It's a long process that requires some patience
There are a handful of excellent young players fanned out across prep schools, universities and the NBA; there is a charismatic and accomplished leader in Steve Nash to twist some arms and cajole players into playing; Nash’s assistant, Rowan Barrett, is an excellent choice, he has a cachet with precisely the groups of youngsters and their “advisors” that’s needed; and in Jay Triano they have a skilled coach who knows exactly what’s needed to have international success.
The future hasn’t looked this good in a very, very long time.
Pardon the big old heaping of cold water, though.
This team is four years away from being truly legitimate and I hope that the same people who are over-the-top excited about it realize that.
Yes, they are very good young players that Nash is trying to convince to see the benefits of playing for the national team but that same youth is going to be hard to get past.
Yes, they should qualify for the 2014 worlds – to not to would be a failure of epic proportions – but asking them to be legitimate contenders in what will be the first significant senior competition of many of their lives is asking too much.
That’s when they learn; it’s the two years after when they are supposed to make their move and even that’s not going to be that easy.
The Olympics are tough to get to, with just 12 teams and some automatic entries that basically weaken the field, the qualification process is difficult and some good teams don’t get there.
The best thing?
Well, the best thing about this time in FIBA Americas basketball is that Canada could very well be the second best team in the region and, because the States doesn’t even have to go to the worlds qualifier next year in Venezuela, there is a chance to do something significant there.
Argentina’s time is past, Brazil’s good but old and the other perennial contenders like Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Venezuela are hardly any better than Canada.
What that could mean – if the Americans do their part and win the 2014 worlds to gain an automatic berth in the 2016 Olympics and Brazil’s in as host – is that Canada has an easier path than ever to get to the Rio Games.
But – and this is where people need not get ahead of themselves – doing well in this hemisphere really means nothing. What Canada has to do now is start proving itself against the world, it cannot simply be happy with being a good FIBA Americas team, that doesn’t mean a thing in the bigger picture. It’s the world that counts and the world is a tough place, it’s going to take years to make a mark there.
Basketball Canada officials know this and have patience, fans and sponsors better, too.
No, I have no problem with the TOD losing with 45-year-old Omar Vizquel getting thrown out trying to steal second with two out and down a run in the ninth last night in Detroit.
It’s not like crack Tiger closer Jose Valverde was going to get lit up, he’s apparently got a slow move to the plate and I’d rather take a chance on one guy getting one hit with a runner on second than needing two off a guy like Valverde, which they would have had they not tried to run.
Sometimes you have to try to make things happen; sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.
I have no idea why but I found this in the car CD player, cranked it up to an almost uncomfortable level of volume and now I’ve been singing like a fool for hours.
And it reminds me that Chris De Burgh is vastly under-rated in my circles.
No, they don’t write songs like the used to; who doesn’t like a good ballad or a good story or good lyrics?
Getting back to basketball for a quick minute.
The Canadian cadetttes, the under-17 girls at the world championship, might have a chance to do something special.
They beat Korea yesterday to finish the preliminary round at 3-2 and that puts them third in their group going into Friday’s quarter-finals.
How big is that?
Well, they get the host Netherlands in the quarters, avoid the powerful United States and a win over the hosts gives them two games to play for a medal.
Now, if they beat Netherlands they’ll get the States, most likely, in the semis but even a loss there gives ‘em a game to play for bronze.
Yeah, we’ll track them a bit more closely now, been kind of lax in that this week.
Someone told me there might be a pucks lockout?
If there is, I just want to point out that I didn’t poach the hockey when there was no basketball and I’d appreciate the same consideration from my brethren if things go dark in arenas.
No, I don’t have nearly enough mail.
No ‘hellos’, no ‘how are you’s’, no surprises.
Come on folks.