Monday, 31 August 2009

Sad note from Lethbridge

Coach Dave Adams from University of Lethbridge sent along this very sad and moving note about a pair of Pronghorn alumns. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family.

Greetings to all in Horns Nation.

Please remember in your thoughts and prayers Krista Heidinger, former Horn and current Assistant Coach for the Women's program, who passed away from complications from a blood clot yesterday.

Krista was happily married to former Horn great Jared Heidinger, and both were proud supporters of the University of Lethbridge.

Attached below are forwarded messages from School District #51 and from Jared himself for your background information.

Horns Nation is ALL about supporting each other, and would ask you all to find your own way to support Jared and his young family in their challenges ahead.

We will be shutting down our two a day practices on the day of the funeral (do not have the details yet), and having the current Horns attend the service in support of the Heidingers.

Thanks for your support of the current Horns and of all our brothers and sisters in Horns Nation.

Dave Adams B. Ed. M. Ed.
Head Coach of the Pronghorns
University of Lethbridge Men's Basketball

"be the change you wish to see in the world" (Gandhi)

From School District #51

To All District Staff

It is with tremendous sadness that I inform you that our colleague Krista Heidinger passed away yesterday.

Krista began her teaching career at Wilson Middle School, and most recently taught at Mike Mountain Horse School. Krista is married to Jared, who teaches at Winston Churchill High School. She has been on leave and last Wednesday gave birth to their third child, Sophie.

Jared was able to send the message below to the staff at Churchill last evening; a very touching tribute to Krista.

At times like this words seem inadequate; all we can do is be as supportive as possible to those around us and take an extra moment to share our love with our families. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to Jared and his three children Jaxon, Grace and Sophie, as well as the extended families of Krista and Jared.

From Jared

My wife of ten years and mother of my three children passed away today due to complications from a massive blood clot that entered her lungs and then stopped her heart. She did not receive enough oxygen to her brain due to this clot. The CT scan today showed severe brain death and it is likely that her brain function actually stopped on Saturday at around 12 noon when she stopped taking breaths on her own and had to rely on the ventilator. I spent last night with her and still felt that she was still "there" and so I read her some stories and talked and prayed with her. My kids and I have had tremendous support from friends and family, and are doing well. The kids were told today by myself and a counsellor with Chinook Health. Jaxon (6) cried hard, and Grace (4) was sad and I am prepared for the fact that these may repeat themselves, for the kids and for me. Sophie who was born on Wednesday August 26th, is taking the bottle very well and is sleeping well and pooping well, which is what newborns are supposed to do. She is beautiful and precious.

When the neurologist and radiologist and internal medicine doctor saw the CT scan of Krista's brain and did a number of other tests for brain death, they all pointed to the same thing, that in fact Krista's brain was dead and dying and her heart rate was the next thing to fail. This made her an organ donor candidate so they took her to Calgary today to pass her organs on to other people desperately in need of some hope. Krista would never have had this any other way.

It is quite a thing, praying for your wife to be healed, not seeing that answer, and then realizing that she is the answer to prayer for someone who is anxiously awaiting an organ transplant. That her organs could help out a number of other families, that the pain you are feeling is similar to the pain the other families are feeling as they wait for an organ. As I helped load her body into the ambulance to go to Calgary, I realized that in fact her spirit is with our Lord in heaven and that in fact this shell in front of me was just that, a shell of who she was.

She was an amazing woman. Great wife and mother and someone who touched the lives of many people in such a positive way. At times it is absolutely unbearable to think of the task that lies before me. I am trusting that God will grant me the grace and wisdom to provide enough love to my kids to make up for the void that is now here. I have faith that He will see it through. That he wants me to trust him one step at a time. God can provide. Jesus saves. Krista is in heaven.

It is great to have support but there are already meals being provided for the next two weeks by people at the Evangelical Free Church in Lethbridge. I just need prayers.


New Coach Rana names staff at Ryerson

There is a definite Eastern Commerce alumni flavor to Coach Rana's new staff with Jason Dawkins and Collin Charles, who also played NCAA Division 1 basketball at St. John's with the then-Redmen. Also with Mohit Dayaram comes another downtown Toronto alumnus (Jarvis Collegiate). Adding Euro flavor is Turkish native Fatih Akser; with the experience Rana has had internationally, this also appears to be a good fit. This is a young but apparently very connected and hard working staff.

Rana names staff at Ryerson

Ryerson men's basketball head coach Roy Rana is pleased to introduce his staff for the upcoming 2009-10 season. Rana recently announced the hiring of Jason Dawkins, Collin Charles, Fatih Akser, Josh Ford and Mohit Dayaram.

"I am very excited about the quality of coaches we have been able to bring together for the upcoming season," said Rana, who is currently serving as an assistant coach for the Canadian National Team at the 2009 FIBA Americas Championship. "Each individual brings a high level of expertise in areas that are critical to the success of our program, along with a very strong community connection in Toronto basketball. Our staff also has numerous years of playing and coaching experience in CIS, NCAA, Provincial, and National team settings. What really stands out about this group is their passion for the sport and their desire to help lead Ryerson basketball to new heights."

Dawkins, who has experience coaching at several levels, joins Rana's staff as an assistant coach. He is the coach and head of physical education at Bloor Collegiate Institute as well as the head coach of the Ontario Provincial Development Team. Dawkins is also the Chair of the Ontario Basketball Elite Development Committee, the Chair of the Junior Development Program and has been the Convener at the Raptors Basketball Academy since its inception. During his playing career, Dawkins won two OFSAA Championships (1995 and 1996) with Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute. He then went on to play at Brandon University, where he appeared in two CIS National Championship games.

Charles, who has a decorated past as a player, will also serve an assistant coach. Charles was a member of the St. John's Red Storm team that advanced to the NCAA Men's Division 1 Basketball Championship Elite Eight in 1999. The quarter-finals finish was the second of two March Madness appearances that Charles made with St. John's. Prior to his time at St. John's, Charles experienced success at the high school level in Toronto. He was a member of an Eastern Commerce squad that won four consecutive Toronto High School Basketball Championships as well as back-to-back OFSAA Championships in 1995 and 1996. Charles was also a member of the Canadian National Junior Team in 1994, coached by current Raptors head coach Jay Triano. Charles coached the senior boys' team at William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute in 2007-08 and is the Director of the Collin Charles Basketball Camp.

Akser, a native of Istanbul, Turkey, will round out the Rams' assistant coaching staff. A veteran of the cadet, junior and professional teams of the Fenerbahce Ulker Basketball Club in Turkey, he was a part of seven provincial and state championship teams as a player. Akser later returned to Fenerbahce as a coach in 2000. He remained with the club until 2004, serving as an assistant coach with the pro team and head coach of the cadet and junior teams. During that time, his cadet and junior teams qualified for four straight state championships, claiming the Cadet championship three times. At the pro level, Akser's squads consistently qualified for the Turkish Basketball League final four and qualified for the Korac Cup and Eurochallenge Cup on two separate occasions. Currently enrolled in NCCP level four certification training, Akser has also had coaching experience on this side of the Atlantic. In Ontario, Akser served as an assistant coach on Centennial College's men's team in 2005-2006, and held a similar position at Brock University last season. At the provincial level, Akser has also acted as head coach of Basketball Ontario's Niagara Region U-15 Midget Development Program and their Toronto-based Performance Enhancement Program (PEP).

Josh Ford will join the coaching staff as the strength and conditioning coach. Ford comes to the staff with extensive experience at several levels, and in several different sports. Ford's list of basketball teams and organizations that he has worked with include Eastern Commerce C.I., Nike Centre for Performance Ontario, PEP Program Ontario and the Cadet National Basketball Team. He has also worked with the Stouffville Spirit Junior A' hockey club. Ford has worked with athletes at the amateur, CIS, NCAA, and professional levels.

Dayaram comes to Ryerson as the team's director of basketball operations. A former NCAA Division II player at Saginaw Valley State University, Dayaram currently coaches the basketball team at Jarvis Collegiate Institute, his alma mater. Dayaram also has experience working with coach Rana, having served under him at the PEP program, the Nike Centre for Performance and the 2009 Cadet Men's National Team training camp.

The Rams open their regular season November 6, when they host the Waterloo Warriors.

Ben Fisher, Sports Information Assistant

Ohio State 103, Western 68

Buckeyes complete Canada trip at 3-0 plus Ohio State Western Box Score

WINDSOR, Ontario-In the final game of three exhibition contests at the Denis Centre on the campus of the University of Windsor, the Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the University of Western Ontario 103-68.

Dallas Lauder dale led Ohio State with 21 points, most of which came during a fourth quarter 20-0 put together by the Buckeyes. Evan Turner tallied 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the win.

The Buckeyes (3-0 in Canada) shot 47 percent from the field for the game (36-77) and made 12 of 31 3-point attempts vs. the Mustangs.
Ohio State had a 51-25 advantage on the boards. Zisis Sarikopoulos had nine boards and Kyle Madsen added eight. Lauderdale was credited with seven boards.

William Buford scored 15 first half points with Walter Offutt adding 11 at the break to help the Buckeyes to a 55-34 advantage after 20 minutes. Buford also recorded nine rebounds and four assists in the win.

The Buckeyes will play Western Ontario again this season, this time on the ice at the OSU Ice Rink in the Buckeyes’ men’s hockey exhibition opener. That game will start at noon Oct. 4.

Ohio State officially begins basketball practice for the 2009-10 season Oct. 16. The Buckeyes open the season Nov. 9 in Columbus vs. Alcorn State.

NCAA Games provide fans current look at future NBAers

Kevin Martin was a little-known 6'5" forward at Western Carolina University, when in the late summer of 2003, he came to Ottawa with the Catamounts and went off for 40 points in front of a jammed crowd at Montpetit Hall.

Renaldo Balkman was a 6'5" off-the-charts athlete from University of South Carolina who dominated at both ends and in transition at Carleton's Ravens Nest in the fall of 2003 as the Gamecocks, under legendary Head Coach Dave Odom, swept through Ottawa.

Both are now NBA regulars with Martin, a starter with Sacremento Kings, proclaimed by many as one of the better pure scorers in the "League" and Balkman, who upon graduation from USC was a first round draft pick of the New York Knicks and now is one of the first off the bench with Western conference finalists Denver Nuggets.

