Of Jack and Leo and a blast from the past
You know what’s weird?
You go in the office a couple of days and they ask you to write about China so you write two days about pollution and smog and cheating and bird flu and some more pollution and smog and air quality and then they ask you if you’re excited to be going.
Anyway, T-minus four days ‘til departure so still more time for boring old summer basketball news. Except today, there are some nuggets of news.
Here we go:
I’m hearing that we won’t get the schedule today but we may get a look at least part of the pre-season schedule, which includes that CSKA Moscow visit, which I’m hearing is Oct. 14. That’s gotta be right around Thanksgiving, no? Funny about the Raptors and Thanksgiving. I’m not sure, in the past, they’ve actually taken that holiday into account given that it’s not, you know, the American version. I don’t know how many years they’ve had games on the weekend that either didn’t consider the paucity of fans since they’d be with family or didn’t consider the inconvenience to, you know, us media types who miss just about every other holiday for games.
But I digress …
Not sure what else they’re going to announce today but whispers are we’re going to Los Angeles for a couple of games, likely in the four-team tournament they usually run out there, and then I think there’s a quick trip up to Edmonton for the traditional “Spread The Gospel Game In Canada” game.
Word, late if you’re a regular reader here, comes down yesterday that, yes, Jack and Leo are back to share analyst duties on TV this season, with Jack handling TSN and Leo doing The Score and CBC, both along with play-by-play dude Matt Devlin.
But because we like to advance stories here in blogger-land, I’m hearing that the breakdown is about 45 nights of Jack Games and 37 nights of Leo Games.
It’s unofficial, and maybe off a game or two because the schedule’s not cast in stone yet, but those are the ballpark numbers.
A topical mail one, given yesterday’s jurisprudence events:
Q: Not really a Raptors question, but a basketball one nevertheless. So Tim Donaghy gets 15 months for his sheniagans. Frankly, from the reports and speculations, I figured he would have gotten a lot more. Do you know if he will have to serve the whole time, or is there time off for good behavior? Also, you may have addressed this before, but do you think Donaghy was the lone rogue ref in the league? In looking back on some of the more controversial calls (and yes, the refs are humans and will make mistakes), it sure makes one wonder.
Colin W, Toronto
A: I’m actually thinking the sentence was about what everyone I talked to expected, in fact some figured it’d be a year. And given that I don’t think too many criminals ever serve their entire sentences, I’d presume he’d be in the hoosegow for fewer than 15 entire months.
I do think Donaghy was the lone criminal among the officiating staff, the refs I know are honest men who have a difficult job and feel horrible about the hit their profession has taken.
It’s funny, but all of Donaghy’s more astounding assertions – about that Laker-Kings game in ’02, the number of calls he made to Scott Foster (who is thought of as one of the best young officials in the game) – all came while the judge was trying to determine a sentence and were well known to law enforcement officials who never pursued criminal probes against the officials who were slagged.
I think it’s good that the league restructured the top of its officiating hierarchy – a new big boss, two underbosses will oversee officials from now on – and when the Pedowitz report comes out (the independent investigation into the whole affair) I think we’ll get a better look at what’s wrong, and what has to be corrected, within the league office.
So, if you’re looking for a Euroleague team to cheer for, how about Khimki Moscow.
Not only do they have Garbo and Delfino (and I know at least a couple friends who will be closely watching for whatever Garbo does – apparently he has that affect on some of the ladies) a look at the roster today shows one Milton Palacio and the esteemed Jerome Moiso.
(Wonder if Milt’s got the layup problem licked yet?)
Moiso brings back one of the great Sam moments of the last four years. We’re in Orlando, they get killed and in his post-game scrum Sam, totally unprovoked and entirely out of character for a coach who rips players publicly, absolutely kills Moiso – can’t play, empty uniform, won’t work, piece of poop, all very un-Sam-like.
I don’t even think Moiso played in the game so, being the enterprising grunts we are, we immediately head to Moiso’s locker and the kid’s like a deer in the headlights.
"Huh? Said what? Who? Sam? Me? Um, I dunno. Work hard. Try my best. Ah, don’t know. Who? Sam? Said what?”
Wonder if Sam’s gonna call Khimki’s coach?
Emeka Okafor gets $72 million and what’s a guy to think? Well, centres don’t come cheap, I guess, but the suspicion here is that Okafor is a bit over-rated and that’s not money well spent. Not that the options were plentiful, though, so I guess you can just chalk it up to the Bobcats over-spending to keep one of their own.
And I think you can draw some parallels to the past here, where if you wanted to keep your own free agents, or attract others to a situation that’s gloomy – given what’s gone on with the Bobcats with crowds and on-court performance since they returned, it’s as a gloomy there as it ever was here – you’ve got to spend a bit more than you’d probably like.
Another one from the mail:
Q: Hey Doug - love the blog. Two quick questions for you:
1. Has there been any more discussion of the Raps creating their own D-League team in Ontario. Any narrowing down of locations?
2. Regarding the debacle that is our National Program (even though the kids are looking alright...), is there any chance that Basketball Canada would look outside of Canada for someone to lead the program or coach if they don't go with Leo? It seems to be relatively common with European soccer/football in countries where they are far more passionate about that sport than Canadians are about basketball. Does Triano have what it takes to lead the whole thing? Would he forgive the previous slight?
Dan D, Hamilton
A: The D League thing is still cooking but it can’t, or won’t happen now until the ’09-10 season at least and I don’t think they’ve narrowed the possible locations down at all. In fact, given how things worked at the Ricoh Coliseum for the Canada games this summer, it may be on the list as a legitimate location now and I’m not sure it was before. It’s a very good, small, basketball venue.
As for Canada, when it comes time to look at a coach, and that’s gonna be a while ‘cause they’ve got to structure the system first, but I think their first choice will be someone from here.
Jay? I know the new regime has reached out to him, and to Nash, and to several others from the past, I don’t know how far along that process is.