And so it begins for semi-real for Canada’s senior men’s team.
A six-game tour of Europe starts today with one of two games in France – then they get Italy and Czech Republic – and as you can see from this Canada Basketball release, the roster is as we thought it would be:
It’s very rough and rudimentary and not really the team that’ll end up in Argentina in late August to try and qualify for the 2012 Olympics.
But here’s the thing:
The one big thing the regime at Canada Basketball has done over the last half decade or so is keep most of core groups together so there is already a level of familiarity and the integration of a few new faces isn’t as troubling or difficult as it’s been in the past.
Leo Rautins, junior coach Greg Francis and cadet coach Roy Rana have done an excellent job teaching the same basic philosophies and systems from the time kids are in their mid-teens, which also helps when they have such relatively little time to prepare for their biggest competition.
I don’t think anyone should be entirely too worried about whether the men win or lose on this tour – they are getting teams far ahead in their preparation since EuroBasket comes up before the FIBA Americas qualifier – but it is an okay first step.
The interesting thing is going to be seeing who’s on the team that heads to South America in late August.
There was an indication that Cory Joseph had his insurance issues taken care of and for a team that’s been starved for a point guard – no disrespect to Jermaine Anderson but it has been a spot that could use some improvement and depth – Joseph will be huge.
Now, there is also no indication that Tristan Thompson is going to play and that’s a shame, there’s a kid who could probably use some high-level competition before his first NBA camp and it’s a shame that it looks now like he won’t be playing.
But, again, I’ll say this: This roster is fluid and there’s no sense getting too worked up until we see who doesn’t get on the plane to Argentina in a month or so.
For all of you who were super excited by the news that the NFL settled, I have two words:
Of all the exhibition junk fans are subjected to in all the sports – never-ending spring training, a billion pucks games, eight yawners in the basketball – nothing glazes over the eyes than pre-season football.
Of course, if it’s football like this …
it’s four in a row for the Canadian junior women, who spanked Russia 66-50 to open the second round at the world championships down in Chile yesterday.
Guard Nirra Fields, who might be playing as well as anyone in the tournament, had 22 for Canada, who gets Japan today in the second, second-round game.
It’s one of those rather convoluted competitions – three first-round games, three second-round games, record from the first round carries over but only from games against the two other teams that advanced – so it’s impossible right now to say where they’ll finish.
But it’s been my experience that three wins (two that carried over from the unbeaten first round and the one yesterday) should be enough to guarantee a quarter-final berth and going 4-0 with a win over Japan today would clinch it.
I’m not 100 per cent sure on this, but I can pretty much assure you this is the first time any Canadian team at any age group championship has won its first four games.
Ball yard tonight.
IGBT if you’d care to join in, let’s say 7ish?
You know we’ve had a list a couple of times about sports events that had lost their luster, at least to me?
Toss the Skins Game onto that pile, for sure.
I can remember back in the day when you’d make sure to be near a TV to see guys like Fred Couples or even Jack Nicklaus or maybe John Daly take part.
Now I noticed on the TV after Mighty Rockies practice last night that the Canadian game was on and it had five guys and was on a beautiful course and I did nothing but yawn and not pay attention.
Or course, if those guys were ever playing for their own money – or hadn’t already been guaranteed ‘X’ dollars just for showing up I might be a tad more interested. But that’s asking way too much.