Fans in Ottawa and indeed across the country have been blessed by being able to watch Martin, Balkman and many other talented NCAA athletes up close, prior to breaking out as NBA players. Each Labour Day weekend has provided an up close glimpse of NCAA players who CIS fans are likely to later be watching on U.S. National television and the Raptor channel.

As freshmen, both Terrence Williams and Earl Clark visited Ottawa as Louisville Cardinals. Fast forward four seasons and both Williams (New Jersey Nets) and Clark (Phoenix Suns) were first round picks in the recent NBA draft. Carleton lost a tough one point game to Louisville in Ottawa during the Labour Day weekend in 2006 on a last second put back by Juan Tello Palacios.

Carleton's 2007 victory over Alabama was noteworthy not only because the Ravens defeated the Crimson Tide by 11 but two 'Bama forwards 6'9" Richard Hendrix and 6'10" Jermareo Davidson were drafted in consecutive seasons by the Golden State Warriors.

Just last week, Portland Trailblazers signed their second-round draft pick Dante Cunningham, a forward out of Villanova who made the team look smart with a stellar summer league performance last month in Las Vegas. Villanova visited our Nation's Capital during the Labour Day weekend of 2007 and were defeated by the Ravens. As well, LSU's Anthony Randolph, who was a member of the Tigers group that played a series of games in Toronto, just finished his rookie season as a Golden State Warrior after being a first-round pick in 2008.

Last season over the Labour Day weekend, the Kansas Jayhawks provided the competition and 6'10" future NBAer Cole Aldrich was a dominant force in the middle for the Big 12 program from Lawrence, KS. Aldridge returns to Lawrence for his senior season but is touted as a Top 10 NBA draft pick.

This season, St. John's Red Storm visit Ottawa to meet Carleton Ravens on Sunday, September 6th at 2 PM at the Ravens Nest and then go across town to play Ottawa Gee-Gees at 8:30 PM.

St. John's features 6'7" Anthony Mason Jr., son of the famous NBAer noted for his slick inscriptions in his hair who starred in New York and Charlotte. Mason projects to be the leader of the Johnnies and a potential pro. A more likely star pro entering St. John's as a freshman this season is 6'4" Amari Lawrence, a slick guard from the Bronx, New York City who likely would have entered the draft out of high school had the rules not changed a few year back forcing high schoolers to play at least one season of college. on Amari Lawrence:
Attacking guard who creates in both the half-court and in transition. Can spot up and shoot, but is at his best when going to the hoop. Also one of the more polished defenders on the high school level. Doesn't take plays off; competes with great intensity. High energy player with a big wing span. Will likely be a high-major signee. Biggest area to address is perimeter game. Love him as a defensive wing at two positions.

The future for these games Labour Day games is in flux due to NCAA rules on travel once school has started so those who haven't yet should take the opportunity to come out live and watch these talented athletes.

Full Schedule:

Saturday, Sept. 5 in GTA:
Chattanooga at University of Toronto (Noon)
Chattanooga at York (8 p.m.)

Saturday, Sept. 5 in Montreal:
St. John's at McGill (1 p.m.)
St. John's at UQAM (8 p.m.)

Sunday, Sept. 6 in Ottawa:
St. John's at Carleton (1 p.m.)
St. John's at Ottawa (8:30 p.m.)

Sun., Sept. 6: Chattanooga at Guelph (8 p.m.)

Mon., Sept. 7: Chattanooga at Sheridan College (11 a.m.)

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Puerto Rico 90, Canada 70

The host Puerto Ricans had their way this evening with a listless, emotionally-worn-out Canadian team, pulling away early and then building leads as large as 32 in a 90-70 victory that completed a perfect 4-0 Group A effort and put the hosts in a strong position to qualify for Turkey. Canada also advances to the round of 8 and will carry forward a 1-2 record. Realistically, the Canadians need to go a minimum of 3-1 in games this coming week against undefeated Brazil, Dominican Republic (with 3 solid NBAers in Charlie Villenuava, Al Horford and Francisco Garcia in the lineup), a resurgent Argentina led by the tournament's top player in Luis Scola and an underrated Panama team to have any hope of finishing in the top 4 to lock down a qualifying spot.

Virtually from the get-go tonight, the emotional effects of Canada's tough loss to Uruguay last night, which will likely go down as the turning point of the tournament for Canada, was evident. Canada's quarter-court defense, which was air-tight through the first two games and reasonably strong against Uruguay (save for the multiple second chances given up), displayed no where near the energy needed to stop the hot shooting Puerto Ricans. The Canadian coaching staff quickly went to zones for several possessions as the Puerto Ricans had several open shots early and 6'2" Carlos Arroyo had his way getting into the paint.

After Canada got out to a nice start leading 7-4 behind a couple of mid-range jumpers by 6'10" Joel Anthony and an in-rhythm three by 6'5" Carl English, Arroyo took the game over and his blow-by past 6'1" Jermaine Anderson and subsequent turn around off a post up and gave the hosts their first lead at 8-7, starting a 9-0 run. It was a lead they would not relinquish again. The Puerto Ricans made 5 of their first 6 shots and pelted a huge three point barrage on the Canadians to lead 23-14 after 1 and 45-30 at half. The point totals were by far the highest allowed by Canada to this point in the tournament.

One of the keys highlighted by Canada's coaching staff prior to the tournament was the necessity to take care of the ball and take good shots. Canada failed miserably in both aspects tonight and the emotions of a bad loss last night and the challenge of playing their fourth game in four nights against the rested hosts was too much for Canada to handle. The emotions spilled over into a near-incident midway through the third quarter as with 5:20 remaining and Canada down 15, captain Jesse Young, seething from a very poor blocking call in which he clearly had position, responded to the call by giving the referee the middle finger. Canada Head Coach Leo Rautins responded by protecting his player and also taking a "T". When the free throw party and next possession were completed, Canada was down 20 and it was "game done" for all intents and purposes.

Anderson, who had 4 fouls three minutes in to the third quarter, had a difficult time with Arroyo all evening long, not being able to consistently keep the NBA calibre point in front of him and even getting a jumper uncerimonously blocked. This gave 6'0" Tyler Kepkay an opportunity for extended minutes and the backup point guard from B.C. was solid with three 3's and 11 points. 6'5" Andy Rautins came off the bench to shoot 6 for 10 from downtown to lead Canada with 18 points however 4 of those 3's came in the fourth quarter with the result already well decided. After a strong start offensively and a couple of resounding blocks inside, Anthony was not involved for long stretches in the game while English was ok when it was still a game. All in all, this was a difficult game to play and Puerto Rico made it even more difficult with how well they shot the ball and in general with how confident their entire roster played.

The schedule for the next round has been announced (see below) and here are the standings. Second round games begin on Tuesday with Canada facing Argentina (2-1) at 4 PM on the SCORE. Canada then faces Brazil at 1:30 PM on Wednesday. Losses in these 2 games will all but eliminate the Canadians.

Puerto Rico 3-0
Brazil 3-0
Argentina 2-1
Uruguay 2-1
Canada 1-2
Dominican Republic 1-2
Panama 0-3
Mexico 0-3

Uruguay vs. Dominican Republic 1:30 PM ET
Canada vs. Argentina 4 PM
Mexico vs. Brazil 6:30 PM
Puerto Rico vs. Panama 9 PM

Brazil vs. Canada 1:30 PM
Panama vs. Uruguay 16h00 (GMT-4)
Argentina vs. Mexico 18h30 (GMT-4)
Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico 21h00 (GMT-4)

Canada vs. Panama 13h30 (GMT-4)
Mexico vs. Dominican Republic 16h00 (GMT-4)
Uruguay vs. Brazil 18h30 (GMT-4)
Puerto Rico vs. Argentina 21h00 (GMT-4)

Panama vs. Mexico 13h30 (GMT-4)
Argentina vs. Uruguay 16h00 (GMT-4)
Dominican Republic vs. Canada 6:30 PM
Brazil vs. Puerto Rico 21h00 (GMT-4)

ESPN Recap of first round of FIBA Americas

FIBA Americas Qualifier: Day Five

By Alfredo R. Berrios

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Puerto Rico (4-0) concluded the Qualifying Round of the FIBA Americas Championship as the leader of Group A, followed by Uruguay (3-1), Canada (2-2), and Mexico (1-3). Brazil (4-0) leads Group B, followed by Argentina (2-2), Dominican Republic (2-2) and Panama (1-3).

Argentina moving up to the second place of Group B was one of four possible scenarios in play after the Argentineans defeated Panama on Saturday. With their victory over Dominican Republic on Sunday, Argentina eliminated Venezuela. Argentina had lost to Venezuela last Wednesday.

In their best performance so far, Argentina defeated the Dominican Republic 89-87 in overtime in the final day of Round 1.

Argentina's Luis Scola (30 points) shoots over Jack Michael Martinez and Francisco Garcia.
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

Luis Scola finished with 30 points, Paolo Quinteros scored 14 and Pablo Prigioni 11 plus 5 assists for Argentina. Al Horford led the Dominicans with 24 points and 11 rebounds, Francisco Garcia scored 20, Luis Flores 16 and Jack Michael Martinez added 13. Charlie Villanueva had a bad day with 9 points by shooting 3-13 from the field but he helped the Dominican side with 10 rebounds.

Also on Sunday, Brazil defeated Panama 84-64. Leandro Barbosa scored 17 points, Marcelo Huertas and Anderson Varejao added 15 each. Danilo Pinnock netted 24 points for Panama while Leonardo Pomare finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

All teams are off Monday although light workouts will take place in preparation for the quarterfinals. Teams will be playing four games each in the upcoming phase. The quarterfinals begin on Tuesday and will be played until Friday. The top 4 teams reach the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

FINAL STANDINGS (end of Qualifying Round)

Team - W | L

Group A
Puerto Rico - 4 | 0
Uruguay - 3 | 1
Canada - 2 | 2
Mexico - 1 | 3

Group B
Brazil - 4 | 0
Argentina - 2 | 2
Dominican Rep. - 2 | 2
Panama - 1 | 3


Accusations of corruption and problems with some of the top players like Eduardo Najera of the New Jersey Nets have plagued basketball in Mexico. However, coach Eduardo Guerrero says some luster will be restored. The goal is to take the program back to the successful level that it had in the 1970s and 1980s.

"The solution is developing [for each problem]. All the legal aspects that are of concern are in their last stances," Guerrero said before the conclusion of Round 1 of the FIBA Americas championship. "What's important now is that we have FIBA's support, which is important because we want to host and develop big tournaments."

