A great story and getting ready for the other moves
Time for full disclosure and it runs counter to the whole “we can’t be fans” thing that we hold near and dear to our hearts.
Can’t tell you how happy I was for the senior women’s team when it made it to London on Sunday afternoon.
This truly is an exceptional story and a good group of ladies who have indeed sacrificed a tremendous amount just to take a shot at returning Canada to the Olympic stage for the first time in 12 years.
Yes, I know there are any number of other athletes who’ve done the same and they should, and will be, celebrated but I’ve kind of followed this basketball team a bit closely for the last eight or 10 years – at least as closely as I could given the paucity of games and other tugs on life – and it’s kind of special.
You’ve got two veterans – Teresa Gabriele and Kim Smith – who didn’t have basketball jobs last winter but somehow found the will and determination to work every day on their own to stay in shape and improve their skills so they’d have one last shot at the Games.
Think about it. No team to play for, no basketball salary to help out, no great competition every in practices and games and yet they hung in their on the strength of their own will to be ready for the tournament that wound up Sunday in Turkey.
That’s pretty good, isn’t it?
And if London is the end of those two careers with the national team, what a perfect way to go out.
The same goes for Allison McNeill, who has coached this group to unimaginable heights and gotten every ounce possible out of them. The global arc is incredible: Canada hadn’t been to a world championship in 12 years when it qualified under McNeill’s tutelage in 2006 and then the women got back to the worlds in 2010. Now the Olympics after a 12-year drought? Very, very cool.
The women had these T-shirts printed up after they didn’t make it to the Beijing Games and it kind of sums up the whole process:
“It’s not every four years, it’s every day for four years.”
Kind of rings true and I fully admit to cracking a wide smile when they realized their goal.
I have no idea how they might do in London – they are in an excruciatingly tough group with Australia, Brazil, France, Russia and Great Britain – but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they didn’t make at least a wee bit of an impression.
I do know this, though: You’re going to get to know this team a bit better between now and the end of the Games and you will like them. Promise.
Had Spain all along.
So what’s Plan B?
We’ve been all over this Nash stuff, the other aspects of free agency for the Raptors seem to have been gone by the wayside and they shouldn’t.
Remember that a cone of silence like I’ve never seen before has descended over the franchise so we don’t know very much for sure but piecing together bits and pieces of conversations and knowing what’s out there gives a glimpse into what they might have in mind.
Trouble is, there aren’t a whole lot of options at small forward – the most dire need – and if Nash dithers at all, it could mean Toronto misses out on other guys while it waits on a decision.
Nic Batum is high on their list but Minnesota’s in the mix; perhaps the best thing about Batum is that Portland has so much money tied up in a max-contract offer to Roy Hibbert that maybe they don’t match.
Other than that? Yikes, there isn’t a lot.
Grant Hill? Can’t see it happening if they don’t get Nash; Mickeal Pietrus? He probably gives Boston a bit of a discount because he likes it there so much. Other than that? Gerald Wallace is gone; not sure there’s any love for Boris Diaw and there are those in the organization a bit cool on Ersan Ilyasova because they see him more of a four but I say make him an offer and let Dwane figure it all out.
You figured the Point Guard Plan B is pretty set, I know they’ve had discussions with Houston about (a) Lowry and (b) they like Goran Dragic a little bit and I still can’t see a scenario by which Houston goes into camp with both those guys so that’s one place to keep an eye.
But I also heard one interesting name the other day – at least it’ll be interesting to a few of you – and that’s Jeremy Lin.
Not sure how they can structure a contract offer that will make it impossible – or at least difficult – for the Knicks to match but he’s at least in the corner of their sights.
Oh yeah, best educated guess on Nash?
We’ll know by dinnertime Wednesday, maybe before, which way he’s going to go.
After having written about a zillion words on the weekend while sitting looking at texts and e-mails for a while, was so worn out I had to bail on The Newsroom last night.
Should I invest two hours in HBO On Demand sometime today and get caught up?
Coming soon – and I can’t tell you how over-the-moon thrilled I am about this – is the Raptors Summer League roster, or at least snippets of it, and there was one bit of minor news that slipped through the cracks last week.
To the surprise of no one, the Raps did not pick up the option on Solo’s contract and he’s now an unrestricted free agent. But – and this will warm the cockles of some hearts – he’s going to be in Vegas playing summer league ball for Toronto.
While in a bit of downtime sometime on the weekend – and with all the drivel we produced there wasn’t an awful lot of it – figured I’d do a little looking into Terrence Ross because, well, because I don’t know why.
Anyway, here’s one for you:
Of the 60 or so draft eligibles at the Chicago combine, the newest HOTH had the lowest body fat percentage of them all.
Now, those who know me probably realize that body fat percentage is not something I care to think an awful lot about but Ross’s being 3.2 per cent was kind of jarring.
That’s good, right?