National hoops team is set but is it ready?
Push is about to come to shove for Jay and his band of merry national team members and I’m wondering just how confident everyone is less than a week from the start of the World Cup qualifier in Caracas.
As you have perhaps noticed, Canada’s 0-3 at The Tutu (and I don’t care what it’s real name is, it’s The Tutu to me) and gets Brazil Monday night to wrap it up, the final game before things get real in Venezuela.
And tonight will be the one and only time the final group of 12 will play together after a couple of deletions were made over the weekend.
Kyle Landry was forced out with a hand injury and Kris Joseph is also gone, leaving a group you can read about here to try and get one of four FIBA Americas World Cup berths when they start Friday in Venezuela.
The loss of Landry depletes the frontcourt and leaves just four legitimate bigs – Tristan Thompson, Andrew Nicholson, Levon Kendall and Joel Anthony – and that’s barely enough for the long grind of an international event where you only get five fouls in a game. And since only two of them – Kendall and Anthony – have senior team experience, that could be a trouble spot.
But there are seven holdovers from the 2011 senior team, the last time Canada tried to qualify for anything of importance, and that’s a big plus.
Chatting with Jay over the course of the weekend, his one concern was that old heads international game like JJ Barea and Carlos Arroyo of Puerto Rico and Luis Scola of Argentina, had exposed Canada’s lack of experience.
Now, the results of the games so far need to be taken with a grain of salt because Canada rested key players in each game but the question has to be whether or not the lessons learned in Puerto Rico can help in Venezuela so quickly.
As we know, this is a team and program ascendant; whether they can take a very major jump so quickly right now is impossible to tell.
It’s not easy task to get through a qualification tournament in the best of times, with the injuries and inexperience of this group, these are far from the best times.
After all, some craving never hurt, did it?
Someone needs to explain this to me:
I see some the Olympic men’s pucks guys are getting together for a training “camp” out west this week that doesn’t include any, you know, skating?
Insurance issues will keep them off the ice, which seems to me to defeat the whole purpose of a “camp” five months before Sochi.
It’s not like these guys don’t know each other, or won’t see each other but I guess it does provide a chance for some photo opportunities and I be there’s some merchandise for sale soon.
Now, I’m as proudly Canadian as the next guy and I hope the pucksters roll to glorious golden victory but how sick are some of us going to be about the abundant coverage this group will get between now and then.
All together now:
No, I did not watch a second of the Video Music Awards and I am quite glad of that but I understand from the tweeter that if I had, I’d never be able to watch Hanna Montana again.
All right, I think we all agree that Arthur Carlson uttered perhaps the greatest line in sitcom history when he said:
“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”
Well, I don’t do a lot of reality TV because I find it boring and practically scripted and there’s just too much of it.
But when I’m able to, I can sit and watch that Duck Dynasty show because I find it truly hilarious.
And in the 7:30 repeat I saw last night, I heard what has to be the greatest line in reality TV history uttered:
“I love a woman who loves squirrel brains.”
I don’t know which of the ZZ Top forefathers said it because they all seem the same to a neophyte viewer (and I have friends who will surely tell me the difference between them some day) but I almost did a spit take when I heard it.
I’m going to tell you, my man Not Grace Kelly killed on a wretched road trip with the TOD on the weekend, good combination of snark and reporting and opinion and now I’m thinking there might be a reason to pay a bit of attention to the last 30 or so games of this lost season for one reason.
To see who cares.
I find it fascinating in a gory kind of way to watch teams play out lost seasons to see who keeps trying their best and who tends to mail it in on a regular basis.
Quitting – not quitting in the literal sense but you know what I mean – is easy to do when there’s nothing on the line, some tend to let preparation wane, concentration falter and they just get through one day to get to the next and closer to the end.
You see it in baseball with a lot of first-pitch hitting to get at-bats over, you see it in basketball with a lot of early-clock shots heaved up for no reason and it’s a telling personality trait.
I am not at all suggesting that the Blue Jays will mail it in – they’ll likely lose an awful lot simply on merit – but staying mentally focused is what I imagine management and the coaching staff is looking for.
I would hope each and everyone of them carries out the season with the great wisdom of Joe Dimaggio in their head:
“There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first time or the last time, I owe him my best.”