Louisville after leading arch-rival Kentucky, former St. FX stalward Augy Jones, who played for the X-Men in the late 80's and then was on staff for a national championship, has been named to the coaching staff at heated X rival St. Mary's Huskies. Chris Kallan of the Halifax Daily News reports Jones joins SMU Huskies 'Seemed like perfect fit'

Entering its 26th consecutive year, the Penticton basketball camp has attracted UBC's Kevin Hanson as a headliner this summer Hanson headlinging at Penticton Camp

FIBA NEWS: USA Basketball is in the news this morning as the Senior Men's team has announced officially that LeBron James will represent his country at the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament in Las Vegas this August. As well, USA Basketball's U19 team begins tryouts today and will face the Chinese senior national team and compete in the Global Games in Dallas as a precursor to the FIBA U19 World Championships in Serbia as the following article outlines USA - 18 players set to participate in USA U19 team trials

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Craddock named newest Head Coach at UCFV

In a somewhat surprising move, reigning CIS Coach-of-the-Year Barnaby Craddock has accepted the Head Coaching position at University College of Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, BC. Craddock, who led the Brandon Bobcats to the CIS Nationals championship game in March, is a Vancouver area native who will be moving back closer to home by accepting this position. Craddock did an outstanding job with the Bobcats during his two-year tenure in Brandon, leading the 'Cats back to national prominence and restoring pride in the Bobcat program, one of Canada's most successful over the last 30 years. Craddock played his CIS basketball at the University of Lethbridge for current Winnipeg Wesmen Head Coach Dave Crook and also had a playing stint in Europe after his CIS career ended. As the press release from Mike Tucker reveals below, it was important to UCFV to have buy in from their current group of players after the controversial release of the prior coaching staff and if the quote from team captain Kyle Graves is an indicator, all is well in Abbotsford. Look for Craddock to continue to draw on his contacts from across the country to attract national-calibre athletes to UCFV and further increase the competitiveness of Canada West.

Abbotsford, BC - Barnaby Craddock, the 2007 CIS Coach of the Year, has been announced as the new head coach of the Fraser Valley Cascades men's basketball team. Craddock leaves Brandon University, whom he guided to last year's CIS National Championship final.

"I'm thrilled with the chance to move to Abbotsford, and with the opportunity to work with UCFV athletics," said Craddock. "The men's basketball program at UCFV has had some great years, and some great coaches. I'm looking forward to coming in and helping the Cascades future continue to be as bright as it's past."

Craddock spent the previous two seasons as the head coach at Brandon University. In 2006-07, Craddock was the recipient of the Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the CIS Men's basketball Coach of the Year. The Craddock-led Bobcats squad finished with the best record in the Canada West at 20-2. Brandon made it all the way to the CIS National championship final, falling to Carleton 52-49.

"We really sought out a coach that was capable of turning the program into a winner at the CIS level, and what Barnaby managed to accomplish at Brandon speaks for itself," said Acting Athletic Director Mike Tucker. "Barnaby is one of the top young coaches in the Canada, and we're confident he will help us realize our goal of competing and winning a national championship."

As a Vancouver native, Craddock played for Vancouver Community College before becoming a CIS All-Canadian and two-time Canada West All Star at the University of Lethbridge. Additionally, Craddock is just four seasons removed from a seven-year professional playing career in Europe. He has earned post-season MVP honours in both Norway and Ireland leagues.

After Craddock's professional playing career expired, he took coaching jobs in the Iceland and Norway professional leagues. Craddock would make his return to Canada in 2003, taking an assistant coach position at Lethbridge. He also served as an assistant at University of Winnipeg in the 2004-05 season.

"What struck me about Barnaby is he brings forward a lot of energy and it's clear he wants to win. He's been there before with Brandon, and you can tell he's hungry to bring this group there too," said Cascades senior forward Kyle Graves, who sat on the hiring committee with teammates Jamie Vaughan and Dylan Gatner.

"With Barnaby we have a full-time coach who has full responsibility for all aspect of the men's basketball program," said Tim Segger, Vice President Administration at UCFV. "We're excited to have a coach who will be active on and off the court, on campus, in our local communities, and representing UCFV regionally and nationally in the Canada West and CIS."

Craddock will begin work immediately preparing for the approaching 2006-07 season at UCFV. His last day at Brandon is Friday, July 6. Craddock will be moving to the Abbotsford area shortly thereafter.


Craddock's Record:
2005-06 Brandon 10-10 conference, 15-17 overall
2005-06 Brandon 20-2 conference, 33-5 overall
Totals 30-12 conference, 40-22 overall

CIS Coach of the Year Award Winners (since 1987-88):
2006-07: Barnaby Craddock, Brandon
2005-06: Kevin Hanson, UBC
2004-05: Dave Smart, Carleton
2003-04: Craig Norman, RMC / CMR
2002-03: Dave Smart, Carleton
2001-02: Don Horwood, Alberta
2000-01: Steve Konchalski, StFX
1999-00: Dave Crook, Lethbridge
1998-99: Craig Boydell, Western
1997-98: Eddie Pomykala, Bishop's
1996-97: Peter Campbell, Laurentian
1995-96: Bruce Enns, UBC
1994-95: Ken Olynyk, Toronto
1993-94: Don Horwood, Alberta
1992-93: Bill Wedlake, Winnipeg
1991-92: Ken Murray, Brock
1990-91: John Dore, Concordia/Bruce Enns, UBC
1989-90: Bruce Enns, UBC
1988-89: Ken Murray, Regina
1987-88: Dave Nutbrown, Acadia

Mike Tucker, Sports Information/Marketing Coordinator
UCFV Cascades Athletics www.ucfv.ca/athletics

On-line version available here

Here is some Brandon-related flashbacks courtesy of former coach Jerry Hemmings and the Winnipeg Sun Memories of go-go dancers and OT

Windsor, U of T Recruiting News

Windsor Lancers have announced a pair of new recruits for next season confirming a long-anticipated committment from 6'4" Isaac Kuon (pictured), originally from Mississauga Father Goetz who spent last season at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colorado with the Plainsmen, averaging 2.7 ppg. Kuon, a big, growing (175 lbs.) guard who should push for floor time immediately, will be in his 2nd of eligibility having played at Northeastern just one year. As well, the Lancers welcome 6'2" Allan Cattrysse, who returns to Canada after transfering from Michigan State where he played baseball. Cattrysse, a high school teammate of Lancers all-star Kevin Kloostra at Chatham John McGregor H.S., was highly-regarded as a basketball player coming out of high school but chose to take a baseball scholarship with the Spartans in East Lansing, MI. According to CIS rules, Cattrysse has all five years of elgibility remaining because baseball is a non-OUA/CIS sport however with an undergraduate degree already in hand and a desire to go to teacher's college, expect Cattrysse to probably play only a couple of seasons for the Lancers. The Lancers may or may not have one more recruiting announcement in the coming weeks.

