Friday, 4 September 2009

Canada Basketball articles

Canada Basketball is starting to get some coverage however still no one in Puerto Rico with the team to our knowledge.

Canada still alive - barely - in world berth bid

PHOTO: Canada's Aaron Doornekamp drives for a dunk during their FIBA Americas Championship quarterfinals basketball game against Panama in San Juan, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009. Canada won 97-65.

Doug Smith

Canada has given itself the only thing it asked at the FIBA Americas world basketball qualifier: A chance.

By drubbing Panama 97-65 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, yesterday afternoon, the Canadians may now be able to earn a berth in next year's world championships by beating the Dominican Republic in the final game of their quarter-final round tonight.

However, a win is mandatory and may still not be enough. If Uruguay can upset Argentina, a Canadian win would set up a three-way tie for the fourth and final worlds berth, leaving the outcome in the hands of FIBA's points-differential tiebreaker.

But considering Canada had lost four straight heading into yesterday's game, even having a chance is good enough for them.

"There's really nothing to be nervous about," head coach Leo Rautins said on a conference call. "If you lose to a better team, you lose to a better team. Just don't put yourself in a position to beat yourself."

The Dominicans are led by a trio of NBA regulars, former Raptor and current Detroit Piston Charlie Villanueva, Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks and Francisco Garcia of the Sacramento Kings.

The last time Canada qualified for a world championship was in 2001 and it finished 13th among 16 teams a year later in Indianapolis.

That was the last significant senior tournament Canada has participated in.

Missing out on next year's tournament in Turkey would be a blow to a resurgent program that's seen the under-19 team finish seventh in the world this summer and the under-17 team qualify for its inaugural world championships next year.


Canada talking Turkey: Underdog hoopsters one win away from booking trip to 2010 worlds


With Tropical Storm Erika ready to soak the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, the Canadian men's basketball team can only wait out the storm and then try to rain on the Dominican Republic's parade today.

Despite being written off numerous times this week at the FIBA Americas championship, being held in San Juan, Team Canada is one win away for next summer's world championships in Turkey.

Canada came through with a one-sided 97-65 victory over Panama yesterday to improve its quarterfinal record to 2-4.

Due to point differential, the bottom line is that Canada needs to defeat the favoured Dominican team.

A win today would be a coup for head coach Leo Rautins and his underdog team.

"I think our guys are feeling pretty good about themselves right now," Rautins said in a conference call.

Rautins' son, Andy Rautins of Syracuse, N.Y., led all players with 23 points, including 5-for-7 shooting from three- point range.

Carl English of Patrick's Cove, Nfld., followed with 16 points in 21 minutes. Peterborough's Jesse Young added 14 points and was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Coach Rautins said that his team's hard-fought 68-59 loss to the tournament's elite side, Brazil, on Wednesday, actually did wonders for the team heading into yesterday's game against Panama.

"I said (before the Brazil game), win or lose, let's get our swagger back," said Rautins, whose future as head coach depends largely on how the team plays at this tournament.

The Canadian team hit a low point earlier in the tournament when it lost a close game to Uruguay, one of the three clubs left fighting for the fourth-place spot.

But since then, the Canucks have rebounded with some strong efforts.

"It's not often in life you get a second chance. But we have an opportunity now that could have slipped away with our loss to Uruguay," Rautins said. "So we've got nothing to be nervous about (against the Dominican Republic). I just told our guys to remember that feeling after the Uruguay game and don't ever leave a game feeling like that again."

The Dominican team features NBAers Al Horford, Francisco Garcia and former Raptors forward Charlie Villanueva.

How Canada defends the jump-happy Charlie V will go a long way to determining today's outcome.

Rautins' squad is without, as usual, most of Canada's top players, including NBA all-star point guard Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns and centre Samuel Dalembert of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Rautins banished Dalembert from the national team during last summer's Olympic qualifying tournament in Athens when the Haitian-born centre continually expressed indifference to his commitment to the team.



Canada keeps worlds hopes alive

PHOTO: Joel Anthony, right, ties up Panama's Jose Lloreda during their FIBA Americas Championship quarter-final basketball game on Thursday.

After four straight losses, Rautins scores 23 points in 97-65 triumph over Panama.

Canada’s men’s basketball team feels it’s been given a second chance — one the players vow they won’t let slip away.

The Canadians defeated Panama 97-65 at the FIBA Americas tournament Thursday to remain in the running for a berth in next year’s world basketball championships in Turkey.

The Canadians face the Dominican Republic in a crucial game Friday, the final matchup of their quarter-final round. A win over the Dominicans, combined with an Uruguay loss to Argentina, would give Canada a spot in the 2010 world championships.

Canada’s hopes looked slim earlier in the tournament after an upset loss to Uruguay, and Canadian coach Leo Rautins said his team has learned from that game.

“I told the guys today, it’s not often in life you get a second chance and we had an opportunity that could have slipped away losing to Uruguay, but because of the way everything played out, we have a second chance,” said Rautins.

“There’s nothing to be nervous about, just remember that feeling you had after the Uruguay game, remember how it felt when you felt when you said ’jeez, maybe if we’d done a little bit more here or came out a little be more aggressive’. . . don’t ever leave a game feeling like that.”

Andy Rautins of Syracuse, N.Y., scored 23 points and shot 5-for-7 from three-point range to top the Canadians (2-4). Carl English of Patrick’s Cove, N.L., finished with 16 points and Jesse Young of Peterborough, Ont., added 14. Miami Heat forward Joel Anthony of Montreal had five rebounds to go with eight points in the quarter-final round game.

Danilo Pinnock had 21 points to lead Panama (1-5).

The tournament’s top four finishers move on to the world championships, a tournament Canada’s men’s team hasn’t played at since the 2002 tournament in Indianapolis where the Canadians finished 13th.

The Dominican Republic (3-3) defeated Mexico 86-73 on Thursday to remain in fourth place, one spot ahead of Canada. Brazil did Canada a favour by earning an 82-62 victory over Uruguay (2-4).

Canada dominated from the outset against Panama, ending the first quarter 22-15 and heading into the dressing room up 45-24 at halftime. The Canadians led by as much as 33 points en route to victory, allowing Rautins to spread out the playing time, giving key players a rest.

“So far we’re not even close as far as taxing our key players, we’ve had very good distribution of minutes,” Rautins said. “We’ve had an opportunity to play everybody and keep our legs fresh and hopefully that will be a factor (Friday).”

Brazil (6-0) and Puerto Rico (5-1) have already secured their spots for Turkey. The Puerto Ricans suffered their first loss of the tournament Thursday, dropping an 80-78 decision to Argentina (5-1).

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