It's time to take some time on coaches and, of course, some music
In a total throwback to the good old days, there’s lots of basketball in here today.
You know who should be the next full-time head coach of Canada’s national men’s basketball team?
They don’t need one, shouldn’t pay one, can do without one.
In the wake of Thursday’s news (here’s a link to a story from our paper today that some might have missed) the knee-jerk reaction is to think about a successor to Leo Rautins.
I heard a lot of love for Dave Smart at Carlton, Kevin Hanson of UBC, a few of you suggested Jay Triano come back and I haven’t look at the e-mail or twitter stuff yet his morning to see who else is on your list but if Greg Francis isn’t on it, something’s terribly wrong.
Why get anyone now when it’s entirely possible they mothball the full senior team next summer when there’s nothing to play for?
What they should probably do is run some sort of junior-senior combo team, work on skill development, perhaps make a quick trip to Europe or Asia (at the hosts cost) and get their heads handed to them by Olympic-bound teams.
I’d let Greg Francis, Renato Pasquali and Roy Rana coach it and make it all about development of youngsters who need to get their feet a wee bit wet internationally.
I’d wait on hiring anyone for the senior team until early 2013 when the run up to the qualification tournament for the 2014 world championships gets serious.
Then I’d give that guy no more than a contract for one year guaranteed with a Canada Basketball option for the next year, fully dependent on that guy getting the team to the worlds.
And why not expand the search since it’s going to be a short-term deal at, relatively, low cost. Why not see if there’s a hot NBA assistant or a big-name European who wants to take his shot at a big-time international event?
The issue with Canada Basketball is not, and never was, about coaching. Yes, I’m sure we can all point to a couple specific instances in specific games where we’d have thought other decisions were made and maybe there were some flaws in the systems used.
But the problems go deeper. They are systemic and have to do with skill development of the younger players, forging relationships with kids, their parents, their agents and those who lurk in the shadows pretending to have the best interest of the teens at heart.
That doesn’t have to be done by a coach; it can be done by people around the game, people in the organization, people with a passion for Canada Basketball.
(Hey, I think I just found Leo’s new gig)
Anyway, there should be no rush to hire anyone or even think about anyone as the next head coach of the team.
So I’m guessing it was only because they knew I was the ballyard that the film festival folks didn’t ask me to wander down the red carpet with Bono and the lads last night for the debut of the U2 documentary, right?
Anyway, I didn’t see it (here’s what our chronicler said) but it got me thinking, as things do.
Best Rock Documentaries
(A disclaimer: I haven’t seen a lot, my musical tastes run more to the past than the present so …)
A top three, in order
The Last Waltz
Scorcese. The Band. Behind the scenes footage, more music than you could want.
It’s one of those things you should watch at least once a year, if not more frequently.
Hey, why don’t we hold a big outdoor concert with a band that attracts a certain kind of fan and hire a motorcycle gang to do security?
What could go wrong?
Don’t Look Back
Sure, I could go with No Direction Home and give another nod to Scorcese but this one’s better, I think.
Now, I’m sure all of you have all kinds that may be better but I remain A Grunt Of A Certain Vintage and if those three played on an endless loop, I’d be fine.
I do recall one about the Ramones that was outstanding but I don’t recall the specifics; I presume it and The Kids Are All Right might round out a Top Five.
And, no, This Is Spinal Tap, while a classic, doesn’t count.
Once more back to Canada Basketball.
I’m going to say this because I know it to be true from all the time I spent around that team and that program.
I don’t care what you think of his technical coaching abilities, there isn’t a guy who had, or has, more passion for the program than Leo.
As a coach, he had enough smarts to know what he didn’t know, if you know what I mean, which is why he added guys like Mike Malone, Renato Pasquale, Jim Todd and Scott Roth to his staff.
But as a guy who wanted the program to succeed and did all he could to build some bridges? No one tried harder or with more sincerity.
Now that I think of it, would A Grunt Of A Certain Vintage be a fine epitaph?
Man, we are full of Canada Basketball stuff.
Know what else is going on?
The world three-on-three tournament for teens over in Italy and Canada – so I hear from a spy over there – is already in action; the girls won their first game, the boys split their first two and there’s all kinds of action still going on. If you want to check it out, it’s here.
Now, I guess three-on-three is to real basketball what beach volleyball is to real basketball and despite my initial concerns about the bastardization of the sport, I can see where it’s a good thing.
Gets more kids playing, it truly does develop all around skills and that’s of paramount importance n this day and age. And we’re good at it, too.
Oh, you’d probably want to take Spain over Serbia, Germany over Turkey and Lithuania over France if you’re thinking about EuroBasket today.
Speaking off, I’m told by people who’ve been or on the ground over in Lithuania that Jonas Valanciunas has become something of a rock star with the national team.
A combination of his youth, his skill and his exuberance has made him a huge fan favourite, and that’s a saying something in a country that takes its basketball as seriously as Lithuania does.
On the court, the thing everyone I’ve talked to is impressed with is how he’s been able to play and defend and not foul. That’s always a huge concern with young kids early in their senior international career and he’s handling it very well.
And if you’re not going to take my word for it, or the word of the folks I talk to, here’s one about him you might want to read.