Monday, 31 August 2009

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.)


Anonymous said...

Mark, i think you forgot the Florida team that Brock played a few years ago.
Noah, Horford, Brewer, and Speights were all first round picks. Chris Richards and Taureen Green were all drafted as well.
Also Brock played Missuri this year (went to the elite 8) and they had a first round pick.

Anonymous said...

I think Brock would like to forget that Florida game.
The Gators beat up the Badgers, showing no mercy.
In fact, Donovan played his starters well after it was over and continued to press Brock relentlessly...a page out of Steve Spurrier's manual, perhaps?

AlwaysOUA said...

Well in all fairness to the Gators it is a tuneup game for them, so they're obligated to do what they see fit to get themselves ready for the season. Clearly it worked since they defended the NCAA Championship. At any rate, Brock may want to forget the game but it allowed arguably the greatest team in NCAA history to come up here for us to enjoy. 4 of the starting 5 from that team are in the NBA and the other plays in Germany i believe. Something very cool to happen to the OUA.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to mention and support our CIS players who play very well against these future NBAers and who don't get enough promotion in terms of their talent ... I believe Josh Gibson-Bascombe (Ottawa Gee Gees) had 30 points in their loss against Villanova when they were in Ottawa in 2007 ... not bad.