The Varsity Blues have added 6'4" Odane Harding, a combination forward who originally attended Scarborough Jean Vanier before extending his prep career with Toronto Area Preparatory School. Harding then moved on to Lewis (Illinois) University for the latter half of 2004-05 before transfering back to the OCAA's Centennial Colts, where he was a two-time OCAA East Region First Team all-star, averaging about 18 ppg during his two-year career. Harding brings the ability to slash to the rim and get on the offensive glass as key attributes and should help the Blues immediately offset the loss of swingman Ben Katz. U of T is also likely to bring in 6'2" Daniel Simavic a "two" guard from Australia where Blues assistant Andrew Sommerville coached him.

On another Blues related note, U of T assistant Jama Mahlalela is co-founder of Concrete Hoops Basketball Camps, a Toronto inter-city basketball camp at College and Euclid in Toronto. As well, Mahlalela, who grew up in Swaziland, and Blues graduating swingman Ben Katz got together to lead a series of international exchange camps between Toronto and Swaziland, the African country where Jama hails from. The work focuses on engaging youth in sport and AIDS prevention. Jama played his high school basketball at Toronto's Oakwood Collegiate before moving on to a fine career with the UBC Thunderbirds of Canada West. Congratulations on these excellent charitable community initiatives! Here are a set of on-line articles from dose.ca on the camps with some background on the conditions faced by citizens of Swaziland The Concrete Hoop Diaries

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Andy Kwiatkowski Update

Former Western Mustang and Canadian National team member 6'7" Andy Kwiatkowski has moved on to a successful career after his playing days and the Guelph Mercury has a nice piece on Andy Life is fun and games for ex-basketball star HE'S STILL GOT GAME

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Jordan's Son to play in Ottawa with Fighting Illini

The emerging Labour Day tradition of NCAA schools visiting Canada for a series of games against CIS schools continues this year and those planning to attend games in the Nation's Capital could be in for a pleasant surprise, especially if the time-honoured tradition of parents attending their son's games holds true. As previously reported, the Illinois Fighting Illini, among other teams, will come to Ottawa to face Carleton Ravens, Ottawa Gee-Gees and McGill Redmen. The Illini welcome a large, six player recruiting class to their program this season including a 6'1" combination guard with tremendous basketball pedigree named Jeff Jordan, who's father once ruled the hardwood as a member of the Chicago Bulls. Courtney Linehan of the Daily Illini features the younger Jordan and how he is dealing with being the son of arguably the greatest player ever to lace on a pair of sneakers Jeff Jordan adjusts to attention, life at Illinois

Great article by Michael Grange of the Globe and Mail on 6'5" Andre Wilkins, originally from Emery C.I. in Toronto via a US JUCO who is now moving on to Cornell Big Red of the Ivy League From Jane and Finch to the Ivy League

Many have inquired as to where 6'7" Olu Ashaolu, 6'0" Junior Cadougan and 6'5" Curtis Trotter, all of who were members of last season's Canadian Jr. National team that qualified for the FIBA U-19 World Championships, have been playing recently. As was reported here, neither of the three were at Canada's traning camp at Durham College that began a week ago Friday and concluded this past Tuesday. Ashaolu, Cadougan plus Devoe and Kris Joseph all were invited to the National Basketball Players Association camp at the University of Virginia, which began this past Wednesday. About 120 high school players were invited to this camp and placed on 10 teams. Ashaolu and Cadougan were pair up on Team 5 (Jazz) while cousins Devoe and Kris were placed on Team 10 (Wizards). The camp ended on Friday and here are some links to articles about the camp CSTV Day One Review plus a review of Day Two Day Two Review

Shields, Brown, James Honoured

Arguably Canada's most successful Head Coach of all-time, Ken Shields will be honoured with the 2007 James Naismith Award as the Toronto Star reports. Congratulations Coach on this very special and well deserved honour. Ken Shields to be awarded James Naismith Award

Congratulations to former CIS stars Carlos "Bobby" Brown (uOttawa early 1990's) and Eric James (Acadia mid-80's) who were recently honoured as "Local Heroes" of Lawrence Heights, an area of Toronto near Lawrence Avenue and Allen Road/Bathurst Street that has produced some top-level basketball talent over the years including Canadian National team players Philip "Dr. Dix" Dixon, Wayne Smith and Denham Brown. I had the pleasure of being on the coaching staff when Bobby was at the University of Ottawa and he was as tough mentally as they come and always seemed to want to take (and make) big shots, which he did alot of during our run to the 1993 CIAU Final Four when Bobby was named MVP of the Wilson Cup among other accolades that season. James was a rock-solid point guard for Bathurst Heights OFSAA championship teams of the mid-to-late 80's and then was a star at Acadia in the AUS. I was touched to get a wonderful note from Bobby along with this link as follows: "Just wanted to say thank you for the guidance and support. I do not believe how far the kid from Jane and Finch and Jungle has gotten with a little encouragement and endorsement from you." Congratulations to both Bobby, Eric and the others ! Local Heroes: The Revitalization of Lawrence Heights

The University of Western Ontario's daily newspaper, the Gazette, talks about Western's most recent recruiting class, which they've dubbed the Fab Five, including some quotes from Colin LaForme and Garrett Olixiuk Campbell reels in Fab Five

The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees have a received a committment from 6'0" shooting guard Vlad Pislaru from Scarborough Jean Vanier Monarchs of the Toronto Catholic league (TDCAA). Pislaru, who immigrated to Canada from Romania, has experience at "AA" OFSAA with the Monarchs and played his club team ball with North York Fire OBA team. Pislaru joins 6'5" Marvin Bazille (John Abbott CEGEP) and 6'6" Justin Bell (Mississauga Rick Hansen) in the Gee-Gees recruiting class.

A note from Ryerson University ... Team needed for Ryerson's Ed DeArmon men's basketball tournament (Dec. 28-30). One more team is needed to fill the draw for the 17th annual Ed DeArmon Memorial men's basketball tournament at Toronto's Ryerson University. The tournament is scheduled for December 28-30, 2007 with a guarantee of three games and $2500. Participating teams: York, Laval, Western, McGill, Waterloo, Toronto and Ryerson. For more information, please contact Ryerson head coach Glenn Taylor at: g4taylor@gwemail.ryerson.ca

As usual, Chad Lucas from the Halifax Chronicle-Journal and Chris Kallan from the Halifax Daily News offer their summary and commentary on the proposed 16-team format for CIS women's championships. Chad's article is entitled CIS to expirement with 16-team national women’s championship and Chris's article is entitled CIS expands women's hoops tourney

An editorial from the Peterborough Examiner chastising Trent University for not following the lead of all other Ontario universities and allowing student/athlete scholarships. A CIS basketball program in Peterborough doesn't sound like that bad of an idea actually Alone on the field; Trent misses out by not joining move to attract student-athletes

More on the University College of Fraser Valley men's coaching situation as incumbent Pat Lee appears to have removed his name from the list of possible candidates for the head job going forward Lee won't apply at UCFV

Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment unveiled a set of historical items from Dr. James Naismith, the man who invented basketball, yesterday at Terminal 1 of Toronto Pearson International Airport. Airport to display Naismith's gifts to sports

An article highlighting USA Basketball Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski as he prepares to lead the Americans into the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifier in August Coach K looks to lead USA back to the top

The Tuscaloosa News previews USA Basketball's entry into the Pan-Am Games to be coached by Mark Gottfried, Alabama Crimson Tide head coach. Alabama will visit our nation's capital, Ottawa, over the Labour Day weekend Mark Gottfried all lined up for dream job and another article from Alabama.com Gottfried has busy summer

