It's getting closer, finally
Two weeks ‘til camp starts. Everyone excited? Bet it’ll be a lot like a fortnight of Christmas Eves for some of you, waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting.
So we’ll try to help you pass the time each morning with the regular snippets of stuff. And given that things are starting to move around the Raptors, maybe there’ll be some actual stuff of interest pop up.
Saw a couple of coaching and front office types on the weekend – more on that later – and they report the halls are getting crowded around the Air Canada Centre.
Guys like Anthony Parker, Nathan Jawai and Hassan Adams have been in town for a while, I’m told Andrea Bargnani is either in or due in any minute now and the rest should start filtering back to the city this week.
Sam and a chunk of his coaching staff are already ensconced in their offices and the practice gym and the grind of the season is almost underway.
So, what do that do, you ask?
What’s it mean if they’re back in town? Does camp unofficially start? What happens around the arena.
Pretty much what you expect, I’d think.
They get in the gym to work out and maybe do some scrimmaging if there are enough of them around. The workouts are typical, weight lifting sessions, shooting sessions, cardio sessions, and some drills. An assistant coach will get a call – “Hey, meet me there at 10” – and they go for anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours.
It’s nothing horribly structured – it’s not like they come up with a practice plan for days when there’s no officially scheduled practices – but they do get in a lot of individual work.
And maybe make some individual improvements in their games.
Spent a delightful night at the Ontario Basketball Association’s gala on Saturday night.
They do a great job over there delivering programs to kids throughout the province and the one thing I like better than anything?
They really seem to stress the need for better coaching at the youngest levels.
If there’s one part of the sport’s development that needs improving more than anything else, it’s good, dedicated coaches at the youngest levels. We know the kids want to play, they just have to be given more fundamental instruction more often.
I understand there’s a big – and I mean BIG – clinic coming up, more details in the next couple of weeks – that once again underscores the desire to improve coaching for all levels.
Quickly from the mail:
Q: Would you know if the Raps' pre-season games are to be aired over Raps TV? Or can you ask MLSE to do so? I have Raps TV and if the pre-season games aren't shown there, why keep it? Right?
V C, Markham
A: As far as I know right now, none of the games are to be televised but I would expect the two out in L.A. as part of that four-team pre-season tournament might turn up on one of the American networks because in the past, they have.
Will let you know more when I find out.
Speaking of that OBA dinner, -- or Ontario Basketball as it may now be known with its nifty new logo – Maurizio Gherardini stuck it out for one very important reason.
And that’s aside from picking up the award the Raptors got for their involvement with the organization.
One of the six inductees into the Hall of Fame was former national team icon Romel Raffin, the 7-footer who played on four Olympic teams in a rather impressive international career.
Seems Raffin was the reason Maurizio made his very first trip to Canada, to recruit the big man for the Forli team Maurizio was running in the Italian league at the time.
So, the Canadian ties for Maurizio go back a bit further than many of you thought, I bet.
Not sure what this meant, actually, but the tables were named after great current Canadian players and they somehow sat me at the Samuel Dalembert table.
Q: Hey Doug, I was watching some RapsTV yesterday and caught one of those 'Raptors game in an hour'. I couldn't tell you who they were playing or whether or not they were home or away but I do remember that the game was not that amazing. I was wondering whether you had any insight as to how those 'TV guys' choose the games to replay.
Mary L, Ajax
A: I have no insight whatsoever, actually, and it looks to me like they just pick ‘em willy-nilly and for no particular reason. A good old Toronto-Charlotte game is not a fine way to waste an hour.
I do know one thing after a weekend of clicking through the dial more than I’d care to admit:
Surely to all that is good in the world, they can find “NBA Classics” that are better than Games 3 and 6 of the New York-Miami playoff series from 2001.
Classics? Not so much.
But the one interesting thing was checking out the benches. There with Pat Riley, who hadn’t even quit for a first time, were Stan Van Gundy and Mark Iavaroni and if you looked behind the bench, you probably could have spotted Erik Spoelstra, who was at that time, I believe, an advance scout. Down the other end, Jeff Van Gundy had a staff that included old friend Brendan Malone and Tom Thibodeau.
Visiting with Ontario Basketball and seeing a couple of familiar faces from Canada Basketball in the crowd got one to thinking: What’s up with them?
Well, as far as I can tell from quick, private conversations, the due diligence on the coaching situation and the structure of the senior national teams program is still going on and it might be a few weeks before there’s any movement.
As regular readers will recall, I think it’s necessary to put in place some kind of “advisory board” to oversee the national team program and I would presume all of CEO Wayne Parrish’s various conversations over the summer are aimed at doing something like that.
I know there has to be a place for a guy like Jay Triano to come back and I am certain that a good basketball mind like Gord Herbert, repatriated now with the Raptors, has to be involved somehow, too.
We, as they say, shall see.