Guerrero said that under FIBA's watchful eye, various 18-under tournaments for boys and girls have been held. Youngsters are now drawing an interest toward basketball.

"We have five international tournaments for youngsters under 16 and 17, not only for boys but also for girls and that's how we are developing talent for our national team," Guerrero explained.

As a former member of the Mexican national team, Guerrero admits a level of frustration due to Najera's absence. The forward had agreed to purchase his own insurance. However, and even with the insurance policy in place, the Nets didn't allow him to play in Puerto Rico.

"[Najera] was training with us during the COCABA tournament and was ready to join us. The only thing that was in the way was the insurance but then the Nets didn't allow him to do so."

Najera is not the only NBA player who wasn't allowed to play. He joined Mavericks guard Juan Jose Barea of Puerto Rico along with Argentineans Manu Ginobili of the Spurs and Fabricio Oberto of the Pistons.

On the other hand, Guerrero applauded Dominicans Charlie Villanueva, Francisco Garcia and Al Horford and Argentina's Luis Scola for playing with their national teams.

"It's very strange that you have other NBA players playing with pride for their countries," Guerrero said. "That's precisely what other NBA players need to feel, that their country's basketball team is very significant."

Guerrero feels enthusiastic due to a change in his players' attitudes. He hopes that it'll be passed forward to those who did not make the team.

"In terms of the national team in this tournament, we've recaptured the pride and spirit needed to represent Mexican basketball," said Guerrero. "We hope that those who didn't make it get that same feeling [of commitment]."

He described basketball in the Americas region as the strongest because of the quality of teams fighting for a spot in the Olympics and World Championships every two years.

"I think FIBA Americas' basketball is more competitive because it's harder to qualify," Guerrero said. "Just look at the United States, Argentina, Brazil [and] Puerto Rico, they're all great teams. We wait for one of them to be the champion so we have one more team [from the region] in the Olympics."

Mexico lost 54-49 to Uruguay in the final day of the first round of the FIBA Americas Championship.


Puerto Rico earned praise for its running of the FIBA Americas Championship. Now the island is working on submitting a bid for the 2018 FIBA World Championship.
Puerto Rico aspires to also host the 2011 World Youth tournament, counting on it as the next step to hosting the World Championship. Puerto Rico also hosted the World Championship in 1974.

"It is my understanding that Puerto Rico is hours away from submitting a letter [to request] the World Championship in 2018," said Salvador Vilella, president of the organizing committee in San Juan. "We'll be a great option for 2018."

Puerto Rico became the host of the 2009 FIBA Americas Championship in place of Mexico.

According to Vilella, the effort put forth by local government and private sectors opened the way to cover infrastructure expenses and operations. The remaining balance was covered by ticket sales.

"What's difficult is that this historic moment in Puerto Rico took place because the government and private businesses came together to make this happen.

"They had something to achieve," said Vilella, who in the past has been in charge of organizing FIBA Americas Championship events in the island. "The goal was for the advertisers to cover operational costs. We came up a little bit short in the end but the tickets [admission] is giving us indications that they will be picking up the remaining balance, even giving us some profit."

Considering the short-term preparation, the businessman at times had concens that the event might not be a success.

"A lot of people doubted that it could be done," Vilella recalled. "I am not going to doubt that there were some long nights when I got home and said, 'This is looking hard.'"

Puerto Rico ended the first round undefeated after winning over Canada 90-70 in front of over 9,000 fans at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum.

Carlos Arroyo and Larry Ayuso led Puerto Rico with 16 points each. Andy Rautins scored 18 for Canada. Joel Anthony grabbed 10 rebounds.


Playing at the FIBA Americas Championship has been a special experience for Dominican Francisco Garcia of the Sacramento Kings.

Two of his teammates are NBA rivals, but the chemistry and camaraderie that has been developed during initial team practices and the first round of the tournament is special. Having to play with Charlie Villanueva of the Detroit Pistons and Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks is not an issue. Together, they've found a common goal: help the Dominican team qualify for the World Championship in Turkey.

"We always talk on the court. There are a lot of times when one sees something that another can't. We're always communicating," the Sacramento Kings forward said. "It's been a good experience."

Garcia has praised the work done by coach Julio Toro, who has been working with the team during the last 45 days, and compared his communications skills to those of his coach at the University of Louisville.

"[Toro] has been an excellent coach, particularly to me. I always have great communications with him. He gets along well with his players," Garcia said.

"[Toro] reminds me of Rick Pitino a lot, my college coach."

Just like his teammates, Garcia hopes the Dominican Republic earns one of four spots for the 2010 World Championship.

"I'm proudly representing my country while being able to help the Dominican Republic reach the World Championship," he said.

Canada Basketball Press Release after Puerto Rico game


(San Juan, P.R.) The Roberto Clemente Arena was packed on day five of the FIBA Americas Championship as Canada faced off against the undefeated home team Puerto Rico. Canada struggled to make baskets in the first half as Puerto Rico took control of the game and the win 90-70.

Canada falls to third in ‘Group A’ behind Puerto Rico (4-0) and Uruguay (3-1), but despite the loss, the team will advance to the quarter final round which tips off September 1.

“It’s a tournament and in these events you’re playing eight games in nine days and you have to be ready to play every game,” said Leo Rautins, Senior Men’s National Team Head Coach. “You need every win you can get and every game is critical.”

Andy Rautins (Syracuse) scored a game-high 18 points, all in three-pointers. Joel Anthony (Montreal) collected a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Carl English (Patrick’s Cove, NF) and Tyler Kepkay (Vancouver) each added 11 in the game.

But Canada’s offence was no match for Puerto Rico’s starting duo of Carlos Arroyo and Larry Ayuso, who each tallied 16 points. The bench also made its mark in the game, led by Filiberto Rivera who netted 13 points, and Guillermo Diaz who added 9.

Despite a tough defensive performance, Puerto Rico managed to take Canada, one of the top shooting countries in the tournament, and hold the team to 43 per cent. Canada was only 10 for 17 from the free throw line, while Puerto Rico made 16 of 21.

In the opening quarter Joel Anthony scored first for Canada. The game went back and forth between Puerto Rico and the Canadians until midway through, when Puerto Rico went on a 6-0 run to make it 13-7. Jermaine Anderson (Toronto) hit two free throws and followed up with a bucket to bring Canada to within four. But Ayuso and Arroyo led the offense for Puerto Rico, scoring 10 and seven respectively, to close the first quarter up nine 23-14.

Canada started the second with increased pressure on the Puerto Ricans, but struggled to make baskets as the Puerto Rican team expanded its lead 34-20. With seven turnovers, Canada was forced to call a time out at the 5:30 mark. English and Rautins helped Canada to add another 10 points, but a hot-handed Rivera came off the bench to give Puerto Rico the lead at the end the half 45-30.

The second half started with Canada playing more aggressively on defense but point guard Anderson got into foul trouble and was forced to sit the rest of the quarter. The foul calls continued as Jesse Young (Peterborough, Ont.) and Coach Rautins were both given technicals. Midway through the third Puerto Rico was leading 55-35 after five free throws. Joel Anthony got a quick two in the paint and Kepkay followed with a long three. But the team went dry as Arroyo and Ayuso continued their shooting show. At the end of three Puerto Rico had increased its lead 65-41.

The fourth quarter was the best for Canada as the team mounted an offensive push, lead by Andy Rautins. While Team Canada scored 29 points in the final quarter, Puerto Rico did not let up, scoring 25 in the period and finishing the game 90-70.

While disappointed in his team's performance, Coach Rautins does not believe in excuses.

“There’s no time to feel sorry for yourself, and I don’t know if our guys felt sorry for themselves not winning yesterday’s game, but there’s no time for that in a tournament like this. Mexico for example lost to us by 55 but then almost won against Uruguay today.”

Up next, the four qualifying teams in Group A (Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Canada and Mexico will compete against the four teams in Group B (Brazil, Argentina, Dominican Republic and Panama). The Quarterfinals run from September 1-4, with the top four teams advancing to the 2010 FIBA World Championship - Schedule TBA.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Canada Basketball Press Release after Uruguay game


(see also extensive post game quotes at the end of this release)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Team Canada captain Jesse Young (Peterborough, Ont.) gave another outstanding performance, racking up a game-high 20 points and eight boards, but Uruguay managed to pull out a 71-69 win on Saturday at the FIBA Americas Championship.

The loss was the first for the Canadian Senior Men's National Team and leaves them tied with Uruguay in Group A at 2-1, in second place behind Puerto Rico. Both Canada and Uruguay advance to the quarter-finals, along with six other nations.

“We did a good job the first two games but just didn’t come out with the same intensity and focus that we needed,” said Leo Rautins, Head Coach of the Senior Men’s National Team. “We didn’t match Uruguay’s intensity and had a lot of mental mistakes. We got away from what we need to do to be successful. That certainly hurt us in the ball game, especially down the end.”

Young's 20 points came on 7-of-11 from the field and 6-of-8 from the line. Starting centre Joel Anthony (Montreal) netted 13 points (6-7 from the field) and six rebounds, while Carl English (Patrick's Cove, N.L.) added 12 points and five boards. Point guard Jermaine Anderson (Toronto) had nine points and six assists.

Guard Martin Osimani was great when it counted -- at the beginning and end of Uruguay's second win of the tournament -- finishing with 14 points and nine assists while centre Esteban Batista led with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Leandro Garcia Morales netted 11 points and Mauricio Aguiar 10.

Canada started the game with an 8-2 run but Osimani led a 7-0 run to give Uruguay a 9-8 lead after a three-pointer with 5:13 left. The first quarter finished 25-16 in favor of Uruguay as Osimani had eight points and five assists. Batista also had eight points.

Both teams showed a lot of intensity on defence as baskets didn't come easy for either side and the first half ended 36-31 for Uruguay. Batista led with 10 points and Osimani had eight. Young had nine points for Canada and Olu Famutimi and Anthony each had seven.

The Canadians regained the lead in the third quarter but Uruguay ended the period with a 9-1 run to go up 51-47.

In the final quarter Canada made an 11-1 run led by Famutimi, Young and Anthony to put the score at 58-54 with 5:48 left. Then Uruguay made a final push thanks to Garcia Morales, Osimani and Batista to get the win. Osimani made a three-pointer to give Uruguay a 70-67 lead with 20.6 seconds left, then made a free throw to ice a 71-69 win.