And finally, leave it to the sports-a-holics that make up a big part of the population of Welland, Ontario to dust off a former Syracuse Orangeman great from the late 70's (even before Canadian National team coach Leo Rautins donned the Orange and before there even was a Carrier Dome - Syracuse played in Manley Field House at the time this guy played) for a basketball clinic as 6'11" Roosevelt Bouie, part of the "Louis and Bouie Show" for 4 years at Syracuse (with NBA veteran and former Seton Hall coach Louis Orr) will headline a clinic at Niagara College in Welland. It is worth the trip to the Rose City Roosevelt Bouie to headline Niagara College camp on July 21st, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

Canada's Senior Team Update after Oshawa Camp

The recent Canada Basketball training camp at Durham College in Oshawa which ended earlier this week was successful by all accounts as the program gets ready to reassemble again in mid-July for the Pan-Am Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. The eight team tournament, which begins on July 25th and features 5 teams ranked in FIBA's current World Top 20, breaks up into two preliminary round groups with the top 2 finishers in each group facing off in the semi-finals on July 28th followed by the championship game on July 29th. Canada (#15) has been placed in Group B with the host Brazilians (#17), Puerto Rico (#13) and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Group A consists of U.S. (#1), Argentina (#2), Panama and Uruguay. All 8 nations represented at the Pan-Am Games will also be battling it out at the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifier in Las Vegas in late August. Like many international events, games are played on an almost daily basis so Canada could play on 5 consecutive days (3 round robin games followed by semi-finals and finals). We hope to provide a more thorough preview as the tournament draws nearer.

Among the stronger performing Senior-team level players from the camp was 6'6" Jermaine Bucknor (Edmonton, AL), who looks to have improved dramatically since last summer after a year played professionally in Poland. Bucknor, who is only 24 years old, has been part of the national program for several summers and appears to have a bright future with the Senior team going forward. We've already made mention that 6'5" Olu Famutimi (Toronto, ON) was impressive with his smooth, athletic style and, on top of the obvious talent he has shown, more than one coach commented on how coachable and how much of a great kid Olu is. 6'10" Vlad Kuljanin, another Torontonian with a couple of summers of National team program experience under his belt, may have been the most impressive big man in camp and continues to impress with his array of skills. Another big, burly post, 6'11" Sean Denison (pictured - Nelson, B.C.) who recently graduated from Santa Clara University (Steve Nash's school) and in his final year was named co-winner of the West Coast Conference's Player-of-the-Year, showed observers at camp that he has solid big man skills both in and around the paint and out on the perimeter. Denison showed a consistent knowledge of how to play and will push for a spot in the mix this summer. Also up front, 6'8" Jesse Young (Peterborough, ON), another National team veteran who has played professionally in Europe for several years but unfortunately missed this season nursing a serious foot injury, looks to be rounding back into physical and mental form as he improved with every practice. In the back court, we've already mentioned Jermaine "Rock" Anderson (pictured) from Toronto, playing the lead guard throughout camp and the work of 6'4" Ryan Bell (Ottawa, ON), with his combination of length, quickness and game management and 6'2" Osvaldo Jeanty (Ottawa, ON) who can always be counted on to play his best when it matters most. Another CIS star, 6'7" Aaron Doornekamp, added about 10 lbs. of muscle after the end of the CIS season and this added physical maturity has allowed him to further diversify his offensive game, especially in the low post with his back to the basket. 6'5" Andy Rautins had a solid camp shooting the basketball which he did as well as anyone in camp. When the team next assembles on 14th of July at Humber College in Toronto, expect most if not all of these names and others to be there preparing for Brazil, possibly augmented by any number of others who could potentially suit up for Canada at either or both of the Pan-Am Games and Las Vegas including 6'5" Carl English, 6'5" Denham Brown, 6'5" Rowan Barrett, 6'10" Levon Kendall, 6'7" Juan Mendez, 6'11" Samuel Dalembert , 6'8" Rans Brempong and 6'10" Nate Doornekamp or others. Best of luck to the Senior Men as they endeveour to return Canada Basketball to the Olympics in 2008.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

In the News

Queen's University's athletics are being reviewed at senior levels of the University for the first time in 5 years and the administration and coaches is anxiously awaiting the official document which is due out soon as Claude Scilley of the Kingston Whig-Standard reports Gaels teams await report; Athletic review due out 'soon'

Congratulations to former Basketball Canada official Michelle O'Keefe who recently was named Executive Director of Basketball Ontario. O'Keefe, a native of Welland, Ontario, has held various positions in multiple sports governing bodies over her career. Best of luck to Michelle in her new position. Welland native nets top hoops job

A note from Mike Koreen, York University's sports information officer: TORONTO, June 11, 2007 -- York University ... The York Lions men’s basketball team will play host to an opponent that competed in the NCAA Final Four in 2006 on the opening weekend of pre-season play in 2007-08. The Louisiana State University (LSU) Tigers, who advanced to the NCAA semi-finals in 2006, will face the Lions on Sunday, September 2 (3 p.m.) at the Tait McKenzie Centre. The LSU game concludes a two-game weekend against NCAA teams for the Lions, who also meet the visiting Morehead State Eagles on Saturday, September 1 (8 p.m.). "It (facing American teams) is a real challenge," Lions head coach Bob Bain said after his team’s schedule was released Monday. "It’s exciting and it’s a good recruiting tool. It’s a nice thing for our players to look forward to." It marks the fourth consecutive year in which the Lions will play two home pre-season games against American teams. LSU advanced to the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament last year after Tigers star Tyrus Thomas was selected fourth overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA Draft in
2006 before being traded to the Chicago Bulls. Morehead State qualified for the Ohio Valley Conference tournament last year after a two-year absence. After a pre-season schedule that includes tournaments at Alberta and Dalhousie, the Lions open the regular season in London, Ont., against the Western Mustangs Friday, November 9 and then travel to Windsor to face the defending OUA champion Lancers the next night. The Lions play their home opener Friday, November 16 (8 p.m.) against the Brock Badgers. Another highlight of the home schedule comes Friday, January 18 (8
p.m.) when the five-time defending CIS champion Carleton Ravens make their only visit of the season to the Tait McKenzie Centre. The Lions, who advanced to the OUA East semi-finals last season, are aiming to return to the CIS National Championship in Ottawa for the third time in the past five seasons. For the entire 2007-08 Lions schedule, visit www.sport.yorku.ca Mike Koreen, Sport and Recreation Information Officer York University; Email: mkoreen@yorku.ca

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Congratulations to Canada's Coach "K"

Thanks to X alum J. Richard Johnson for sending us a pair of links detailing the latest honours bestowed upon legendary St. FX Head Coach Steve Konchalski, who is part of the 2007 Nova Scotia Hall of Fame class. Coach K is a basketball institution in Atlantic Canada and one of Canada's most successful coaches on an international level going back to the 1976 Olympics in Montreal when, as part of Coach Jack Donohue's staff, Canada finished 4th, part of 3 Olympic games in which Konchalski was on Canada's staff. Coach K also was Head Coach of Team Canada for 4 years and has won 3 CIS National championships (1993, 2000, 2001). Gordie Sutherland from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald provides this update Nine including Konchalski to be inducted to Nova Scotia Hall and Jody Jewers from the Halifax Daily News summarizes in No one had to squeak into Hall of Fame Here is a bio on Coach Konchalski courtesy of the St. FX X-Men basketball site Coach K Bio

