Canada, the crowd and a Raptor says goodbye
But for now, it does look like this team will play hard, it’s athletically-challenged, it really, really, really, really needs point guard Jermaine Anderson to get healthy and it’s young.
There is, however, some depth to take care of those times when one or two shooters go stone cold and I do quite like the intensity with which they play.
I still contend getting out of the first round at the worlds will be a solid accomplishment for this group as it tries to build something for the 2012 Olympics and 2016 2014 worlds.
I know there is some sense of optimism about the future given the youth of this group but that future isn’t here quite yet.
The crowd? It was terrible. Just over 2,600? Shameful.
I know, ticketmaster and service charges and no TV and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah; there should have been more people in the seats.
Canada Basketball is trying to do something to enhance the program’s image here, they also know it’s a long and hard road back to capture the imagination of casual fans in this city.
But games like last night, and tonight, are a good starting point and I’m sure there was some disappointment running through the ranks when they announced the number of people in the seats.
But I know Wayne Parrish pretty well and Maurizio’s not going away any time soon I do know they aren’t going to get too discouraged and throw up their arms in despair.
Still, they could use some help and that’s where people who squawk about no basketball to watch need to get involved.
Besides, the Chicken was there and a half dozen or so June Taylor Dancers showed up and there were contests and noise (although FIBA, bless its heart, doesn’t allow music to be blared during the actual playing of the game) so what’s not to like?
See you there tonight, right?
It’d been a while since I’d been in the press room at the ACC and as I rounded the corner to my little piece of work space, it became obvious something was amiss.
There are pictures of various Leaves and Raptors lining the walls, huge action shots, and the eagle-eyed reporter in my noticed large sections of wall where photos once were.
Combing the dark recesses of my mind (a dusty cobweb-infested place few should go) I tried to recall what had been there in June when I last stopped by.
Body’s not even cold yet and the pictures are gone.
Funnily enough, glancing back over my shoulder I did happen to see the same old shots of Hedo Turkoglu that had been there all last season.
Figure they’ll be gone today.
Wonder if they’ve got replacements of Jarrett Jack to fill the spaces?
Given we’re at the start of the big international basketball season, here’s a little teaser from the mail.
Q: Hey Doug, just wondering how you would rank Canada's developmental system for young players, and how it compares to other countries like France, Spain, Greece, Argentina, Brazil, etc.?
Ange A, Toronto
A: How it compares? Not nearly good enough.
And that’s the biggest issue going forward for the poobahs who run the game here in Canada. The most successful programs in the world have great club systems that have better coaching, more dedication to practice and skill development and more emphasis on getting kids into one system and keeping them there than we do.
A perfect example:
A few years ago, Super Son said he wanted to play basketball one winter so he joined a local Mississauga house league (which one doesn’t matter because I understand this happens too frequently) and off he went.
Well, it was supposed to be one day a week at a local gym, 45 minutes of practice and a 45-minute game.
There were a handful of times there were no coaches at all, sometimes some parents would try to run some drills but most of the time the kids ran layup lines for half an hour or so and then they played what could only loosely be called a “game.”
He dropped out after a couple of winters because, frankly, he was getting nothing out of it.
Now, I’m sure that doesn’t happen anywhere, and there’s every chance he might have bagged the idea anyway but he also might have gone on to really like the program.
Except it didn’t like him and who knows how many other kids are lost.
I know they are trying, and it’s hard to find gyms and coaches who know what they’re doing and have the time, but until the grassroots programs improve, there’s no way we’ll ever really catch up.
Raptors news! Raptors news! Raptors news!
Well, sort of.
Let’s put this in the category of Guy Who Wasn’t Going To Play Won’t since I’m told the Raptors will put Dwayne Jones on waivers today so he’ll clear by Sunday and they can release him before guaranteeing any of his 2010-11 contract.
I know: “Who?” Jones would be the other guy who came over from Phoenix simply as cap ballast and to give Toronto a bit bigger trade exception from the Hedo deal.
He never was going to play here and, come Sunday, he officially won’t.
He will be missed.
Hey, you know how in the regular season we try to give you links to how friend cover games for their papers.
Well, the bilingual among you might like this.
I miss tennis.
Who won last night?
Oh, right, mail.
Forgot this a couple of items ago and the mailbag’s a little full already but there’s always room for more.
Figure we’ll do the usual junk like this tomorrow – we’ve got the game tonight and the Hall of Fame induction to touch on since it’s been totally ignored.
And that’ll give me something to type this afternoon while waiting for the big game to start. And to start the in-game blog thingy since it seemed to be okay last night.