“We put ourselves in a position to win but we still had to play from behind which is difficult,” added Anthony. “It came down to a last second shot at the end of the game and we weren’t able to get it. I give credit to Uruguay because they played really tough against us and didn’t give us anything easy. It was a tough game and we just have to look forward to tomorrow.”

Canada made 46 per cent of their shots from the floor, but only 22 per cent of their three-point attempts. Uruguay shot 43 per cent but did better on three-pointers at 34 per cent.

The 'Road Warriors' outscored Uruguay in three of the four quarters but just couldn't put enough together at the end.

On Sunday, Canada finishes the first round against Puerto Rico (3-0) while Uruguay takes on Mexico (1-2).

Anthony understands the demands for tomorrow’s game. “Coming against Puerto Rico we definitely have to come with a lot of energy right off the bat. They are going to have a lot of energy, they’re the home team and they haven’t lost yet in the tournament. We just have to come out strong and continue to play them tough.”

Canada's game is at 9 p.m. ET. See it live on The Score and The Score HD, and replayed on Raptors NBA TV at 12:30am ET.

For complete box scores, standings and schedule visit the official tournament website

Team Canada Post-Game Quotations

Joel Anthony – Team Canada starting centre on game vs. Uruguay:

“Going into the game we knew what type of team Uruguay was, how they played really tough and physical. We didn’t seem to be as prepared for that unfortunately. We put ourselves in a position to win but we still had to play from behind which is difficult. It came down to a last second shot at the end of the game and we weren’t able to get it. I give credit to Uruguay because they played really tough against us and didn’t give us anything easy. It was a tough game and we just have to look forward to tomorrow.”

Anthony on the upcoming game vs. Puerto Rico:

Coming against Puerto Rico we definitely have to come with a lot of energy right off the bat. They are going to have a lot of energy, they’re the home team and they haven’t lost yet in the tournament. Playing against us they have a chance to further their position in the tournament. So if we don’t’ come with a lot more energy and play our game, being able to execute and do the things that we need to do, we’ll definitely find ourselves in trouble. We just have to come out strong and continue to play them tough.

Leo Rautins – Head Coach on the game vs. Uruguay:

“We did a good job the first two games but just didn’t come out with the same intensity and focus that we needed. We didn’t match Uruguay’s intensity and had a lot of mental mistakes. We got away from what we need to do to be successful. That certainly hurt us in the ball game, especially down the end. At this point all we have to do is re-group. It’s a long tournament. As unfortunate as it is to lose this game, you have to bounce right back and continue to play.”

Rautins on upcoming game vs. Puerto Rico:

“I told the team after the game, if we won tonight what would we do tomorrow night. Bottom line is you have to come in and play every single game. Puerto Rico has played some good games, and it’s certainly a hostile environment. At the same time it’s an energy environment, a fun environment, and one that we have to find a way to win in. We are going to prepare just like every other day and go play the game.”

Rautins on Team Canada shot selection:

“There were a lot of three point shots available in the first two games. Certainly the competition was not the same as today. Uruguay was a much stronger defensive team and those shots were not as available and we took a lot of questionable shots. The timing of some of the shots was not good and those are the mental mistakes along with turnovers that we can’t afford to make if we want to be successful.”

Rautins on Canada’s energy for Puerto Rico:

We try to manage the minutes and not take anybody over the top over the four games. Everybody’s in the same situation. It’s tiring, it’s taxing, but that’s the way it is. Nobody’s feeling sorry for anybody else, and no one’s going to feel sorry for us. You know what you are going into and all you can do is try to manage the minutes and hope that everybody does what they have to do to recuperate and be ready for tomorrow night’s game.

Rautins on the lessons learned today:

Quite honestly the first two games give you a false sense of reality. I think this is a good game to toughen you up. How Uruguay plays is how a majority of these Americas teams play. They’re physical and aggressive so you have to take the positives. A game like this is going to help us get ready. One of the things we’ve talked about from day one of the summer is getting better every day. We have to learn from this game and we have to apply it to every upcoming game. The biggest positive is intensity. You have to find a way to be ready to play and handle other people’s pressure. For the most we’ve done a good job this summer so we just have to regroup on that.

Ohio State defeats Windsor again

Ohio State 89, Windsor 47 (Box Score)

Buckeyes improved to 2-0 in Canada

Walter Offutt produced the offense early with 10 first half points.

WINDSOR, Ontario-Ohio State improved to 2-0 on its three-game exhibition schedule in Canada with an 89-47 victory over the University of Windsor Saturday.

William Buford and Walter Offutt provided the offense with 16 and 14 points respectively. Buford, a sophomore from Toledo, connected on 7 of 12 shots from the field while Offutt, a sophomore from Indianapolis, made 4 of 7 shots, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range.

Jon Diebler led the Buckeyes with seven assists and was one of three Buckeyes with nine points, along with Dallas Lauderdale and P.J. Hill.

Evan Turner, the top scorer in the Big Ten last year, tallied 11 points, seven rebounds a four assists. He started the game at point guard after playing all of last year at the off guard spot.

The Buckeyes led 47-25 at the half behind Offutt’s 10 points and William Buford’s eight. Ohio State shot 56 percent from the field (19-34) and had assists on 11 of those baskets over the first two quarters. Offutt connected on all three first-half shots, including a pair of 3s.

Balance offensively was the story in the early going with 24 of 47 first half points credited to the Ohio State bench. The reserves scored 38 points for the game.

Ohio State will take Sunday off from competition and practice to attend a Detroit Tigers game. The squad will have a team dinner in Detroit before returning to Canada for the final day of the trip.

The Buckeyes face the University of Western Ontario at noon Monday and return to Columbus immediately after game.

Ohio State officially begins practice for the 2009-10 season Oct. 16. The Buckeyes open the season Nov. 9 in Columbus vs. Alcorn State.

From Duffer's Dabbles Bob Duff Blog

Buckeyes Hill encourages Lancers Collins

Senior guard P.J. Hill, who led Ohio State with 18 points in Friday’s 90-39 victory over the Windsor Lancers at the St. Denis Centre, sought out Lancers freshman guard Josh Collins after the game to offer some words of encouragement. “I know what it’s like to be a freshman,” Hill said. “You’ve got to just play under control at all times. You get tentative when you’re young. It’s your first game, but be under control, run your team. Don’t back down because you’re younger. You’ve got nothing to lose. You’re trying to win. Seniority doesn’t play a role in winning. Everybody wants to win. So that’s what I was pretty much telling him. I like to help out younger players, because that’s what other players have done for me.”
Buckeyes forward David Lighty, who added 16 points in his first game since a broken foot sidelined him seven games into the 2008-09 season, admitted there wasn’t much that Ohio State knew about Windsor beforehand. “We heard some things about how they play,” Lighty said. “Coach (Thad Matta) got us prepared for them. A lot of dribble, drive and penetrating kicks as a team. We tried to work on our close-out game to deal with that.”
Junior forward Evan Turner agreed that the Lancers were a bit of a mystery to the Buckeyes. “We had no clue,” Turner said. “We just heard they could shoot pretty well. That was about it. We just tried to come out and play our offence, play our roles and play tough. We’ve still got to play to our standards and play hard.”
Matta liked that his team was forced to improvise its plan of attack in the midst of playing the Lancers. “I told them coming into this game, ‘You’re going to have to adjust on the fly,’” Matta said. “I thought we did a better job of playing the one kid who made some shots early (Lancers guard Andre Smyth) and of just recognizing that they can shoot the basketball.” Ohio State entered the weekend series, which concludes Saturday at 6 p.m., with no film and little scouting background on Windsor’s team. “Not really, no,” Matta said. “We were all watching warm-ups trying to get a feel for who was who. We had a little bit of feel just off stats sheets from last year of what guys could do. When they put their starters in, we just said, ‘Hey, this guy shot this percentage, this guy is left-handed.’ That was about it.” So what did he learn about Windsor from one game? “Defensively, they knew what they were doing,” Matta said. “They shot 31 threes. They didn’t have the traditional post in their lineup, which is different from what we’re going to see in the Big 10.”
Another factor that pleased Matta was that his team didn’t take Windsor lightly. Consider the following exchange between Buckeyes assistant coach Brandon Miller and guard Jeremie Simmons as Simmons was subbing into the game in the third quarter. “You know, we’re losing (this quarter),” Miller pointed out to Simmons. Though the Buckeyes led 53-29 at the time, Windsor owned a 6-5 edge for the period. Simmons entered the game and promptly nailed a basket to rectify that situation. “We kept our intensity defensively,” Matta said. “Usually, it’s the other way around. You don’t guard when you score.”
Lancers coach Chris Oliver was impressed by how the Buckeyes embrace the team concept. “The understanding that it wasn’t my shot, it was their shot,” Oliver said. “They never settled for one guy saying, ‘This is my shot and I’m going to shoot it every time.’ They found the right shot for their team. I think that’s a lesson for our guys, that we’ve got to get to that level.”
Smyth was left pondering what the Lancers could do during Saturday’s game to close the gap between the two teams. “We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Smyth said. “It’s just an amazing experience. We’ve just got to learn from this game and pick up the defence (Saturday).” He believes the benefit of this exhibition series will show when the Lancers get into league play. “We know that we’re not going to play a team at nearly the calibre of this team in our league,” Smyth said. “We know how good we are compared to Ohio State, so we know what we can do against teams from the OUA. This is a good measure for our team.”
Oliver’s goal for the two-game series? “I hope that everyone has a good memory that Ohio State came to Windsor,” he said. “I hope it’s a good experience for our community and our players. At the end of the day, I said to our players, ‘I hope you can remember that you lost by 50 to Ohio State, but you got better throughout the year to the point where you can win an Ontario championship or a national championship. We certainly haven’t lost that opportunity. That’s the good thing about playing this early.”

Uruguay 71, Canada 69

6'2" Martin Osimani's long 3 with 21 seconds remaining from the top of the bowl gave his team the lead for good, capping a furious three-point-shooting-driven comeback as Canada (2-1 in Group A) suffered a significant blow to their hopes of qualifying for next year's 2010 FIBA World championships in Turkey with a 71-69 loss to Uruguay (also 2-1 in Group A). After 6'9 Jesse Young (18 points), who had his best overall game of the tournament, gave Canada a five point lead with about 4 minutes remaining at 63-58 on a 15 footer, back-to-back threes by Uruguay's Leandro Garcia Morales and Mauricio Aguiar suddenly gave Uruguay the lead back at 64-63. Later Garcia Morales added 3 free throws when fouled beyond the arc and the teams exchanged baskets until Osimani's dramatic shot, right in the eye of Canada's 6'5" Andy Rautins, who earlier had turned the ball over with the score tied and then took an ill-advised three.