Former Brandon Head Coach Jerry Hemmings plus former CIAU All-Canadians from the early 1990's Eric Bridgeland (Manitoba Bisons) and Jeff Foreman (Winnipeg Wesmen) were recently named to the Manitoba Basketball Hall-of-Fame as part of the 2007 class Manitoba Basketball Hall-of-Fame Class of 2007

Rick Northrup from B.C.'s Terrace Standard introduces the nation to 6'2" Malcolm Mensah from Caledonia, described by his coach as the best player he has ever coached Cal player named to Provincial team

This recent article from the Peterborough Examiner provides some insights into athletic scholarships against the back drop of Trent University's decision to be the only school out of 19 Ontario universities not to offer first-year scholarships Sport for all at Trent University

FISU Games Squad to take next step

Canada's representatives at the FISU (World University) Games in Bangkok, Thailand in early August are coming to the end of their Durham College training camp and coaches Chris O'Rourke (Guelph), Darrell Glenn (Humber) and Dave DeAveiro (Ottawa) are busy trying to finalize their roster for the event in which they begin play on August 7th against the host Thailand side. While no official decisions have been made, chances are good that several CIS players will represent their country at this event. The team has several top point guards remaining in camp including uOttawa's 6'4" Josh Gibson-Bascombe (Toronto, ON; Jarvis C.I.), who has been impressive when right but at times has struggled with his consistency. A big guard who can score, lead the break and distribute, Gibson-Bascombe (pictured) has a chance to earn major minutes for the FISU squad. Also at the point are 6'3" Jamie McNeilly (Toronto, ON; Mother Teresa and University of New Orleans) who logged major minutes this season for the Privateers and 6'0" Central Connecticut State star Tristan Blackwood (Toronto, ON; Eastern Commerce) who has been a loyal National team program member for many summers including a couple of summers ago when Canada upset the USA 93-90 at the 2005 FIBA U-21 World Championships in Argentina. The FISU squad appears deep and talented at the point with a triumverate from downtown Toronto. A pair of CIS stars headline a potentially solid group of wings as Canadian National team program veteran 6'3" Garry Gallimore (pictured - Ottawa, ON; Woodroffe H.S. and St. FX), a lock-down defender with the strength and aggressiveness to rebound in traffic and get to the rim in transition and 6'3" Casey Archibald (Salmon Arm, B.C. and UBC All-Canadian), a classic scorer who knows how to use screens to get open and can also slash to the rim and hammer it when necessary. Gallimore and Archibald are perfect complements for each other and should be in a position to get significant minutes in the rotation. 6'5" Max Gosselin, a lanky, hard-working wing from Montreal via St.Lambert CEGEP, should be in the mix as well with his ability to defend and rebound supported by his experience in playing in the NCAA tournament last season. Another Toronto product, 6'5" Jevohn Sheppard from Scarborough West Hill and the University of Michigan, where he just finished his sophomore season, is likely to round out the FISU squads set of wing players. Up front, the club could draw from a combination of strength, finesse and athleticism led by 6'8" Theo Davis (pictured - Toronto, ON; Gonzaga), who has been a pleasant surprise with a tremendous team-oriented attitude and out-of-sight athleticism that should see him log minutes in the rotation. Improving 6'8" Willie Galick (Naniamo, BC; Pepperdine last season, transfering to Cal State-Northridge) has tremendous leaping ability and was also part of Canada's U-21 team that defeated the USA in 2005 and 6'11" Scott Morrison (Vancouver, BC; Argyle S.S.; Portland State University) should complement Davis up front and a wealth of CIS stars including 6'8" J.P. Morin (pictured - Gatineau, PQ; Montmorency CEGEP, Laval University), who has been hurt for some of the camp, 6'8" Ross Bekkering (Taber, AL, University of Calgary), 6'6" Jacob Doerksen (Abbotsford, BC; Rick Hansen H.S. and University of Victoria) and 6'10" Neil MacDonald (Sydney Mines, NS; St. FX), who also participated in the 2005 U-21 World Championships during which Canada defeated the USA. The FISU squad, which will next reassemble in late July at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. for a few days of training before moving on to Thailand for another week of training in early August, has a significant CIS presence and expect the players from our league to display their talents to the world at these games. Stay tuned for the official announcement of the roster in the coming weeks.

Junior Nationals complete Durham camp; New Jersey camp next

Canada's Men's Junior National team, under the tutelage of Head Coach Greg Francis (NEDA Boys Head Coach) and Assistant Craig Beaucamp (UVic), completed their initial training camp in preparation for the FIBA U-19 World Championships in Serbia which begin on July 12th when Canada faces Nigeria. About 30 players participated in the Junior National camp and speculation is that 16 players remain with the squad, with the final roster of twelve with some alternates to be named closer to the worlds. The players head to Monmouth (N.J.) College next week for what amounts to a mini-camp and Canada is scheduled to scrimmage against a team of NCAA college and pro players, which will give them their first chance to see how they stack up against other opponents. Although not official, here is one take on who the 16 players are that will make their way to New Jersey next week for the mini camp. Arguably Canada's best current high school player, 6'2" Devoe Joseph (pictured) from Pickering H.S., Ontario "AAAA" high school champions this past season, played a key role on last year's group that qualified for the world's and Joseph promises take even more of a leading role this summer. Other veterans from last season's team that should get major burn this summer include 6'6" Jonathan House (Guelph Centennial headed to Belmont University) who has tremendous perimeter skills including range beyond the 3 point line and a game very well suited to international basketball and 6'8" Scott Brittain (Oakville, ON; Boston University sophomore-to-be), who is strong enough to guard posts bigger than him and is versatile enough to create perimeter mismatches for opponent's bigs including spotting up for 3's in transition. 6'2" Chretien Lakusa (Toronto Eastern Commerce headed to Binghamton University) has seen time at both guard spots and looks to be another solid contributor to the program. 6'0" Juevol Myles from Pickering H.S. also was on last season's roster and looks to contribute as point guard on this summer's team. A number of younger players who have a bright future with the National program also should warrant strong consideration for U-19 roster spots this summer including 6'5" Alwayne Bigby (pictured - Toronto Eastern Commerce; only 16 years old), 6'0" Corey Joseph (Devoe's younger brother; only 15 years old) and emerging 6'9" Maurice Walker (Toronto Mother Teresa; only 15 years old) who demonstrated a very mature offensive game with great hands and an array of finishing skills around the basket. Bigby and Joseph have had experience in national and international competition and are only getting better and Walker, who got his first taste of what it takes to play at the international level, proved to be extremely coachable and showed tremendous overall skills including a perimeter jumper out beyond the arc. With solid work, he could mature into a star of the future. Another Toronto Eastern Commerce product, diminutive 5'9" Keaton Cole also showed solid leadership and skills as a pure point guard. Probably the most improved player from last summer to this was 6'5" Kai Williams (Regina, SK; South Dakota State sophomore-to-be) who has extended his game out further on the perimeter, plays with much more poise and confidence and can now be counted on to play both forward spots where needed. A pair of CIS stars-to-be, 6'7" Boris Bakovic (pictured - Toronto East York; Ryerson U. sophomore-to-be) and 6'8" Aaron Chapman (Belleville Nicholson; Carleton freshman-to-be) could be in the mix at the forward spots with Bakovic showing tremendous improvement from last year to this, playing with more confidence offensively and generally showing the type of aggressiveness required to get time when it matters. Up front at the 5 spot, two emerging young big men 6'10" Zach Nagtzaam (Cambridge Southwood; headed to Ohio University) and 6'11" Max Craig-Zuyderhoff (Quebec; Loyola Marymount) potential give Canada a pair of skilled offensive talents in the paint with Craig-Zuyderhoff especially improving dramatically from last year, adding a solid jump hook and generally showing solid finishing skills around the rim. Another CIS talent who we talked about earlier who should be in the mix is fundamentally-sound 6'2" point guard Alex Murphy (pictured - U.B.C.), who very obviously has benefited from a year in a solid CIS program playing against veterans each and every day. A dark horse could also be 6'5" Dwayne Smith, another 3/4 type, who will play high school basketball for Pickering H.S. this coming season. We will provide you with the official roster once it is announced officially. Best of luck to the U-19's in New Jersey next week who will then come back to Durham for a final set of practices before heading off to Serbia in early July. We will provide a breakdown of the tournament as the dates draw nearer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

