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middeljohn Nov 5, 2015 3:54 AM

Basketball in Canada
 
The other sports have threads, so I'm starting one for basketball.

Fresh off beating the Thunder in OKC on a second night of a back to back, the Raptors are now 5-0. In the 12 years watching the Raptors, this is the best I've ever seen them play.

Right now basketball in Canada is bigger than ever before. 12 Canadians in the NBA. 2 first overall picks in the last few years. Many more young Canadian prospects including potential 2016 lottery pick Jamal Murray. Allstar game is in Toronto this year. We are just in the beginning of basketball heaven in tbis country.

Vince Carter was the catalyst to start the rapid growth of basketball in Canada. Now all these kids who grew up idolizing Carter have grown up and as a result Toronto is one of the biggest basketball producers in the world. A Raptors team winning on a regular basis will only continue this trend.

GernB Nov 5, 2015 4:01 AM

I'd say Steve Nash was at least as big a factor in the growth of basketball in this country. A Canadian being MVP showed people that Canadians could excel at the highest level in the sport. If Canada can qualify for Rio next year the sport will really take off.

The owners of the Montreal Canadiens have approached the NBA about the possibility of either a relocated or expansion franchise and there has been talk of Vancouver getting back in. I'd love to see them both. There will be more and more Canadians playing in the NBA over the next few years; already we have more players than any country outside the US and that trend will only increase.

Hali87 Nov 5, 2015 4:03 AM

From a few months ago...

Windsor Express win NBL Canada title after Halifax Rainmen forfeit

GernB Nov 5, 2015 4:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hali87 (Post 7223921)

The NBLC is a bush league, about on par with the old Southern Professional Hockey League. Still, surprising.

rousseau Nov 5, 2015 4:08 AM

That was a very satisfying win. I had that familiar pit in my stomach in the first quarter when they were down 14-4 and OKC were slashing through the paint and dunking at will, but these Raptors are turning into a bunch of tough, fearless sons of bitches. Seriously, they played like crap much of the game, got blocked a thousand times in the first quarter, and a couple players barely showed up (Ross, Demarre Carroll), and yet they still came back and won it down the stretch against one of the best teams in the league with two future hall-of-famers in their prime.

I've got to revisit my preseason player-by-player predictions in that other thread, because DeMar DeRozan is turning into a dependable go-to guy who can make tough jumpers and get a score when it's desperately needed. I said I didn't like his game, but five games into the season, I'm lovin' it. Mainly because this year the ball isn't dying on offence like it did last year when both he and Lou Williams were taking the air out of it. This year the offence is more fluid. Though what's also exciting is that the defence is looking solid, too.

It's still early, but if you're a fan of the Raptors you can't help but feel excited about what this season might bring. So far, they're looking good.

GernB Nov 5, 2015 4:12 AM

Derozan still takes a lot of bad shots but I have to hand it to him, he made a couple of clutch shots late. I'm more impressed by how Valanciunas has upped his game, rebounding more aggressively than last year. Joseph's hustle has impressed me also.

middeljohn Nov 5, 2015 4:16 AM

When Derozan plays within the system and doesn't force shots he looks like an perennial allstar.

Best part of this season, aside from the Raptors kicking ass, is the fact that there's a very good chance we get a top 10 pick thanks to the Bargnani trade.

middeljohn Nov 5, 2015 4:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GernB (Post 7223934)
Derozan still takes a lot of bad shots but I have to hand it to him, he made a couple of clutch shots late. I'm more impressed by how Valanciunas has upped his game, rebounding more aggressively than last year. Joseph's hustle has impressed me also.

Watching Joseph play you can tell he learned a lot from Tony Parker. Very similar styles.

Ramako Nov 5, 2015 4:46 AM

This off-season the Raptors landed their own NBA Development League franchise called Raptors905 which is now playing out of Mississauga.

caltrane74 Nov 5, 2015 5:48 AM

This team is a beast.

Better than last year.

thebasketballgeek Nov 5, 2015 12:26 PM

I would be cautiously optimistic because last year they had a great start with a 10-2 record last year. I also agree they could have gotten better as they have a new fire that's making them look fantastic. I'm mad that the raptors beat Okc because OKC was playing better for most part of the game and I'm an avid OKC/Sonics fan. I also noticed that nobody can outplay the Raptors in the fourth like they are in god mode. But remember it's a long season and the Raptors had this start last year too although I hope they will play like this for the rest of the year.

MonctonRad Nov 5, 2015 1:14 PM

You guys are slow off the mark. There's been an NBL (Canada) thread in the Atlantic Canada section for the last four years. :)

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=190591

In any event, a reborn Halifax franchise is coming into the league this year (the Hurricanes) and it is backed by a number of business people in the city, so it should be stable. There is also a new franchise in Niagara Falls this year, and Sydney NS will likely be joining the league next year.

The future of the league remains a little shaky however, ownership issues continue for the Moncton Miracles despite the fact the team has the second highest attendance in the league. Ontario franchises tend to appear and disappear with distressing regularity, with only Windsor and London being stable.

I hope the league survives. Secondary markets in the country deserve access to professional basketball too, and the quality of the play is actually quite good. With mascots and dancers, the game day experience can be quite festive.