In maybe the most exciting game of the tournament thus far, the game produced 12 lead changes and Canada appeared to have taken over midway through the fourth quarter, fashioning 14-2 run to lead by 5 against a Uruguaian group that appeared to be running out of steam with no offensive flow and several short-armed shots. But Garcia Morales, Aguiar and then Osimani became heroes with their dramatic makes.

The deeper Canadian team had a couple of chances to put the game away in the second half, initially when they took their first lead since early in the first quarter on a three pointer by 6'8" Levon Kendall off a nice draw-and-kick feed from 6'1" Jermaine Anderson. At that point, Uruguay looked gassed but up two with the ball in transition, Canada turned it over and the resulting three point play by Uruguay's top post player 6'10" Esteban Batista gave the South Americans life and the momentum helped them take a 51-47 lead after three quarters. Uruguay extended the lead to 7 on another put-back "and 1" by Bautista, highlighting again how Canada gave up way too many second chances across the entire afternoon.

But Canada again ratcheted up the "d" and, with the help of a three by 6'5" Carl English, a Young 15 footer and a driving runner by 6'6" Olu Famutimi, Canada took the lead with 6 minutes left and later Anderson hit an "and 1" and Canada led by 5 with 4:06 remaining. But the Uruguaians dug deep and made big shots when it mattered to keep their qualifying hopes alive.

The loss puts a severe crimp in Canada's plans to advance to Turkey with tomorrow night's Group A finale against host Puerto Rico in sight. A victory would likely have given Canada at least two victories going into the next round. And with 4 wins likely the requirement for finishing in the Top 4, Canada would only have had to go 2-2 in the next round to likely qualify. The road will be much more difficult - but not insurmountable - now, starting tomorrow night.

After an 8-2 Canada run to start the game, Batista (inside) and Osimani (off the dribble) took over the rest of the quarter as Batista (first 8 points for Uruguay) had his way inside while Osimani continually beat Canadian guards and got himself in the paint, allowing Uruguay to finish the quarter on a 23-8 run to lead by 9. Osimani was the first guard in the tournament to test Canada's ability to guard the basketball and exposed a chink in Canada's armour. Later, coach Leo Rautins decided to try some zone to varying success and indeed Canada played much of the fourth quarter in a 2/3 zone, a reasonable ploy given the alleged weariness that Uruguay was displaying toward the end of the game and the difficulties Canada had keeping Osimani in front of them for long stretches in the game.

Uruguay comfortably led throughout most of the second quarter and it could have been worse except the Uruguains missed at least 5 free throws. Still, after 4 minutes of the second, Uruguay led 28-20 and appeared to be in control. Insert Canadian captain Young, who scored 8 consecutive points for Canada in the quarter and played a big role in a 10-2 run that got Canada back to within two at 32-30 with 1:45 remaining. However, a couple of poor shots by English and Famutimi and repeated second chance opportunites helped Uruguay finish strong and enter halftime with a five point lead at 36-31. The first half had good flow despite repeated referee whistles, specifically for at least 7 moving screen calls on both ends.

Canada needs a big effort against the host Puerto Ricans who have the luxury of an off day today and plenty of time to prepare for Canada's sets and defensive rotations. Canada must improve their ability to guard the ball, especially with 6'2" Carlos Arroyo playing main creator and decision-maker for the hosts. As well, today's tendancy to give up second chances and take questionable shots at key points in games must improve. Game time Sunday night is 9 PM ET.

NOTE: Canada is limited to an 11 man roster as 6'4" Ryan Bell , in street clothes again today, has missed the first three games with a quad injury. Still, Rautins shortened his bench today, going with mainly a eight man rotation after using at least 10 men extensively with eleventh man 6'9" Kyle Landry getting significant minutes against U.S. Virgin Islands but Landry saw no action and 6'1" guard Tyler Kepkey and 6'7" forward Jermaine Bucknor only limited action.

Solid Canadian Press article on Canada's loss today

Uruguay hand Canada first loss at FIBA Americas championships

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Martin Osimani hit a deep three-pointer with 21 seconds left to lead Uruguay to a 71-69 win over Canada on Saturday at the FIBA Americas basketball tournament.

The Canadians (2-1) rallied from an early deficit but ultimately fell short as they failed to move into a tie with Puerto Rico atop the Group A standings. Canada wraps up preliminary-round play against the host Puerto Ricans on Sunday.

With the game tied 67-67 late, Osimani pulled up several feet in front of the three-point line and hit the shot that put Uruguay back ahead for good. Jermaine Anderson made two free throws with 16 seconds left to cut the lead to one, but Osimani answered by making one of two free throws.

Canada had a chance to tie on its final possession, but Carl English's jumper hit the front rim and bounced away.

Esteban Batista led the way with 18 points and 12 rebounds for Uruguay (2-1), while Osimani added 12 points and nine assists.

Jesse Young had a game-high 20 points and added eight rebounds for Canada, while Miami Heat centre Joel Anthony chipped in with 13 and English had 12.

Long-range shooting was Canada's undoing Saturday. After burying Mexico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with an array of three-pointers earlier in the tournament, the Canadians went just 5-for-22 from beyond the arc against a Uruguayan team that defended the three-point shot well.

Uruguay finished with a 30-29 edge in rebounding.

Things looked promising early on for Canada, with threes by English and Olu Famutimi contributing to an 8-2 run to start the game. But Uruguay responded with a 7-0 run to take the lead, and gradually built on it throughout the quarter.

A Reque Newsome jumper extended Uruguay's lead to seven, and Mauricio Aguiar hit a three on the next possession to give the Uruguayans a 25-16 advantage through one quarter. Batista and Osimari had eight points apiece for Uruguay in the quarter, while Famutimi and Anthony had five each for Canada.

Canada kept things close in the second, with Anthony's tip-in drawing the Canadians to within two late in the quarter. But Gustavo Barrera responded with a late three-pointer to give Uruguay a 36-31 halftime lead.

English's long two-pointer put Canada briefly back in front, but Batista made an easy layup as part of a 9-0 run that saw Uruguay enjoy a 51-47 advantage after three quarters.

Trailing by as many as seven in the fourth quarter, the Canadians stormed out to an 11-0 run highlighted by a Famutimi layup that put Canada back in the lead.

An Aguiar three-pointer moved the Uruguayans back in front 64-63, and they held onto the lead after Young committed a three-point foul on Leandro Garcia, who made all three free throws. Young responded with a thundering dunk to tie the game, setting up the frantic finish.

Earlier Saturday in Group A, Omar Quintero and Anthony Pedroza poured in 17 points apiece as Mexico (1-2) earned an 80-63 win over the U.S. Virgin Islands (0-4).

Later, the Dominican Republic (1-1) battled Venezuela (1-2) while Panama (1-1) faced Argentina (0-2) in Group B action.

Uruguay Preview

For the third consecutive game, Canada has the luxury of playing a team that played the night prior in the 9 PM feature game against the home Puerto Rican side. In all three instances, Puerto Rico prevailed and in the first two cases, arguably both Mexico and U.S. Virgin Islands came out with less than their best efforts. Last night, the Puerto Ricans, led by NBA veteran Carlos Arroyo, used a 23-11 run in the third quarter to break up a tight 2 point game at half to win comfortably. Uruguay must bounce back this afternoon now against Canada in a game that has definite medal round/qualifying implications because both teams are likely to advance and this game with therefore count in the standings going forward.

The apparent benefit of the scheduling is by no means a slight to Canada as our team can only play the games as they are put in front of them and in both cases Canada dominated the first two games, the results of which were never in any serious doubt by the end of the first quarter.

In Uruguay, Canada meets a higher quality opponent with a legitimate big in 6'10" Esteban Batista, who had 19 points (8-16 shooting) in 33 minutes in last night's loss to Puerto Rico. As well, 6'6" forward Mauricio Aguiar can play although the Puerto Ricans held him to just 3-12 from the floor last night. As well, 6'1" guard Leandro Garcia Morales , another mainstay in the Uruguaian rotation, finished with just 5 points by shooting 1-11 from the field. 4-23 overall and 1-10 from 3 from your two most important perimeter players just isn't going to get it done, no matter how good your big guy is as Batista, who played a couple of seasons in the NBA earlier this decade, is a very good international big man. Expect the Joel Anthony/Batista matchup to be important and Joel should be ready after getting much of yesterday off, keyed by him picking up two early fouls.

Canada has done a very good job defending the ball in most cases and with helping and rotating when guys do get beat. Further, Canada, led by Anthony, Jesse Young and Levon Kendall primarily, have done an excellent job limiting second chances. Offensively, there still are some signs that guys are drifting away from the mantras of sharing the ball, spacing, keeping the ball moving and finding the best shot no matter who takes it but it is much, much better than the past 3 seasons. Taking care of the ball and staying within the confines of the offensive philosophy consistently will be key as the competition gets better and better. It should be fun and for the first time since Steve Nash played for Canada, there is a legitimate excitement around this team, even if it may be a bit premature.

Also, check out Coach Roy Rana's blog to which an entry was made yesterday. Coach Rana is providing a unique perspective for fans.

Game begins in about 3 hours at 4 PM ET on the SCORE and is replayed at 7 PM ET on Raptors TV.

Capers should be right there again

Always providing fans an entertaining, up tempo brand of basketball under veteran Head Coach Jim Charters, the Cape Breton University Capers have been on the doorstep of an AUS championship and CIS Nationals for several years, including a spot in the Final Four a few seasons ago. For much of the past few seasons, disappointing losses in the AUS tournament have overshadowed what has been one of the better runs of any program in Canada over the past decade or so. With at least 10 players on this season's roster that would fit into almost any rotation in Canada, the Capers again expect to sit in the upper echelon of the Atlantic conference this season.