CIS Meetings Recap plus FIBA U-19 News

Tonight's lead story concerns the recent CIS meetings as Tim Switzer of the Regina Leader-Post does a very job of summarizing many of the initiatives put forth in PEI. Among the motions that apparently have passed are "Letters of Intent" for student/athletes and a new 16 team format for CIS women's basketball. An attempt to bring the minimum average for qualifying for student/athlete bursaries from 80% down to 65% was rejected. Here is the entire story Pair of changes rejected at meeting

With the Canadian U-19 squad expected to be chosen within the next couple of days, we can begin to look ahead at some of Canada's opponents at the tournament which begins July 7th in Novi Sad, Serbia. Canada has been placed in Group C with Australia, Nigeria and Turkey. Coach Greg Francis's squad opens up against what should be a formidable team from Nigeria, which includes at least 2 players who will play NCAA Division 1 basketball next season including one of the top graduating seniors from U.S. high schools. Here is a look at the Nigerian team which includes 7'1" Solomon Alabi (Montverde (FL) Academy) who has been rated as high as the #4 graduating center from U.S. high school ranks, high school teammate 6'10" Joseph Katuka and Emmanuel Nedegu, another Nigerian attending high school in the U.S. Alabi has signed a letter of intent with Florida State while Katuka will attend George Washington beginning this autumn. Nigerian U-19 Preview

Trials for Team USA U-19 squad take place in Colorado Springs, CO between June 28th and 30th and as usual the Americans have a full array of stars rated among the nation's best prep ballers prepared to represent their country at the FIBA U-19 World Championships. USA did not medal the last time FIBA held an U-19 tournament in Greece in 2003, so expect current DePaul University Head Coach Jerry Wainwright to have his group ready to play this time around Team USA Tryout Preview

The Australian's have had their roster picked for a number of weeks already, drawing on their successful and powerful National Development program for elite players for the majority of their U-19 roster Australia U-19 Men's Roster

Argentina will take part in the Global Games in Dallas between July 3 and 8 before travelling to the World Championship in Serbia, where they will face Spain, South Korea and Puerto Rico in Group D.
Argentina U-19 Men's Roster

Brazil has been placed in Group A with France, Lebanon and Lithuania Brazil's U-19 Men's Squad

A nice introductory article by Raveena Aulakh from the Hamilton Spectator on Michelle O'Keefe, newest Executive Director at Basketball Ontario O'Keefe brings wealth of basketball knowledge to her new job

A note from SoonerSports.com on the University of Oklahoma's visit to Canada during the Labour Day weekend. The Sooners, led by second-year coach Jeff Capel, a Duke University grad, will play UBC, Simon Fraser and Trinity Western from Canada West (CIS). Oklahoma recently announced that 6'9" Ryan Wright from Mississauga, ON will be transfering to their program but will have to sit out this coming season as a transfer OU Bound for Canada over Labor Day

Thomas Report & Hooptown GTA

Much thanks to good friend Jim Thomas with whom I've traded hoops stories for almost two decades for his kind words in his latest "Thomas Report" which appears on the "The Hoop-La" web site run by Kirk Alfaro out of Hamilton. As many know, Jim has been a fixture on the Ontario basketball scene for over 20 years and when we last saw Jim, he made the comment that he'll probably die in a gym somewhere. Thomas has published "All-Ontario Scouting Service" for many years and has a tremendous memory, easily recalling great Ontario players of the past going back to the late 70's, early 80's. In this most recent edition of his report, Jim comments on highly-touted Andrew Nicholson, the Ottawa Guardsmen and another recruit for the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. To access the latest Thomas Report, click here

Another solid web site that tracks hoops in the Greater Toronto Region is "Hooptown GTA" and a recent addition to that site is a series of photos and information on Canada's U-19 team. Click here for another view of our U-19 team which will compete for Canada at the FIBA U-19 World Championships in Serbia next month.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Chapman, Bakovic, Murphy Impress at U-19 Camp

The final roster for Canada's entry at the FIFA World U-19's in Serbia will not be announced for at least a couple of days however Head Coach Greg Francis already feels his group is coming together nicely with a solid blend of talent and team unity. The pressures of playing for your country in a hostile environment such as what it is likely to be in the Serbian gyms demand a group that is not only talented but plays together through situations when things aren't going very well. To that end, Francis (pictured) feels this group is maturing rapidly in that area. While the group has a number of highly-touted players who are or will be playing in the NCAA next season, Francis also has noted that a group of players with CIS ties are also capable of making an impact with his team. 6'8" Aaron Chapman (Belleville, ON; freshman-to-be at Carleton) has been very good and has a chance to stick on the roster as does 6'7" Boris Bakovic (Toronto, ON; sophomore-to-be at Ryerson), who spent much of the summer working out under the watchful eye of Francis and, being of Serbian heritage, wants desperately to get to play in his parent's homeland. We've already written about the solid work of 6'1" Alex Murphy, who has been playing like a seasoned veteran with post-secondary experience under his belt and has a solid IQ on floor; Murphy has been another CIS player who has caught the coaching staff's eye, taking care of the ball and making good decisions. The final roster should be announced by Wednesday and we plan to have the entire roster for you when it becomes available. Best of luck to Coach Francis, his staff and team on a successful summer.

