I think the knee-jerk reaction of so many to what was an entirely predictable demise of Canada here in Izmir is hilarious.
Any of you out there who think this is solely a coaching issue are so sadly mistaken it’s not even funny and the immediate cry to “fire Leo” is at best short-sighted.
Canada is not going to the second round of the worlds for one very obvious reason: The talent level isn’t good enough.
They aren’t big enough or strong enough or old enough or fast enough to be one of the top four teams in this group and, as some have been saying all along, advancing would have been a huge accomplishment.
It didn’t happen.
Now, that’s not to say it won’t, there are more talented teens out there who may one day emerge as legitimate global players and this current group of youngsters will improve as it ages, of that I have not doubt.
But this team – without its best scorer for most of it – wasn’t up to snuff. And coaching had little or nothing to do with it.
About the only time I even considered it an issue was in a four-minute stretch of the third quarter against Lithuania when maybe they could have gone back to some starters to stop a run and, in hindsight, running out Kelly Olynyk earlier in the tournament might not have been a bad idea.
But other than that?
But don’t you all worry.
Leo’s contact – and that of women’s coach Alison McNeill – expires at the end of this summer and everything, as it always is, will be up for review.
I don’t know what the Canada Basketball board will do and because I don’t see this as a coaching issue right now, I really don’t have intense feelings either way on whether Leo should be retained or not.
But to place the blame for what happened here on him is ridiculous.
Leave it to the one and only Maurizio Gherardini to find an outstanding Italian restaurant on a pier overlooking the Aegean in Izmir.
The fish carpaccio appetizer was to die for.
Saw something here in Izmir yesterday that I hadn’t seen since I touched down in Turkey what feels like six weeks ago.
It’s been nothing but crystal clear blue skies, intense heat and oppressive humidity since we landed but there yesterday morning were some storm clouds rolling in off the sea and a rain storm that lasted about half an hour.
Didn’t do anything to clear anything up, though; it was back to mid-30s and thick by the time we headed to the arena.
I see the Rpators TV schedule came out yesterday.
And a wave of déjà vu hit.
This whole Sportsnet One thing is going to blow until it’s cleared up and there’s no indication when that’ll be. The “new” network isn’t yet on any cable or satellite system that isn’t Rogers and that means, if it doesn’t get worked out by the first Sportsnet One game in late December, a whole whack of you are going to miss a whole whack of games.
Given the TSN2 debacle a couple of years back, I have no idea how the tall foreheads at Maple Leaf Sports managed to let this happen again but you would have thought something would have been said before new deals were struck.
Guess the good thing is there’s lots of time left to get this thing fixed but, at the moment, it’s terrible.
Hey, you know me and history, right?
I love to look around nooks and crannies to find interesting artifacts or statues or fountains or the like.
Well, it’s not too often a guy goes on a morning walkabout and comes upon a red bull and a cow -- or maybe it's a pig -- lazing on its back.
Seriously, those two things aside, this a pretty neat city for finding things. Trouble is, there is little or no English anywhere to be found so I really have no clue what I’m seeing when I see it.
I’m just going on the assumption that every statue I see is of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder and first president of this country.
Sure, send it along here.
I’ve got a flight over to Istanbul tomorrow sometime (I think it’s day here, early morning there) and I should have some time to get some answers worked up.
Oh yeah, this a tad old but we did get to Denham Brown yesterday to ask about the final seconds of the France game, when he drove the ball in the final 10 seconds with his team down three.
Yes, he knew the score and the circumstance and told us he wanted to either make a basket and draw a foul or score and then play a foul-free throw game to see if they couldn’t win one at the buzzer.
Yes, I know that’s odd and not at all what I would have done – or what many others would have done – but it’s what he did, fully cognizant of the time left, the score and the situation.
Memo to the City Fathers of Izmir: It’s about these sidewalks.
I don’t know why but it seems every storefront has its sidewalk at a different level than the ones on either side of it. Sometimes the drop-off is a few inches, sometimes it’s a foot or two, sometimes it’s just enough to make a guy spill his coffee and almost go ass over tea kettle when he’s wandering aimlessly.
I love the cobblestone and the old-time feel to small streets in European cities; I do not love worrying about falling every three steps because this guy’s little patch of sidewalk isn’t level with the next guy’s.
Can you do something about that? Thanks.
Hey, how about Angola beating Germany in overtime yesterday? That has to be the biggest upset yet, right? And it sets up one of three doozies here the last day of group play, games we should pay attention to.
You’ve got Angola-Australia for third place in Group A, Russia-Greece for second in Group C and Brazil-Croatia for third and fourth in Group B.
All biggies and may give me something to pay attention to rather than the non-events of Group D here in Izmir.
But pay attention I will because we’ll do the last of our in-game bloggy thingies starting at 9 a.m. Eastern if any of you want to stop by.
So I’m walking down a street yesterday (and I have no idea what it was called because not many streets actually have names as far as I can tell) when what do my eyes see: A dude walking and carrying – get this! – a Starbucks cup!
You know me and Starbucks (hi Hurontario and Harborn, I’ll be back soon!) so I had to ask. And sure enough, guy tells me it’s just down the block and there’s not a much better way to relax for a few minutes than with a vente latte sitting on a bench looking out over the Aegean.
In fact, I believe that’s what I’m off to do now.