A breakout last season provided the springboard for 6'4" Philip Nkrumah to make an international appearance for Canada at the FISU games and, now in his fourth year, consideration as one of the top players in the AUS if not all of Canada. Nkrumah, who was not a high profile recruit coming out of the GTA four seasons ago, is an undersized paint area player who is strong and explosive and has continually ratcheted up his scoring and rebounding numbers every season, emerging into Cape Breton's go-to guy up front. Another fourth-year Ontario product, Guelph-bred 6'7" Scott Jaspers-Fayer has paid his dues playing behind higher profile stars like Eric Breland and also has overcome injuries to become another stalward for Cape Breton up front. Jaspers-Fayer has steadily improved all areas of his game and he plays off Nkrumah nicely.

Setting the table for bigs and wings is 5'11" Tremaine Fraser, a Nova Scotia native, who fits the Capers style, excelling in transition and, as he matures now into his third season, playing with the consistency required to become an all-AUS performer. Throughout the first two seasons of his career, Fraser has not backed down from taking big shots and key moments and has had his share of successes to that end. Also likely to push for starting roles are a pair of fifth-year sharpshooters who represent Cape Breton's three-point shooting threats in 6'2" Mark McGarrigle (9.0 ppg/39% 3's last season) and 6'4" Ryan Roper (10.0 ppg/39% 3's last season), finishing his career at Cape Breton U. in the MBA program after three seasons at Winnipeg. Both should be willing recipients of draw-and-kick looks from Fraser with his ability to create off the dribble.

Despite the loss of forward 6'5" Courtney Thomas (Baltimore, MD) who was usually the first big off the bench last season, the Capers have a strong, deep bench that will allow them to continue to play pressure "d" and run for all 40 minutes. 6'6" Al Aliovic, who started in the first half of last season before being sidelined with an injury, was a noteable recruit from Milton, ON a couple of seasons ago. The third year swingman can knock shots down from beyond the arc and also work in and around the paint. Athletic 5th year 5'11" guard Chris Noddle, another GTA product from Brampton, ON, provides energy off the bench, usually spelling Fraser while 6'2" Justin Roper battled through an injury-plague freshman season but his broken foot, which nagged him all season after sustaining it in the pre-season, appears healthy and much is expected of him. Up front 6'6" Lassario Burrows, a native of the Bahamas who transfered to CBU after one season at Barrie's Georgian College, begins his third year as a solid rotation guy up front.

As usual, Charters was able to attract a solid top recruit to Sydney as 6'4" Cameron-John Procter, originally from Father Goetz H.S. in Mississauga via Vincennes (IN) Junior College where he averaged 4.0 ppg in 27 games during the 2006-07 season, should immediately plug into the rotation as a solid 3/4.

The Capers have a solid pre-season schedule highlighted by a trip to the Nation's Capital for the Jack Donohue Memorial Tip-Off tournament as well as a trip through Quebec to face UQAM, McGill and Bishop's.

Michael Grange's Globe & Mail Article on Canada/U.S. Virgin Islands

Canada Cruises Again

For the second successive game, Canada used a superior defensive effort to cruise to an easy win at the FIBA Tournament of the Americas in Puerto Rico.

Canada scored a comfortable 87-67 win over the U.S. Virgin Islands yesterday to improve to 2-0 in Group B. The top four teams in the 10-team championship advance to the world championships in Turkey next summer.

On the heels of their blowout over Mexico - the 40 points the Canadians allowed was a record low for the event - Canada jumped out to an early double-digit lead by holding its opponents to just 13 first-quarter points.

And while the Canadians were on fire offensively against Mexico, yesterday they had some droughts. However, Canada's defensive game - a mix of man, full-court pressure and a 2-3 zone - kept them in it. Canada was held scoreless for nearly four minutes early in the second quarter, yet lost no ground. When Jermaine Anderson sparked an 11-2 run to finish the first half with a four-point play, the game was virtually decided as Canada led 44-26 heading into the half.

Just as important, the large winning margin allowed head coach Leo Rautins to spread his minutes around. No starter played more than 23 minutes, while 11 players recorded 11 minutes or more, a significant factor in an event where Canada will have to play eight games in nine days.

Jesse Young of Peterborough, Ont., led Canada with 14 points and added seven rebounds. Levon Kendall of Vancouver had eight points and eight rebounds while all 11 players who played had at least four points.

"There's a lot of things that have to happen for a team to be successful and you have to have players willing to sacrifice," Rautins said of Young.

"Tonight was a typical Jesse performance. He goes out, rebounds, makes plays, scores. Whatever we need done out there, he gets it done."

Canada held the Virgin Islands to 38-per-cent shooting and just 30 per cent from the three-point line while winning the rebounding battle 41-37. Canada shot 48 per cent from the floor and 7-of-22 from the three-point line, while taking full advantage of their 28 trips to the foul line by knocking down 26 of them. Canada also made 14 steals.

"When you blow someone out by 55, it almost sometimes hurts you," said Young, who is part of Canada's second rotation.

"But for us to come out [yesterday] and have the same determination right from the get-go and get a big lead in the first half, it's great to see."

Rautins added: "Just like Mexico, the Virgin Islands played the late game the night before and it was important to get on them right away and pretty much dictate how the game was going to be played."

This weekend Canada will face a fuller test as they meet Uruguay today (The Score, 4 p.m.) and host Puerto Rico tomorrow (The Score, 9 p.m.).

"The next two days will define our hopes more clearly," said Maurizio Gherardini, the Toronto Raptors' executive who is the managing director of the men's team. "On paper we should have a tougher time with Puerto Rico than Uruguay. Uruguay looks like our team in terms of size, options and styles of play. Puerto Rico is more up-and-down and difficult for us to match up with."

Canada is assured a place in the next round, in which four of the five teams in each group advance to a quarter-final round and play the four teams that qualify from the other group.

Canada Basketball Media Release after win over U.S. Virgin Islands


(San Juan, P.R.) Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team (SMNT) outscored the US Virgin Islands 87-67 tonight to give the Canadians a 2-0 record in the FIBA Americas Championship. After a 10-point lead in the first quarter, the Canadians controlled the match, with all 11 players on the floor scoring for the squad.

“Much like the game against Mexico we had to come out aggressive very early on,” said Leo Rautins, Head Coach for the SMNT. “The US Virgin Islands played a late game the night before and it was important to get on them right away and pretty much dictate how the game was going to be played.

Team Captain Jesse Young was Canada’s top scorer with 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Olu Famutimi had 12 and Andy Rautins netted 11 on the game. Levon Kendall was the team –high rebounder for the second time in as many nights with eight boards.

“Tonight was a typical Jesse performance," added Rautins. "He goes out, rebounds, makes plays, and scores. Whatever we need done out there he gets it done.”

Once again Canada overpowered its opponent on defence (38-31), steals (14-6) and turnovers (12-21). Offensively, the red and white shot 42 per cent from the field compared to 35 per cent for the US Virgin Islands and the Canadians were nearly perfect from the charity stripe going 26 of 28. The SMNT played a very efficient game, rotating the players and limiting individuals no more than 23 minutes on the floor.

Canada came out fast in the first quarter and gained a sizeable lead with seven points from Jesse Young and 5 from Olu Famutimi. Joel Anthony, who collected two quick fouls in the first, was forced to sit out the rest of the first half. The quarter closed 24-14.

In the second period, both teams struggled to get on the board. Andy Rautins hit back-to-back buckets to give Canada 31-16 lead midway through the period. But the US Virgin Islands, did not let up and went on a 8-3 run until Anderson hit a big three and got the and one to make it 37-24 with two minutes left in the half. English hit a three with final seconds to make it 44-26 at the half.

“Those plays are key,” Rautins commented on Anderson. “Jermaine is a solid player and he’s the guy who really tries to make things happen for us. In crunch time I don’t think he’s missed a big shot for us down the stretch.”

Joel Anthony opened the second half with four points including two free throws giving Canada a 48-27 lead in the first minute of play. The US Virgin Islands made a push to get back in the game and actually outscored the red and white in the third 22-20. But the Canadians already had a comfortable margin of 64-48 going into the fourth quarter.

US Virgin Islands fought till the end, collecting another 19 points in the final period. But it was too little too late as Canada tallied 23 points to claim the win.

US Virgin Islands’ Walter Hodge scored a game-high 18 points, while Kitwana Rhymer had a game-high 11 rebounds.

Canada (2-0) will play Uruguay (1-1) on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET, with the broadcast live on The Score and The Score HD. Raptors NBA TV will replay the game at 7:00 p.m. ET.

“We have to come out strong,” said Young on the upcoming game against Uruguay. They play a late game tonight against Puerto Rico so we can come out tomorrow and jump on them quick and keep the pressure on them.”

Columbus Dispatch article on Ohio State/Windsor

OSU men's basketball: Hill's game undergoes offseason makeover: Guard scores 18, plays turnover-free in Canada opener

WINDSOR, Ontario -- After Ohio State's first-round NCAA loss to Siena in March, feeling his mental gaffe had cost his team the game, P.J. Hill vowed to return a different player.

"Next year I'm going to come back with a better game," he said. "Teams are not going to be able to just help off me. I'm going to make teams pay."

Last night, the University of Windsor became the first team to pay.

Beginning a series of three exhibition games in four days across the border from Detroit, the Ohio State men's basketball team outclassed the Lancers 90-39 in the St. Denis Centre in large part due to not only Hill's ever-present energy but also his production.

The senior guard had 18 points, four assists, four rebounds and two steals. He took charges and tied up possessions defensively. He made 7 of 9 shots from the field, including all four from behind the three-point arc, and didn't commit a turnover.

"I made a commitment (last spring) that I wouldn't come back the same as I was," Hill said. "I've been working with (assistant) coach Brandon Miller, every day at 8 a.m., no matter what. We made a commitment that I was going to step it up this year. I'm just trying to hold true to my end."

David Lighty, playing his first game since he suffered a broken bone in his left foot in December, scored 16 points for the Buckeyes. Evan Turner had 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists with just two turnovers.

The Buckeyes shot 60.3 percent from the field and assisted on 24 of their 38 field goals thanks to a fast-break offense triggered by harassing man-to-man defense and the missed shots and turnovers they forced. Windsor shot 23 percent from the field and had 25 turnovers.

"I expected Ohio State to be very good, and they were. But I expected us to compete a little bit better," Windsor coach Chris Oliver said. He has just three experienced players back from last season and had his team practice after the game.

Turner started at point guard, but any of the guards were free to lead the break after claiming the defensive rebound. Seven players had at least two assists and seven others at least three rebounds.

"We've got a new style: Whoever gets the rebound, just go," Hill said. "That's just (the coaches having) confidence in all our players."