SENIOR TEAM UPDATES: After missing the initial set of workouts, 6'2" point guard Jermaine "Rock" Anderson came into camp and has been as solid as his nickname warrants. Anderson could likely log big minutes at the lead guard for Canada at the Pan-Am Games in Rio next month. Arguably the best player in camp has been 6'5" Olu Famutimi, who originally attended Chaminade C.S. in Toronto before playing his final 2 seasons of high school basketball in Michigan and then accepting a scholarship with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Famutimi then declared for the NBA draft after 2 seasons and went undrafted but has continued to work extremely hard, attending pre-season camps with the 76ers and Spurs before moving to the D-League. Famutimi appears to have played his way into a prominent role with the program in some capacity, showing a tremendous attitude combined with graceful and effortless style on the court. Let's hope his continued hard work and success leads to bigger and brighter things for this emerging star who is still just 23 years old. Canada Basketball veteran Jermaine Bucknor (Edmonton, AL) has also impressed at the wing spot. Bucknor, who graduated in 2006 after 4 seasons with the NCAA's Richmond Spiders, subsequently attended Toronto Raptors pre-season camp and then played last season in France, has been a loyal player with the program for several summers going back to his junior team days. Over the next few days, we should get word on the rosters for the U-19's, FISU Games squad and the Senior Men's team for the Pan-Am Games. Stay tuned.

More Notes from the Weekend

At Canada Basketball's training camp in Oshawa, 6'2" guard Jermaine Anderson reported to camp over the weekend and has been playing well at the point. He should be a big part of the Senior team's roster going to the Pan-Am Games... Updates from the U-19 camp include 6'6" Justin Bell and others getting cut (rosters for all teams should be announced soon) yesterday. 6'7" Olu Ashaolu, 5'11" Junior Cadougan and 6'4" Curtis Trotter were all no shows, choosing instead to attend a U.S. elite camp over the weekend. Stay tuned for more news as it becomes available.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Canada Basketball Durham College Camp Update

The workouts continue in Oshawa as Canada Basketball looks to fill rosters for a series of international competitions this summer. While many of the Senior Men's team veterans who could play for Canada this summer such as Rowan Barrett, Carl English, Juan Mendez and Samuel Dalembert are not at this camp, a strong contingent of young players, including several with CIS ties, are battling to continue to seek a spot on the roster for the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifier in Las Vegas between August 20th and September 2nd. First major tournament of the summer for the Senior Men's team is the Pan-Am Games in Rio de Janerio, Brazil between July 20th and 30th and expect several of the participants in this camp to play for Canada at that competition. Carleton's big three of 6'2" Osvaldo Jeanty, 6'7" Aaron Doornekamp and 6'4" Ryan Bell are working with the Senior team and Jeanty, one of the hardest working players to ever play in the CIS, has been very good according to sources. Doornekamp has battled a knee injury but has not missed any practice time while Bell has been steady at the point, defending, rebounding and finding people. Other CIS stars who have made an impact include UBC's 6'4" Casey Archibald, who should be a mainstay on the FISU team as a primary scorer on the wing, 6'4" Josh Gibson-Bascombe from the University of Ottawa who has been solid while shuffling between both guard spots, 6'3" Garry Gallimore from St. FX who has generally been locking up his checks, rebounding and making his open shots although has turned the ball over getting too deep in the lane on occasion and 6'6" Jacob Doerksen who could be playing his way into a spot on the FISU team. 6'7" J.P. Morin (hamstring) and 6'9" Doug McKinney (elbow) were injured on the first day of camp and did not practice through Saturday night.

U-19 Update: We've already alluded to the solid camp 6'1" Alex Murphy from UBC has had, pushing for a spot on the roster. A future CIS player in camp who may have a shot at the roster is Carleton's 6'8" Aaron Chapman, who can play both forward spots but is likely better suited at the "4". Others in camp with CIS ties include 6'7" Boris Bakovic (OUA Freshman-of-the-Year and CIS All-Freshman Team), 6'3" Elliot Thompson (New Brunswick/headed to Carleton), 6'5" Cole Hobin (Ottawa, ON via Eastern Commerce Prep headed to Carleton), 6'2" Tyrell Vernon (Hamilton, ON; likely headed to McMaster), 6'6" Justin Bell (Mississauga, ON; headed to the University of Ottawa) and 6'8" Tyler Fidler (Calgary, AL; headed to the University of Calgary). After this camp which goes through early this coming week, the U-19's are scheduled to head to Monmouth College in New Jersey for a 3 day training camp starting next Wednesday, June 27th before coming back to Oshawa for more workouts in advance of the FIBA U-19 World Championships in Novi Sad, Serbia between July 7th and 22nd.

Here is an article from a Louisiana State University-related publication outlining LSU Tigers trip to Canada on Labour Day weekend for 3 games in the GTA against Guelph, York and Toronto Tigers will play 3 in Canada

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Canada Basketball Tryouts: First Day Notes

Canada Basketball began their four-day tryout camp at Durham College in Oshawa yesterday and there were a couple of surprises on Day One as 6'2" Jermaine Anderson, who played his high school ball at Toronto's Eastern Commerce before moving on to Fordham University, was a no-show at the camp. Anderson, who spent this past season playing professionally in Poland, was expected to battle for a spot in the rotation at point guard for our Senior Men's team this summer. One of the stronger efforts on Day One of the Senior Men's workouts came from St. FX's athletic 6'3" wing Garry Gallimore, who works on his game and conditioning as hard as or harder than anyone during the off-season and again was prepared to take on all comers yesterday. Gallimore, who just completed his fourth year at X and has graduated from his undergraduate program on time, is still deciding his career path for next season and a big summer could secure him a professional contract. The Junior Men's National team, which will represent Canada at the FIBA U19 games in mid-July in Serbia, also worked out and some of the top performers on Day One of the Junior camp included 5'11" Tremaine Fraser (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia), who is headed to Cape Breton U. next season, 6'1" point guard Alex Murphy, who just completed his freshman season at UBC playing in CIS Canada West and 6'8" Aaron Chapman (freshman-to-be at Carleton from Belleville Moira). Stay tuned for more information as it becomes avaiable.

Friday, June 15, 2007

In the News

Former Lethbridge Pronghorn Scott MacKinnon and his younger brother, Victoria-Vike-to-be Ryan MacKinnon are trying to give back to the community with a basketball camp in Comox, BC Hoop Stars camp will help others shine

Northern Life.ca welcomed new Laurentian coach Shawn Swords back to Sudbury with this article Former LU basketball star returns as coach

Former Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario high school star D.J. Wright recently committed to Louisiana Tech University, the alma mater of Karl Malone and in this article he is described by his prep school coach Rohan Russell as a "very similar to Glen Rice" DJ Wright to La Tech

A pair of Sudbury players from LaSalle high school, Riley Fortier and Andrew Lalonde, recently attended a camp in the U.S. Both could be future CIS players Opening some eyes; Lancer teammates shine at U.S. basketball camp

Here is another article lauding the efforts of organizers of the recent Friendship Games in Israel, won by Canada's own Concordia University Stingers Coming together on the court

The fledgling Halifax Rainmen of the ABA recently held a set of tryouts in Halifax at The Tower at St. Mary's Would-be Rainmen hold court

We will have a complete schedule of all CIS vs. NCAA Labour Day games coming up at the end of the summer however the Kentucky Wildcats, with new coach Billy Gillespe, are also talking about visiting Canada in this Louisville Courier-Journal article Kentucky to visit Canada ?

