That didn't end too well, did it?
And another Canada season ends. Badly.
Not that anyone thought they had a legitimate chance against Croatia but that was rather dreadful nonetheless.
At no point in the game did anyone, ever, think Canada could pull off an upset and give itself a chance at the Olympics.
(Oh, and about that mailbag thing? I’m a tad under the weather and need the rest of the morning to finish it off; it’ll be up sometime later today, I hope. And there’s lots so come prepared to read)
Some quick observations in the early morning:
Canada now will have missed the 2004 Olympics, the 2006 world championships and the 2008 Beijing Games. I’ve long held that the next significant international competition they’d be in would be the 2010 worlds but now I’m not entirely sure of that.
I really like Olu Famutimi’s game and if he ever figures out how to assert himself consistently, he could be really good.
Levon Kendall and Joel Anthony look built for international play but they are too young to be real good right now.
That’s about it, actually.
Carl English disappeared. Don’t know if he couldn’t handle coming off the bench or if the game’s too quick for him but they needed him and he didn’t produce.
They still don’t have a backup point guard and as much as Tyler Kepkay and Andy Rautins might think they are, they are not good enough against even mid-level international teams at the moment.
Have we seen the last of Rowan Barrett and David Thomas? Probably. I can see no reason why Barrett would play again and Thomas is over 30 and probably has had enough.
Coaching? That’s an issue. I believe Leo’s contract runs out after the Olympics, or at least comes up for review.
You can argue Xs and Os ‘til you’re blue in the face – I don’t think there was nearly enough creativity in the offence and there’s plenty to discuss about that -- but there are other factors to think about besides plays and substitution patterns.
Like winning. Or being competitive.
No worlds. No Olympics. Nothing better than a fifth in FIBA Americas. That’s not good enough.
And I’m not sure the signal sent by cutting Sam Dalembert in the middle of a tournament is at all good.
Sam may have been the Devil personified (and apparently that’s how the coach painted him in a radio interview Thursday) but if that was the case, shouldn’t something have been done before the qualification tournament was under way? Shouldn’t someone maybe taken him aside when he was allegedly being late to all those meetings and practices and disassociating himself from the team during training camp or the games here? I cannot believe his disruptive behaviour happened only in Germany and Athens. If it did, it should have been dealt with before the Slovenia game, not on the bus to the arena to play Korea.
It was badly handled.
I’m not sure if some people think Andrea Bargnani’s been lying on the couch snacking on bon-bons all summer (I get a lot of questions asking if he’s “been following the program and working out”) but he hasn’t been.
And they’ll get to check on him as early as tomorrow.
I’m told he’s supposed to be at Impact Basketball, the venerable workout gym in Las Vegas, either tomorrow or Sunday for a week and then he’s sticking around to work at Tim Grgich’s big man camp right after that.
And he won’t be too far from the prying eyes of his bosses. Strength and conditioning guru Keith D’Amelia will be around Impact and Eric Hughes, who’s been coaching the summer league team, is going to be a guest coach at the big man camp.
So, yes, Bargnani is doing stuff.
There’ll be a big group of Raptors at Impact, too, I’m told.
Jermaine O’Neal’s there almost every day, Hassan Adams is sticking around after the summer league’s over and so is Nathan Jawai.
How do you think Canada, whoever wants to play, that is, will do against the United States next week in Vegas?
I got the USA minus-50.
Here’s one mail question I got to:
Q: Having read Leo Rautins' recent article reminiscing about the team mentality of the Canadian national team preparing for the boycotted Moscow Olympics, I wonder if he expects a certain collegial brotherhood on today's national team that realistically can't be expected in today's age. Do you think he has an expectation of what a team should be, i.e. a certain attitude or bonding away from the court, that has alienated some of this country's players?
Tim F, Monterrey
A: I’m not sure what Leo’s expectations are exactly, other than all members of the team are treated equally and should be equally committed to making sure the whole is better than the sum of its parts.
But I agree that expectation may be too much in this day and age. Every player has different factors tugging at him, contracts, background, history with the program and with his teammates. I don’t think on anything like a national basketball team that’s realistic.
I think each case, and each player, has to be handled delicately, and differently. These are professionals giving up a big chunk of their summer for no pay and under sometimes tough circumstances and each has to be taken individually.
It’s a tough balance, though.
I see Eddie House isn’t going back to Boston – they signed Anthony Roberson instead – and if you’re a Raptor fan, I’d keep his name in mind. I know he’s on a list over at headquarters of guys who might be available for minimum money later this summer to fill that 13th spot.
My bad I misread a note from a friend, it's the Knicks who signed Roberson. The note said they took him INSTEAD of Boston's Eddie House and it was early and I just read it wrong.
But House does really remain in Toronto's sights.
The Raptors are, what?, 0-3 at the Summer League and no one’s written to suggest Eric Hughes be fired? What’s wrong with you people?
Another one from an old mail delivery before I go get coffee and settle in to listen to the call from Greece and try to figure out what’s next:
Q: Hey Doug, I was just checking my source for all things true, untrue and everything in between (Wikipedia) about the Toronto Raptors. How is it that Anthony Parker is listed as a captain as well as Chris Bosh? Is it like the NHL in the sense that he is an alternate captain if Bosh is injured? Or is Wikipedia once again falling into the middle category?
Shannon M, Brampton
A: No, actually, a lot of NBA teams have two, sometimes three, “captains.” Not sure exactly why, tradition probably more than anything. It’s really not comparable to hockey at all.