Ohio State led 32-23 before closing the first half with an 18-0 run fueled by a three-point basket and two assists by Hill.

After a languid start to the second half, Hill triggered a 12-0 run by forcing three straight turnovers. He finished off his night with a 12-point fourth quarter.

"The biggest thing with P.J. is, his first two years here, he played with speed and brought energy, but sometimes it wasn't advantageous for us because he was going too fast for the situation," coach Thad Matta said.

"He's done a good job (addressing that). I think all these guys have had a very good summer. It'll be interesting to see how we do (tonight). I think it will be a test of our maturity, if we can come out and keep it going."

The teams play again at 6 tonight.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Buckeyes take Lancers to school

Buckeyes take Lancers to school
By Bob Duff , The Windsor Star

The Lancer players came to Windsor to shoot some hoops and pursue a higher education. Friday, they got schooled.

A few years from now, when Evan Turner is going up against Lebron James on basketball’s biggest stage, Windsor Lancers guard Andre Smyth will be able to point to the television and boast, ‘Yeah, I guarded him.’

“He’s an amazing player,” Smyth said. “I don’t even think he was putting that much effort in.

“I’m just trying to play him as hard as I can.”

Hard is the apt word to describe the Lancers’ task this weekend.

Back-to-back games against the Ohio State Buckeyes.

The Lancer players came to Windsor to shoot some hoops and pursue a higher education.

Friday, they got schooled.

A resounding 90-39 loss to the Buckeyes probably wasn’t a surprise to anyone outside of the vicinity of the Lancer bench.

It was likely anticipated by most.

Not by coach Chris Oliver, though. The Lancer bench boss sought to get that message through to his team, putting them through a 30-minute practice after the loss, not so much to punish them as to reinforce his lesson plan.

“I expected Ohio State to be very good and they were,” Oliver said. “I also expected us to compete a little bit better. I thought we struggled in a lot of areas.

“We understand it’s Ohio State. That doesn’t mean we roll over and we can’t compete.”

The crowd, which included a large contingent of scarlet-and-grey clad Buckeyes supporters, left the St. Denis Centre impressed.

So did the Lancers.

“It was a real eye-opener for me,” freshman guard Josh Collins said. “It lets us know what we’ve got to work on.”

Oliver was well aware of what those study requirements are.

“Can I just say ‘Everything?’” he wondered.

“We need to handle their ball pressure a lot better. We need to shoot a lot better. We shot 31 threes, so we need to attack a lot more inside. Defensively, we’ve got to start to play our philosophical defence.”

For Windsor, this two-game series - the rematch is tonight - offers the opportunity to test its mettle against the best that college basketball has to offer.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our team,” Smyth said.

The Buckeyes have played in the NCAA tournament in three of the past four years and were losing finalists to Florida in 2007.

So what’s in it for them?

“Number one, it puts us in a game situation,” Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said. “It puts us into structure.

“These guys are coming off of playing five months of pick-up basketball where there’s no defence being played and no passing. Getting in front of fans and referees, it’s good for us at this time of year.”

Windsor kept the game close for a bit, trailing 24-16 after one period. After a Collins three-pointer drew Windsor to within seven early in the second quarter, Ohio State went on an 18-0 run for a resounding 48-23 halftime advantage.

Turner, potentially a 2010 NBA first-round pick, finished the beat down with an impressive backwards over-the-shoulder finger roll into the hoop for the final pair of his 13 points.

“They missed some open shots and we kind of got rolling there,” Matta said.

The Lancers endured a stretch of 10:13 where they failed to register a point.

“We knew they were probably going to be a few pages ahead, just because they have their whole group back,” Oliver said. “They were impressive and they are going to be an impressive team.

“We’re going to look at what we can do a little better and we’re going to try to do that (Saturday) night.

“I’m glad we get a second chance.”

Lesson learned?

They’ll find out tonight.

Buckeyes pummell young Lancers in Windsor

Ohio State 90, Windsor 39 from Ohio State web site

WINDSOR, Ontario-P.J. Hill, a senior from Minneapolis, lead Ohio State with 18 points in Ohio State’s 90-39 victory over the University of Windsor Friday at the St. Denis Centre.

Hill did the most damage in the third and fourth quarters, hitting 7 of 9 shots from the field and all four 3-point attempts. He also added four assists in 20 minutes without a turnover.

Evan Turner led the Buckeyes with 6 assists, all in the first half. Ohio State finished the second quarter on an 18-0 run to take a 48-23 lead behind Turner’s 13 points. He made his first start at point guard after playing the No. 2 guard spot his first two seasons.

Turner, who led the Buckeyes and the Big Ten in scoring last year with 17.3 points a game, also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds vs. the Lancers. Turner also led his teammates in rebounding last year.

The game was one of three the Buckeyes are playing in Windsor as part of a summer foreign trip.

The Buckeyes shot 64 percent from the field (21-33) over the first 20 minutes. For the game, Ohio State connected on 60 percent of its shots from the field (38-63) and recorded 24 assists.

David Lighty returned to the Ohio State lineup after missing the majority of the 2008-09 season with a broken foot. He started the game and scored 16 points on 7 of 9 shooting from the field.

The only player making his Ohio State debut Friday was transfer Zisis Sarikopoulos, a sophomore center from Greece. He transferred from Alabama-Birmingham after the 2007-08 season. In his first action as a Buckeye, he grabbed seven rebounds and scored five points.

Ohio State and the Lancers will play again at 6 p.m. Saturday at the St. Denis Centre. The final game of the Canada trip will be held at noon Monday vs. the University of Western Ontario.

The Buckeyes begin the official start of practice for the 2009-10 season Oct. 16. Ohio State opens the season Nov. 9 in Columbus vs. Alcorn State.


Ohio State overwhelms Lancers in NCAA/OUA Tip-Off Classic

08/28/2009 - The Ohio State University Buckeyes showed why they are expected to be one of the team teams in NCAA Division 1 basketball this season by turning in a dominating performance over the Windsor Lancers on Friday night at the St. Denis Centre.

Despite a very competitive first quarter that saw both teams execute well offensively, the Buckeyes would eventually go on to dominate the rest of the game in a convincing 90-39 victory in front of a capacity crowd in Windsor.

In the opening quarter, the Lancers and Buckeyes opened up by trading early baskets, with Ohio State jumping out to a 12-7 lead.

The two teams would continue to battle as Windsor cut into the Buckeye lead with a pair of three pointers by Andre Smyth and Monty Hardware and trailed 19-16. Ohio State then went on a 5-0 run to end the quarter as they led 24-16 after one.

The second quarter was all Ohio State as the tandem of Evan Turner and David Lighty went to work at the offensive end. The pair would knock down a number of open looks as the Buckeyes outscored the Lancers 19-7 in the quarter and led 48-23 at the half.

The second half was more of the same as Ohio State controlled both ends of the floor with sound offensive execution and some tenacious defense. The Buckeyes outscored the Lancers 42-16 en route to the 90-39 victory.

In the win, Buckeye point guard P.J. Hill led all scorers 18 points on 7-9 shooting. David Lighty added 16 points and 4 rebounds while Evan Turner finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds.

Ohio State shot 60% from the field for the game.

For the Lancers, Andre Smyth led the way with 7 points and 12 rebounds as he battled hard all night against bigger defenders. Monty Hardware added 8 points while Josh Collins added 6 points on a pair of 3-pointers.

The Lancers finished 14-61 from the field for 23% shooting.

Both teams will be back in action on Saturday night at 6pm at the St. Denis Centre.

One final Ohio State Preview

Buckeyes running an isolation play: Matta and his team heading to cabins in Ontario after Italy trip proves too costly
By Bob Baptist

When David Lighty saw his mother last weekend, she did what a lot of moms of college students do.

"She told me to get a haircut," Lighty said. "But I didn't. She's going to be a little upset about that.

"But they told us we've got three cabins in the woods or something, so I told them I'm going Paul Bunyan on them. I'm ready for the wilderness."

If not exactly to the north woods, the Ohio State men's basketball team bused north yesterday to Canada, where it will play three exhibition games the next four days against Canadian college teams. The first is at 6 tonight at the University of Windsor.

The Buckeyes, scruffy but with their passports in order, crossed the border at Detroit last night. Rather than check into a Windsor hotel, though, they headed 30 miles farther southeast to Kingsville-on-the-Lake, Ontario, where they will stay in beachfront cottages on the northern shore of Lake Erie.

NCAA basketball teams can travel to foreign countries for games once every four years. The original plan was to visit Italy, coach Thad Matta's ancestral home, but when the economy went south last year and Ohio State sports were told to trim their budgets, David Egelhoff, the team's director of basketball operations, looked north.

The $25,000 cost of the trip -- paid for with discretionary funds from booster clubs -- is about $200,000 less than what a trip to Italy would have cost, Egelhoff estimated.

He said the remote lodging was Matta's idea.

"When he was (coach) at Butler, he inherited a foreign tour where they went to Finland or someplace like that," Egelhoff said. "It wasn't the most luxurious trip. The place was in the middle of nowhere. But what he found (happened) was a lot of bonding among the team.

"He said to look for something not isolated in the middle of nowhere, but where it's not two guys in a hotel room with a TV and we only see them when we eat. Let's do something unconventional."

The Web site of where the team is staying advertises fishing, hiking and biking among the activities available. Egelhoff said there is a "giant yard" in front of the team's cottages in which the players can play cornhole or touch football. The team might go back across the border Sunday, when they don't have a game, to see the Detroit Tigers play.

Jon Diebler wants to go fishing. So does Matta. But they might not have any company.

"I asked Will (Buford) if he wanted to," Diebler said, "but he said he's fished once and he caught a stick. I'll try to get Evan (Turner) or Dallas (Lauderdale) to go, but it might be a struggle."

"Never been fishing in my whole life," Lauderdale said. "But I'm not against it."

It was rumored that the players would have their cell phones and laptops confiscated for the weekend, as the Ohio State football team did for a week during preseason camp. They won't, Matta said. But whether they have cell service or Internet access remains to be seen.

If they don't, Mark Titus won't be updating his popular Club Trillion blog.

"I may have to go back across the border to Detroit and figure something out," Titus said.

Canada 87, Virgin Islands 67

Once again showing the cohesiveness, energy and balance of a team that could make some noise at this tournament, Canada defeated U.S. Virgin Islands 87-67. Again, Canada defended very hard in the quarter court, generally took care of the ball, spaced the floor and shared the ball offensively, generally took good shots and limited second chances to comfortably defeat Virgin Islands, who fell apart midway through the second quarter after a playing in last night's late feature game against the host Puerto Ricans.