A breakdown of Surrey, BC area players who will represent B.C. in national competitions this season; many of these players are likely to end up playing in the CIS in the not-too-distant future Local Teens named to B.C. teams

Canada Basketball Open Tryouts

Canada Basketball held open tryouts earlier this week for the Senior and Young Men's national teams and a number of CIS players and players-to-be worked out with the hope of catching the eye of the coaching staffs enough to secure an invitation to the main camp which begins today at Durham College in Oshawa. Senior men's tryouts were seperate from the Young Men's tryouts and 6'8" Ross Bekkering from the Calgary Dinos was the lone player from the 40 or so players attending the Senior men's tryout to obtain an invitation to the main camp beginning on Friday. The coaching staff chose three players from the junior tryout including 6'6" Justin Bell from Rick Hansen H.S. in Mississauga, who plans to attend the University of Ottawa next season, and 6'5" Tsing Kasamba from St. Francis H.S. in St. Catherines, who will likely return to high school again for a fifth year and will again play for former Brock Badger guard Pat Sullivan. St. Francis was the finalist at "AA" OFSAA Ontario championships this past March in Perth.

2007 Men's National team program's main camp begins today at Durham College in Oshawa to determine rosters for both the Senior Men's team, which has a very busy summer schedule including the Pan-Am Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil Pan-Am Games 2007 Rio Basketball site and the FISU Games team FISU Games Site. Thirty-two (32) players have been invited to this weekend's camp in Oshawa including the following CIS players: Guards- 6'4" Ryan Bell (Carleton/Ottawa, ON), 6'4" Josh Gibson-Bascombe (Ottawa/Toronto, ON), 6'2" Osvaldo Jeanty (Carleton/Ottawa, ON). Wings- 6'4" Casey Archibald (UBC/Salmon Arm, BC), 6'7" Aaron Doornekamp (Carleton, Kingston, ON), 6'3" Garry Gallimore (St. Francis Xavier/Ottawa, ON), 6'8" Ross Bekkering (Calgary/Taber, AL), 6'6" Jacob Doerksen (Victoria/Abbttsford, BC), 6'11" Neil MacDonald (St. Francis Xavier/Sydney, NS), 6'9" Doug McKinney (UPEI/Charlottetown, PEI), 6'8" J.P. Morin (Laval/ Gatineau, PQ). Charles Reid from the PEI Guardian provides an article on native Doug McKinney as the former Panther prepares to tryout this weekend Panther off to another hoop camp: Doug McKinney will be trying out for two national teams

An article from the Lansing State Journal on David Thomas, originally from Toronto but who played at Michigan State on an NCAA tournament championship team and just finished a season in Australia. Thomas also has spent considerable time with our National team program and is giving back to the community with a series of basketball camps in East Lansing Close to 300 participate in ex-Spartan's basketball clinic

Congratulations to former National team coach Jay Triano who recently was re-signed as an Assistant Coach for the NBA's Toronto Raptors Triano Named Assistant Again

An article on 16 year old 6'9" Mike Allison, son of former National team player Wayne Allison, a Hamilton native who attended Westmount and Hamilton Collegiate Institute before suiting up with Wooster College in Ohio and the University of Windsor Lancers in the 1970's. The younger Allison is taller than his dad and appears to have a bright future NEDA puts Allison in hoops heaven

A touching article by Howard Tsumura on a former B.C. high school basketball player who was tragically run down and the lasting legacy that has help memorialize him Keast's work ethic said it all

An article on a donation to the Saskatchewan Huskies women's basketball program from a local construction magnate Huskies benefit yet again from Graham's generosity

Staying with the fundraising theme, here is an excellent article by Bruce Kidd on the NewsUofT web site. Professor Bruce Kidd, a former Olympian, is dean of the Faculty of Physical Education and Health at the University of Toronto Reaching for the top: Excellence in all fields, including athletics, is a hallmark of the University of Toronto

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

CIS AGM Motions with possible effects on basketball

Interesting developments have arisen from this week's CIS Annual General Meetings (or "AGM) that could have an effect on basketball in a couple of ways. Sources indicate that among the motions being put forth are Letters of Intent for student/athletes and the ability for a first-year student to transfer to a CIS school without having to sit out a year prior to their second year (applies only to the year between their first and second year).

Letters of Intent have been discussed among those in the basketball community for years as a solution to kids verbally committing and then later fleeing to another school without repercusion. Unfortunately, I'm not completely aware of the full legalities of Letters of Intent in the U.S. although as good friend Dave "Wellsie" Wells notes in an email, Letters of Intent in the U.S. are not even governed by the NCAA National Letters of Intent site. My take from the perspective of a coach recruiting kids is that it would help solidify the roster earlier and make a coach's life easier. However my take as a parent or a student/athlete is to question how binding the contract is; what little I know about contract law is that for a contract to be legal both parties must receive some consideration, so if this is the case then only those student/athletes receiving financial assistance (or anything else of consideration) in return for their binding commitment would fit. Beyond that, issues such as which governing body oversees the contracts, how to arbitrate in the event contracts are broken and many other possible issues need to be addressed. In other words, what process takes over in the event of a party breaking the contract or other. As well, practically speaking, how many basketball programs are funded to the tune of adding another $30,000 to $35,000 to their annual budgets strictly for student/athlete bursaries? Scholarships/bursaries are a solid idea on the surface but how many programs actually have the budget to pay their players year after year? (12 student athletes getting $3,500 per year over 5 years amounts to over $200,000 in cash outlays strictly for scholarships/bursaries. My current take is that the administrative issues alone need to be well thought through with the aid of legal teams to design a proper structure that ensures all parties who enter into these contracts are well served and, more importantly, that a proper arbitration support system is available for the inevitable challenges that will occur at some point (and who will foot the bill to pay for the lawyers).

The "transfer after first year without sitting out" rule appears to have more practical merit as young men, some still as young as 17 years old, can make mistakes with what is in many cases the most important decision they've made up to that point in their lives. By allowing those who may have made the quote/unquote "wrong" decision initially to reconsider without missing playing time, the system is providing an out for the kids. As Wellsie suggests, this rule could make it much more appealing for Canadians who spent their first season in the U.S. to return to the CIS as they could play immediately. It has also been suggested that this rule may encourage the recruiting process to continue even though a player has gone to a certain school for first-year. From a purely basketball perspective, the idea of making a young kid sit out a year has ripple effects down the road since, with the five year eligibility rule, a student/athlete playing five years plus sitting another out means six years of school. Unless the student/athlete moves on to do graduate work (very few do), this helps no one in my opinion and can provide an academic crutch that in the long run probably doesn't help the kid in my opinion. Undergraduate academic programs are three and four years for a reason and spending six years (or more) in university to get a 3 or 4 year degree, in the long run can lead to complacency when the student/athletes basketball career ends and the kid is faced with assimilating into mainstream society.

Apparently, the motions should be discussed and possibly voted upon this week. We'll try to provide more information if and when it becomes available.

