A leader emerges, a Raptor departs and it's that time of year
It’s been interesting to talk to a few people down in Caracas each day and watch the Canadian men’s team play and see this group of relative kids come together into something far more than it was just three or four weeks ago.
Sunday’s rout of Brazil was impressive on so many levels, everyone played well, there was no mental hangover from the collapse a day earlier against Puerto Rico and it might have been one of those “coming together” moments that are significant in the growth a team.
It’s also been interesting to hear who has emerged as leaders in a team of relative strangers and I wondered from the start who that would be.
One name I’m hearing – and this might surprise some but not me – is Joel Anthony, who represents the old guard. He’s not going to be a vocal, get-in-your-face kind of leader but there’s a calm about him, and a presence, that is much needed.
And it’s so impressive given the circumstances. I remember talking to him at one Raptor-Heat game this past season about the promise in the Canadian future and the kids who are coming up and I think we both knew that his role would diminish significantly when all the youngsters get here.
But he didn’t – and apparently doesn’t – care a bit. He’s been a trouper for this team for years, he was around in some dark days and never seemed to complain. He’d come in, help out younger players, do his work, play hard and lead by example.
He’s not nearly as flashy or as hyped as some of his more celebrated teammates but I know the coaches trust him explicitly and he’s paying back that trust by emerging as one of the much-needed elder statesmen. I don’t think it’s any surprise that at points in games when things get a bit dicey, he’s on the court, doing the tough physical work and helping to settle things down.
Anthony strikes me as one of those guys who is under-appreciated unless you’re his teammate or you’re one of his coaches.
He’s the kind of player, and person, who helps in the growth of a program in ways many don’t see; it’s nice to hear some glowing reports about him in conversations.
But, getting to the heart of the matter on the court, what did the easy win over Brazil mean?
Unless they can get Uruguay tomorrow, not much at all, and that’s the biggest thing about tournaments like this with its odd format.
The top four teams from Canada’s pool will advance to the next round, carrying with them their first-round records – except for the game against the team that doesn’t move on.
No clue what team that’ll be right now – I’d guess Jamaica but who knows for sure – and that means beating Uruguay will give Canada a 2-1 record.
They play each of the four teams that advance from the other pool and when that round is done, the four teams with the best cumulative records are in the Word Cup.
If you’re 2-1 going into the second round, two more wins might be enough – might – and that’s why Sunday’s win was big but beating Uruguay tomorrow afternoon is equally important.
I’m not entirely sure why but I really like this.
No, I have no idea why, either, but for some reason my friends at Sportsnet FAN590 need a fourth for the holiday round table and have invited me to sit in so if you’re stuck in traffic or have no other life between 5-7 this afternoon, give us a listen.
Am sure there’ll be pucks.
And at that point I’ll put my hand over my heart in something akin to the “I’m coming to join you, Elizabeth” moment and you’ll know I’m thinking of you.
Quentin Richardson isn’t a Raptor any more.
As was suggested even before his acquisition in the Bargnani trade was official, he’s been waived and if he hasn’t cleared waivers already he will any minute.
I think Woj first had in Friday because he was making calls and I was loafing and didn’t really care because it was only a matter of time but if anyone’s the least bit surprised, they need to check themselves. He, like Camby and a hundred dozen other players in a hundred dozen transactions league wide over the years, was in the deal for cap ballast and cap ballast alone.
Sure, they made 29 calls and, shockingly, there was no interest.
So the roster is at 14, I was told Friday by Someone Who’d Know that there are no moves imminent to fill that last spot – although we know things can change in a hurry. I don’t think anyone would have a problem with them inviting a couple of young kids to camp on make-good contracts and seeing if anyone jumps up and shows enough promise to take a flier on.
Doubt that happens but you never know.
Who has Jimmy Durante, The Monkees, The Ramones and Porno for Pyros on his iTunes thingy?
Yeah, turned into quite the deck night.
Oh, yeah. Happy Labour Day. In honour of it, don’t do any work, okay?
Speaking of this time of year, I always hear how great it is for a sports fans, the pucks are starting, basketball’s just around the corner, the NFL kicks off this week, CFL’s going, baseball pennant races are heating up.
It’s got to be great after the dog days of August but, to me, it’s the second best time in a calendar year to be a fan.
I much prefer the time around April and early May when the “winter” sports are starting their playoffs, optimism abounds everywhere baseball is played as a long, new season dawns and we look forward to late spring and summer.
Plus, I’m not a big football guy so the start of another NFL season does nothing for me at all.