After an indifferent start, Canada received strong inside play from 6'9" Jesse Young and 6'10" Levon Kendall which keyed a 13-3 run to end the first quarter that built a 10 point lead at 24-14. Canada tweaked their defense from all out man-to-man to, after free throw makes, a passive 3/4 press dropping into a 2/3 zone. Designed to slow down the transition-happy US VI team and combined with an emphasis on converting after misses, the ploy almost completely eliminated any game-changing running opportunities for Canada's opponent.

Canada then grew the lead to 16 midway through the second quarter before hicupping a bit when a couple of questionable shots led to easy transition and second chances, part of a U.S. Virgin Islands 7-0 run cut the lead to single digits. But on the very next possession, Canada went back to their pressure "d", got a stop and then 6'1" Jermaine "Rock" Anderson, came off a solid Kyle Landry ball screen and dropped a three from the top of the bowl while getting fouled. The ensuing free throw completed the first part of a 11-2 run to end the half allowing Canada to go up 18 at 44-26. Included in the run was a long three well within the context of the offense by 6'5" Carl English who was generally much more under control today.

The game began to get chippy midway through the third quarter and later slowed to a crawl as a number of flagrant fouls were called however officials did a solid job in keeping emotions under control. 6'6" Olu Famutimi displayed his off-the-charts athletic ability with a couple of entertaining transition dunks as Canada maintained a 20 point lead for much of the second half.

Ex-Carleton Raven Aaron Doornekamp knocked down a three in the first quarter, part of Canada's first run that gave them the lead they never relinquished. Doornekamp also added a jumper and transition layup as Canada extended their lead to over 20 in the fourth quarter. He was also his usual self intelligently defending off the ball and not backing down from any physical play.

With arguably the two easier games out of the way, Canada now embarks on the tougher part of their schedule with games tomorrow (Saturday) against Uruguay (4 PM ET/Score Television) and then Sunday night against Puerto Rico (9 PM ET/Score Television). With the two early victories, Canada is virtually guaranteed a spot in the quarter-final round. However, both weekend games are likely to count in the second round standings (games against advancing opponents count in the second round standings). The top 4 finishers in the second round standings automatically qualify for Turkey 2010.

Currently in Group A, Puerto Rico is 2-0 pending tonight's matchup with Uruguay (1-0). Puerto Rico will have a day off prior to their encounter with Canada on Sunday while Uruguay will have to come back again tomorrow afternoon to face the Canadians after tonight's tough test against the hosts. In Group B, Brazil, who have emerged into the tournament favorites, especially after this afternoon's nine point win against Argentina, lead at 3-0 while Dominican Republic and Venezuela are both 1-1. Argy is 0-2 with losses to Venezuela and Brazil. Currently it looks like the winner of the Argentina/Panama affair should decide the 4th team out of Group B to move on.

Ohio State Preview

Ohio State Buckeyes men's basketball team heads to Canada for exhibition games

Columbus- Ten days of practice with a roster that includes no clueless freshmen and the return of injured David Lighty, the glue of Ohio State's basketball team?

"It's almost like we're cheating," Lighty said Thursday.

And that tells you how far ahead the Buckeyes should be when normal basketball practice begins in September.

Right now, Ohio State is preparing for three exhibition games in Windsor, Ontario - two against the University of Windsor today and Saturday, and one against Western Ontario University on Monday. The trip is allowed under an NCAA rule that permits teams one international tour every four years, and for noted homebody Thad Matta, just over the bridge from Detroit was as foreign as that coach was willing to get. Ohio State's last trip was to Europe in 2001 under Jim O'Brien.

The timing of this jaunt is no coincidence. Incoming freshmen aren't allowed on these summer trips, so Matta chose a season when he has no freshmen. His entire roster is back, save for B.J. Mullens, who left early for the NBA. There are no new guys - just Lighty back from the season-ending foot injury he suffered last December; Nikola Kecman still on his way back from a torn ACL; and 7-footer Zisis Sarikopoulos joining the fray after sitting out the mandatory year following his transfer from Alabama-Birmingham.

"We usually have nametags to start practice the last few years." said Matta, who will have six freshmen in 2010. "It's amazing walking into the gym with no new faces. Everything that we tried to do, they had a great understanding and we didn't have to stop and explain."

And Lighty, Ohio State's best practice player and defender, is back after taking a redshirt season.

"I'm my old self again," the Villa Angela-St. Joseph grad said. "So I'm good."

The Buckeyes look good, too. And early in the season, which begins Nov. 9 against Alcorn State, they should be much, much better.

Canada 95, Mexico 50

Relative to recent vintage Canadian squads, there were several fresh and optimistic aspects of the team's dominant victory yesterday over a gassed Mexican squad and at least one issue that hasn't changed much. One thing is for certain, with a dominant effort in which they made 18 3's, shooting greater than 50% from beyond the arc and building leads as large 53 points, the Canadians, for one day at least, did much to temper the pre-tournament whispers that the group would be hard pressed to compete for a Top 4 finish and the automatic berth to the 2010 World Championships in Turkey.

The first thing that jumps out is how hard this group defends as a team. Outside of the initial five or so possessions when Canada was confused on a couple of switch outs and was late helping on Mexico's 2/3 high sets, the group did a very good job stopping the ball and dealing with the Mexican sets, which were well run at least when it was still somewhat of a game in the first half. Unlike prior teams in prior years, all 5 guys on the floor for the most part defended within the system with some jam and if it continues, this should keep the Canadians in most games of this tournament. Canada also dominated on the glass as it was "one and done" on most defensive possessions and Canadian athletes did their usual solid job attacking the "o" glass.

Offensively, this group ran their offense with more precision, spaced the floor and shared the ball as well as any Canadian team in the last three or so summers. The sets were being run much more crisply and when help was drawn, generally the ball moved quickly and ended up in the hands of an open shooter after 4 or more touches. Outside of a few occasions, the ball wasn't pounded into the floor - it moved among everyone. In transition, the ball was headmaned and the balanced scoring (all 10 Canadians who played significant minutes scored) indicated that the group isn't concerned with who scores. And Canada made shots which always helps.

This game was over early as Canada led for good after 6'6" Olu Famutimi hammered home a put-back to provide a 7-5 lead, which started a 7-0 run and Canada built a 17 point lead after the first quarter, punctuated by a 70' buzzer-beating heave by back up point guard Tyler Kepkay. The Canadians then really clamped down defensively in the second quarter, holding the wilting Mexicans, who had an emotionally draining opening-night loss to Puerto Rico the night before in which they led for three quarters, to only 8 second quarter points to lead by 28 at half. Then Canada's top two names 6'10" Joel Anthony and 6'5" Carl English, who was the one Canadian who had a wreched first half, keyed an 18-3 third quarter run, including the first 9 points of the quarter and the route, as they say, was on.

6'4" Andy Rautins was on fire from downtown, finishing with 6 3's for his game-high 18 points. Carleton alumnus Aaron Doornekamp, playing on the second unit of five for Canada, had extensive minutes and knocked down a late 3 but more noteably was strong defending off the ball and used his passing skills to find Rautins open twice in transition in the second quarter when it was still somewhat of a game.

It may be knit-picking however for the fleeting moments when it was still a game yesterday, there were some possessions that invoked memories of Canadian teams of the recent past, usually when English was entrusted in the decision making. Shot selection has generally been an issue with English, who started the game about 1 for 7 with at least 2 turnovers, and while he was part of several excellent ball movement sequences yesterday, he did revert to dribbling into unfavorable situations as well as taking a number of ill-advised 3's and pull ups off the dribble. The shots English tried in the first half that weren't going in, did go in the third quarter as he was on fire with 14 of his 17 points including 4 3's in that frame. And it appears English is really trying to lead on the floor and encourage when sitting. However, reverting back to situations where shot selection is questionable and decision-making with the ball off the dribble into traffic leads to turnovers show that there are still issues to improve on.

Canada generally used two groups of five, although they didn't sub 5 for 5, as coach Leo Rautins started Jermaine Anderson, English, Anthony, Famutimi and Jermaine Bucknor, who had a strong start making shots. The second unit consisted of veteran captain Jesse Young, who was solid again especially on the defensive glass, Kepkay, Levon Kendall, Rautins and Doornekamp. Young Kyle Landry got some time at the end as well.

Anthony was probably the best Canadian at both ends of the floor, defending, rebounding and blocking shots and then had a tremendous offensive third quarter before shutting it down in the blow out.

Canada gets the U.S. Virgin Islands today and with a victory will virtually clinch already a spot in the second round. Game time on the SCORE is 4 PM with a 10 PM replay.


Canadian Press article on yesterday's win

Easy pickings: Canada opens FIBA Americas by routing Mexico


Andy Rautins scored 18 points and Carl English added 17 of his own as Canada trounced Mexico 95-40 in its opening game yesterday at the FIBA Americas basketball tournament.

The Canadians broke away early and were never seriously threatened against Mexico, which fell 81-66 to the host Puerto Ricans in its tournament opener Wednesday night. Canada led by 28 points after the first half and cruised from there as it looks to improve on its fifth-place finish at the previous FIBA Americas competition.

Canada coach Leo Rautins said his team wanted to jump on the tired Mexicans early.

"We're an energy team," Rautins said in a conference call. "We have to play a high-energy game in any situation, but especially in an environment like this where Mexico has to play the late game the night before.

"It's critical to come out and take advantage of whatever scheduling quirks there are and I thought our guys did a great job coming out ready to play."

Five Canadians wound up in double figures in scoring, including Jermaine Bucknor (11), Joel Anthony (11) and Olu Famutimi (10). Tyler Kepkay added eight points in the victory.

Andy Rautins -- who scored all 18 of his points from beyond the arc -- said a key to the game was rebounding, which Canada dominated 47-30.

"Our main goal was to keep them off the glass and rebound because that's how we won against them last time," said the younger Rautins, who plays at Syracuse University.

Noe Alonso Chavez led the way with 10 points for Mexico.

The Canadians dominated at both ends of the court, shooting 58% (19-for-33) from three-point range and 49% overall, while limiting Mexico to 22% shooting (13-for-60).

Canada's next Group A qualifying round game is today against the U.S. Virgin Islands.