In the News

Long-time CIS basketball follower Bill Malley, a regular on McMaster basketball radio broadcasts and contributor to various publications on Canadian basketball over the years (among other things), is widely quoted in this Larry Moko authored tribute to the late Bill Sturrup who tonight in Prince Edward Island will be named winner of the prestiguous 2006-07 Fred Sgambati Award, presented annually since 1972 to a member of the national news media who has made a major contribution to the development and growth of Canadian Interuniversity Sport. Sturrup honoured with Fred Sgambati Award

The Saskatchewan Huskies announce an addition to the their men's basketball coaching staff under Head Coach Greg Jockims Long-time Crusaders' basketball coach takes leap to college level with Huskies

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Western Mustangs Announce one more recruit

Brzozowicz latest recruit to join Mustangs men's hoops squad: Western's hoops team continues to improve with strong recruiting class (from Western Sports Information)

LONDON, Ont. - Alex Brzozowicz, a 6'2" transfer guard from Chicago, has joined the Western Mustangs men's basketball program. Brzozowicz played two seasons at the University of Michigan (2004-2005 and 2005-2006) with limited playing time, but he gained valuable collegiate experience in the U.S. "We are very pleased Alex will be joining our program," said Mustangs head coach Brad Campbell. "Alex is a tremendous athlete who will provide us with depth and veteran leadership from the guard position." Before college, Brzozowicz played at St. Ignatius College in Oak Park, Illinois, averaging 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks per game. "I am extremely excited to join the Mustangs basketball program," Brzozowicz said. "I am happy to get this opportunity to continue my athletic career at the university level and help Western to become one of the best teams in the country." "I think we are going to have a great team next year and I really just can't wait to show the rest of Canada what we can do," Brzozowicz said. (Media Note: Pronounced bra-ZAHZ-ah-VITCH)

2007 Western Mustangs Men’s Basketball Recruiting Class

G Alex Brzozowicz, 6’2”,University of Michigan (NCAA Div. 1); Chicago, Ill.
G/F Keenan Jeppesen, 6’7”, Brown University (NCAA Div. 1); Stoney Creek, Ont.
G Ryan Barbeau, 5’10”, Nicholson High School, Belleville, Ont.
F Garrett Olexiuk, 6’6”, Lester B. Pearson High School, Burlington, Ont.
F Colin LaForme, 6’10”, Youngstown State (NCAA Div. 1), Hamilton, Ont.

Media Contact: Andy Watson / 519 661.3089 / awatso47@uwo.ca / www.westernmustangs.ca

Monday, June 11, 2007

Nick Cooke to RMC, Queen's Announcement

About 10 days ago we had reported through Barry Hayes' hooplife.ca that 6'9" Nick Cooke from Toronto Eastern Commerce had changed his mind on a commitment to RMC but Cooke has officially and finally reconfirmed his desire to attend RMC, play basketball and study/work to become a pilot. Congratulations to the RMC program and especially hard-working coach Kevin Maguire on adding Cooke to a deep and well-talented recruiting class.

Queen's Golden Gaels coaches Rob Smart and Duncan Cowan have also been working hard try to replace numerous rotation players lost to graduation and the result is summarized in a release from Queen's in which it was announced that 6'5" forward Jon Ogden from St.Theresa S.S. in Belleville, ON, 6'5" guard Nick DiDonato from St. Basil. S.S. in Sault Ste. Marie, ON, 6'0" OCAA transfer Leng Yeang (St. Clair College – Windsor, ON), 6'6" forward Travis Mitchell, another transfer from St. Lawrence College, originally from Ottawa, ON, athletic 6'2" Tim Boyle from Nicholson C.C. (Belleville, ON) and 6'1" guard Dan Bannister from Sacred Heart S.S. in Newmarket, ON have committed to the Gaels program for next season. Here is the link to the story on queensbasketball.net, the Gaels fan-supported site Gaels announce recruits for 2007

Alex J. Walling from the Halifax Daily News reports on the fledgling Halifax franchise and the trials and tribulations of the ABA The ABA is a league full of holes

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Back after some time in the basement

A bit of layoff due to family and work committments however first of all congratulations to Shawn Swords for being named Head Coach of the Laurentian Voyageurs earlier this week. I recall when Swords was a freshman at Laurentian and I was responsible for the Voyageurs scouting report as an Assistant Coach at Ottawa U. He came out of high school as a guy who wanted to get to the rim more than shooting it and, up to that point in time, I thought of him as an inconsistent outside shooter. So we told our kids to defend the drive on him and doesn't he get himself open at the end of the game to nail a three that helped win the game (also partially explaining why I write about CIS basketball rather than coach it). Shawn was a fierce competitor whether it was playing for Laurentian, for Canada or in a local summer league and I'm certain he will bring that same competitive spirit to Laurentian and the OUA East, which is arguably the toughest conference to play/recruit/compete in. Neate Sager added his thoughts to Ottawa native's Swords hiring in a recent post on his blog With Swords Paddling, Vees won't be up the creek and finally here is a story from the Sudbury Star announcing the hiring Swords to lead LU; Former Voyageurs standout returns 10 years later to coach

In other Laurentian-related news, former Lady Vees All-Canadian Sue Stewart (pictured in action playing for Canada's National women's team), a native of Toronto who played for Laurentian in many of the same years that Swords did, has suffered through some cancer-related health issues over the past few years and as Alison Korn reports in a recent Sun Media column, Stewart is finding ways to overcome her challenges Sue Stewart: More to Life than Hoops thanks to Neate Sager from Out of Left Field for this link.

Concordia Stingers spent the past 2 weeks in Israel and made Canada proud by winning a pair of tournaments including the second annual Friendship Games. There are several links summarizing the trip beginning with a Concordia-in-Israel trip recap from Concordia web site Stingers win Friendship Games in Israel also a note from the Friendship Games web site quoting coach John Dore and providing the entire set of results Friendship Games blog An article highlighting the social importance of these games and why it was so important to have Canadian representation at these games Israelis and Palestinians play ball for peace Quebec's largest English weekly newspaper, the Suburban, pays tribute to the Stingers and their tremendous showing in Israel with a lengthy article Stingers play ball in Israel

A nice story by John Kernaghan from the Hamilton Spectator on the inclusion of Ray Jones into Canada's Basketball Hall-of-Fame along with the other members of the 1976 Olympic team, including current St.FX Head Coach Steve Konchalski who had a lot to do with correcting the oversight Jones Headed to Hall: Basketball Canada corrects oversight against manager/trainer

A nice piece that recently appeared on tsn.ca about Canada Basketball's NEDA program which has attracted their first group of student/athletes in time for this coming fall Kids chase Canadian basketball dreams Another solid piece by Larry Moko of the Hamilton Spectator on the NEDA boys team NEDA Boys

The Abbotsford News reports on the latest in the search for the next UCFV men's basketball head coach Door is open for Lee and Antil to return to UCFV basketball team

Ryan Pyette from the London Free Press reports on Saturday's All-Star Charity classic at Fanshawe College in London Fanshawe hosts All-Star contest

Prince George B.C.'s UNBC Northern Timberwolves from the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association have announced a tremendous addition to their basketball programs UNBC adds a heavy hitter

Calgary-based team gets off to rough start at Kansas summer tournament Canadians get rough start at MAYB

Queen's University recently hired ex-Canada Basketball Executive Director Leslie Dal Cin as Director of Athletics. The hiring comes at a time when there is unprecedented financial support for Queen's athletics including a new building being constructed to replace Bartlett Gymnasium as the home of the basketball Gaels. Claude Scilley of the Kingston Whig-Standard provides more insight in this recent article discussing the hiring A winning personality; 'Outsider' boss could shake up Queen's athletics