Forget the Raptors, how about those junior girls?
They’ve only got one roster spot, it’s looking more and more like it won’t go to Carlos Delfino (I’d put it at 4-96 right now and there’s no sense of urgency whatsoever to fill it right now.
So time to coast, right? Think we’ll do this usual stuff through Sunday and then get to the old routine, one a week for old time’s sake – maybe looking at a division or two each time out – and a weekly mailbag if you’ve got some good questions.
But, when it gets boring around the Raptors and the NBA, what do we turn to?
Well, we turn to teenage girls basketball and one of the best Canadian stories in quite some time.
While you were sleeping ...
A big win – huge, in fact – for Canada’s Under-19 team at the world junior championships as you can read here.
Not only did Canada qualify for the semi-finals for the first time in 24 years at this event, being assured of a top-four finish – and with two shots at a medal – really validates the development program that’s being put in place by Canada Basketball.
You want some context: Only three times previous has Canada even qualified for these championships – they were eighth in 1985, ninth in 2005 and ninth again in 2007.
It doesn’t get any easier, that’s for sure, because Canada gets the United States in the semis but who knows what this team is capable of.
The names are I’m sure quite unfamiliar to all of you, they were to me and I’m kind of around this group fairly often, but the hope here has to be that they become at least a little more recognizable as the years go on.
I’ve always thought Canada’s women’s program – even up to the senior level – was destined for better things than the men, an opinion developed by talking to people really tied into the development of the game at the junior level.
They may not become WNBA stars but there are more than a few women doing good things at high profile American colleges, the European leagues are littered with Canucks and this new wave seems to be putting Canada truly on the global map.
You can read some reaction from one of the top players here and tune back into this space tomorrow and we’ll see what we can drum up off the semifinal game.
No matter what happens, Canada’s going to play for a medal at a world basketball championship on Sunday and we haven’t been able to say that for quite some time.
So long, Devean, we hardly knew ye. In fact, we never knew ye. But it got a guy thinking (mostly because I had to do something last night waiting for the baseball coaches meeting/soiree to begin) so ....
The First (And Likely Last) By George Team
No, not the American Pie crooner, the dude who was cap ballast in a 2001 three-team trade.
The principles in that one were Brian Skinner and Ricky Davis, not Don McLean but he was a Raptor, if in name alone, and that gets him on this team.
He was Steve Francis before Steve Francis was Steve Francis, refusing to report when they got him from Portland in the February, 1988 1998 Damon Stoudamire trade.
No way I was leaving him/me off the list.
So what if he was like the memorable Keith (Mr.) Jennings, Jerome Kersey, Dontonio Wingfield, Andres Guibert, and B.J. Armstong as expansion draft picks who never even made it to camp, his name gets him before all others.
Here's the story, which may or may not be true.
Raptors trade Alvin Williams for the tough but undersized Fortson the day before the trade deadline in 2000. Rick Pitino gets killed in the Boston media and as we're all flying to San Fran for Vince's coronation, Celtics rescind the trade because, allegedly, Alvin flunks his physical. Which is strange since he went on to play about a million games after that and Pitino skulked back to college.
Still, Fortson was a Raptor for about 36 hours and never got to the city.
And if by any chance - like he just doesn't feel like it - he can't fulfill his duties as captain of this team, his role will be filled by Rob Babcock, who knew when he made the deal that there was no way Mourning would ever cross the border.
Yes, it truly is vacation time for the people who run the Raptors. The GM’s taking some down time, which means The Henchmen get a chance to relax, too, and if you’re looking for news, I’m afraid it really is going to slow down an awful lot.
About all we’ve got to look forward to is the regular season schedule and, besides opening at home against Cleveland, I got a couple of other nuggets yesterday.
Orlando’s in right off the bat, on Nov. 1, which is the second home game of the season so the rivalry everyone’s anxious to see continue starts right away.
And, in news that’s purely selfish, we’re home for the holidays for the first time in a long time. No crazy extended road trip broken up by Christmas; a game Dec 23 in Detroit, and home games on the 27th and 29th. Yay.
Anyway, the whole thing should be out the first of the week and that’ll give us something to dissect but the word I’m getting it that it’s one of the best schedules for a light travel load in many a year.
So, Lamar Odom is headed back to the Lakers.
Colour me not surprised. But I also imagine a lot of Eastern Conference coaches and GMs are quite happy that he played the Heat like a fiddle and didn’t actually sign with a conference rival.
I couldn't help but notice the first round of the Buick Open over by Flint went off under glorious sunny skies. Some tournaments have all the luck.