Of Hedo and hot dogs and some other stuff, too
We’re kind of all over the map here today, which makes entire sense since there remains little in the way of news to discuss, digest or disseminate.
There’s apparently some measure of consternation out there about Hedo Turkoglu’s health over in Poland.
Well, I have it on great authority – top of the food chain, actually – that his ankle is not an issue but he’s got some minor soreness in one of his knees that’s causing some issues with his mobility.
No one connected with the Raptors is concerned, it’s probably just a result of a lot of games in a lot of days and not a lot of rest time.
They don’t expect any lingering issues once camp begins in a couple of weeks; by that time, he’ll have some time off and the grind of the NBA season, while substantial, isn’t nearly as bad as the grind of five games in five days at an international event.
The trouble with this EuroBasket is that it finishes so close to the start of camp so there won’t be as much downtime as there has been in other years but, still, there’s not any angst among the big Raptors brass.
Besides, it’s not as if Turkoglu uses shocking athleticism to get his job done anyway.
It’s awfully quiet up at Pearson about 9 p.m. on a Monday.
And how do I know this, you wonder?
Well, that’s where I went to visit the national women’s senior team, which flew off to Brazil last night for their world qualifier that starts a week tomorrow.
Eight teams with three spots for next year’s worlds in Czech Republic at stake and Canada goes in a solid contender for one of the spots.
You’ll learn more about the team and the players here and in the paper over the next few days, once I get the tape transcribed, develop some good story angles and actually get to writing.
Suffice it to say, this is a pretty good team, a solid mixture of youth and experience and one that feels pretty good about its chances.
I was talking to Allison McNeil, the head coach, at length while bags were being checked and souvenir balls were being signed and the one thing I got is that the women can play any number of styles. They can go big, they can apply some full-court defensive pressure and they can force more than a few turnovers.
I’d say the big favourite in the tournament is Brazil (the United States isn’t there, they qualified automatically by winning gold in Beijing last year) but after that, you can throw a blanket over Canada, Cuba, Argentina and, maybe, Puerto Rico for those final two spots.
Speaking of Poland, Jose’s over there, and not just in a role as a cheerleader and supporter of his old Spanish team.
I hear he’s doing some television work, too.
Now, if I can find a satellite dish strong enough to pick up the Spanish TV feed of the tournament, I’d love to hear him.
One thing about Jose that maybe doesn’t come across all that much in the course of the season is that he knows the game very, very well.
It’d be interesting to hear his take on Ricky Rubio (who I’m told can’t make a shot to save his life over there) considering most of what I’m being told is that guard play’s killing Spain so far in the tournament.
Digression time: I did arrive back from the airport in time to catch the end of the Bills-Pats game and, wow, how much anger and angst do you think the folks of Buffalo are feeling this morning?
Very cool meltdown, wasn’t it?
Oh, and as a guy who has New England in our office football pool (each guy’s got four teams, total wins wins), I must say I was quite pleased by the turn of events.
Okay, how cool is this?
The good folks at the Air Canada Centre have modified some of their concession stands this year, adding some new stuff and a few media types have been invited over to sample that taste sensations this afternoon.
Yep, try out new hot dogs, check out what else they’ll be offering; all in the name of journalism.
Is this a great gig or what?
Speaking of Canada Basketball and the women’s program …
We all know the significant contribution Maurizio made on the men’s side this summer in his role as the managing director of the program.
Well, who’s his counterpart on the women’s side?
There really isn’t one, which is something I’ve been wondering about since the whole Council of Elders or Smart Overseers or whatever it’s called was set up months ago.
Trouble is, they can’t really find anyone with the same bonafides as Maurizio to do the job.
But there are those who are somewhat divorced from the program who’ve been there to offer support to Allison throughout the summer and it was pretty cool to hear their names when we were talking last night.
First off, Kathy and Ken Shields have been helping out with some advice throughout the last few months and Don McRae stopped by workouts last week in Waterloo to give what he could.
If you know anything about the national women’s team program over the last few decades, those are three names that should resonate and it’s a testament to the overall program that they’ve been able to attract greats from the past to contribute to the future.
Oh yeah, NEWS CONFERENCE!
You know how you all wonder about new guys doing media so you can all hear about how happy they are to be Raptors and what a great thing it is to be in Toronto?
Well, I’m hearing Marco Belinelli due in town any minute and – yay! – they’ll do some media with him later in the week. Or at least they plan to.
Not sure exactly when it’ll be but you will all be dutifully informed.