Seriously, there's a little bit of news in here today
Maybe nothing earth-shattering but given the dearth of news around these parts for the last couple of days, this is a treasure trove of information you’re not going to get anywhere else.
It’s going to be a rather boring season on RaptorsTV this year; or so I’m hearing from a variety of insiders.
If you’re a fan of Double Dribble (kind of PTI Lite), or Full Court Press (formerly known as the Norma Wick Goodtime Hour until they tinkered with the format and whacked guys like, well, guys like me) or the TV simulcast of the H oops radio show (kind of like McCown with a single focus), you’re in deep doo-doo.
All three are getting the axe, the spies report, in what has to be a cost-cutting measure. No idea what they’ll be replaced with but whatever it is will come from the vault or NBA-TV, not from some self-produced Raptors-specific programming.
Kinda sucks, doesn’t it? Not that I watched those shows religiously, or even agnostically, but someone had to and that’s two hours a week of Raptors programming gone out the window.
Oh, one more, now that I think of it.
Word circulating around the bar equivalent of the water cooler last night was that the pre- and post-game Raptor game-night shows are being cut back from 60 minutes to half an hour.
Anyway, you wanted some dribs and drabs of news, you got ‘em.
Another accomplishment for the young Canadian programs at the international level.
The under-16 girls, Cadettes in the parlance of FIBA, knocked off Argentina last night down in Mexico and have qualified for the world championships next year.
They get a shot at the Americans tonight for gold at the tournament but have already joined the Cadet men (like how FIBA does the politically-correct spelling thingy?) in getting to the inaugural worlds next summer.
So, two teams have qualified, the under-19 women were fourth in the world and the under-19 men were seventh.
Over to you, senior teams. Let’s see if you can match the success of the youngsters.
Oh yeah, when I was at this men’s team bun-toss last night (and I can highly recommend St. Louis Bar and Grill on King Street by the King Eddy as a nice place to hang your hat and meet nice people), of course some of the chatter got around to the games in Italy and that minor fracas in the last game.
No one was at all worked up about it; they felt as I did that, as international incidents go, it was tres minor and, trust me, there are guys on the team who figure they gave as good as they got before, during and after the melee.
And in a crowd that included a few oldsters like myself, most of the talk about Italy was in comparison to a little dustup way back in 2000 in Montreal. On their way to the Sydney Olympics, or maybe it was before the qualifier (the mind’s sharp but it has its dull spots), Canada hosted Brazil in a “friendly” at the arena by the Big Owe that included a helluva argument replete with tossed chairs and much, much menacing behaviour.
That was relatively serious; the one in Italy, all concur, was really nothing.
Maybe 2014 in Spain.
Speaking of old friends, I hear Garbo’s blowing off Khimki this coming season and signing back in his homeland with Real Madrid.
No word on the money or the years but it’s a good move; I always thought Garbo was far more Spain than he was Russia.
And, no, there is no chance – zero, nada, zip, ain’t gonna happen – that he could come back here.
Please. That ship has sailed.
In the time it took me to type those last three items, Quentin Richardson had not been traded.
So, the Raptors play four pre-season games here, trips to London, Minneapolis, Sioux Falls and Hartford and I’m thinking, how boring is this?
One thing, though, and it seems to be a tradition over at the Air Canada Centre.
Somehow, they’ve once again scheduled a home exhibition game on Thanksgiving Sunday, this time an afternoon affair Oct. 11 against Washington. I know they have to jam four home games into a relatively short period but don’t you think they could take the Canadian sensitivities into consideration and have the one holiday off?
So, with that rather humdrum pre-season sked this year, I’m hoping next year they really take care of us.
I’m voting for a game in London (the big one, over the ocean) and then a quick side trip to Turkey to play in front of Hedo’s peeps. Whaddya say, Bryan, can you make that work? And if you wanted to get us back to Spain, I’m all for that, too.
Oh yeah, back to that Canada trip to Italy and the fallout.
I’m told both Jesse Young, who apparently played his head off over there; and Aaron Doornekamp both came away from the exhibition tour with contracts in the top Italian league for this coming season.
And that’s one of the huge benefits for getting the national team out there on the road, where scouts and other coaches and other teams can see these guys. Finding a good-paying gig in a good league in Europe isn’t easy, but it’s huge for the development of the Canadian players and there’s no doubt in my mind that these two guys wouldn’t be getting the deals they got had Basketball Canada not found some way to get the money to send the team on that trip.
All right, we’ll stop back sometime on the weekend with a mailbag. Not sure when since there’s a Mighty Yankees playoff game at the gawdawful hour of 10 a.m. Saturday and then a Stumpy Turns Half A Century fete Saturday night at this joint I know downtown, but we’ll get to it sometime.
Have a nice weekend.