What will really make a difference is expansion into western Canada. I know the league is looking into this as a possibility. Travel costs are the big issue I believe.

north 42 Nov 5, 2015 1:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MonctonRad (Post 7224175)
You guys are slow off the mark. There's been an NBL (Canada) thread in the Atlantic Canada section for the last four years. :)

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=190591

In any event, a reborn Halifax franchise is coming into the league this year (the Hurricanes) and it is backed by a number of business people in the city, so it should be stable. There is also a new franchise in Niagara Falls this year, and Sydney NS will likely be joining the league next year.

The future of the league remains a little shaky however, ownership issues continue for the Moncton Miracles despite the fact the team has the second highest attendance in the league. Ontario franchises tend to appear and disappear with distressing regularity, with only Windsor and London being stable.

I hope the league survives. Secondary markets in the country deserve access to professional basketball too, and the quality of the play is actually quite good. With mascots and dancers, the game day experience can be quite festive.

What will really make a difference is expansion into western Canada. I know the league is looking into this as a possibility. Travel costs are the big issue I believe.

I hope the league makes it too, I think it has some promise. We have had a hard time here in Windsor filling seats in most games, as many residents are big Detroit Pistons fans and have season tickets, so it's a struggle to get them to attend NBL games as well. Attendance has grown though, just very slowly. This is just a very different market than most NBL franchises because of this.

caltrane74 Nov 5, 2015 2:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thebasketballgeek (Post 7224159)
I would be cautiously optimistic because last year they had a great start with a 10-2 record last year. I also agree they could have gotten better as they have a new fire that's making them look fantastic. I'm mad that the raptors beat Okc because OKC was playing better for most part of the game and I'm an avid OKC/Sonics fan. I also noticed that nobody can outplay the Raptors in the fourth like they are in god mode. But remember it's a long season and the Raptors had this start last year too although I hope they will play like this for the rest of the year.

If they go 10-2 this year, it's worth twice that in wins, considering more than half their games will have been on the road. Maybe even 2/3's of their games will be road games. They are gonna have a big cushion at the middle end of the season when the balance comes back.

Potentially, they could be 11-0 before they get their first loss, and we know who they are gonna lose to as well. That game is in a week and a half.

If they can beat that team (which they won't) then we'll know they are for real.

They have a tough early schedule that is for sure, but this is a tough team defensively this year, that they weren't last year.

Nobody is looking forward to playing the Raptors for sure (even "that" team)!

circle33 Nov 5, 2015 2:39 PM

I used to be a huge fan of the game but don't watch much anymore. That said I did catch the fourth quarter of last nights match. What strike me the most, other than the impressive Raptor comeback, was how moribund the OKC crowd was given how tight the game was right down to the wire. Have they always been like that?

TorontoDrew Nov 5, 2015 4:51 PM

I would highly recommend to anybody visiting Toronto or another NBA city to try to take in a game when visiting. It's more entertaining then Hockey live. I'm not even a huge fan but love going to the games.

middeljohn Nov 6, 2015 3:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thebasketballgeek (Post 7224159)
I would be cautiously optimistic because last year they had a great start with a 10-2 record last year. I also agree they could have gotten better as they have a new fire that's making them look fantastic. I'm mad that the raptors beat Okc because OKC was playing better for most part of the game and I'm an avid OKC/Sonics fan. I also noticed that nobody can outplay the Raptors in the fourth like they are in god mode. But remember it's a long season and the Raptors had this start last year too although I hope they will play like this for the rest of the year.

They had an extremely easy start to the season last year, with lots of home games and mostly against non-playoff teams or teams ravaged by injury. Every team they've played so far this year is projected to at least contend for the playoffs. Tomorrow's game aainst the Magic will be the first game against a very likely non-playoff team.

caltrane74 Nov 26, 2015 6:11 PM

And then they go lose that game! WTF?

Anyways, nice game beating Lebron last night.

Undefeated on Drake Night.

MonctonRad Nov 26, 2015 8:00 PM

The name of the new Cape Breton franchise in the NBL (Canada) will be the Cape Breton Highlanders.

Points docked for lack of originality....... :rolleyes:

middeljohn Nov 27, 2015 4:05 AM

10-6 with 11 on the road so far is very respectable, likely better than most expected to start the season. EC overall is doing surprisingly well so far.

rousseau Jan 21, 2016 6:36 AM

I'm not used to following a top five team. The Raptors are legitimately one of the best teams in the league, and are better than they've ever been in their twenty-year history, including that halcyon 2000-01 season. This is heady stuff. They're not championship contenders, and may never be, but at this point anything less than getting through to the conference finals would be a devastating disappointment.

Comments below to a post I made in the sports thread back in October that really belongs here:

Quote:

Raptors preseason thoughts:

1. Kyle Lowry is in awesome shape, but I don't think his poor man's imitation of Allen Iverson will work. He proved last year that he can't dominate opposing teams night in night out for a whole season, as it wears him down physically and mentally. I wish he'd focus more on passing.

2. DeMar DeRozan is now a seasoned veteran who has reached the limit of his development. His game is now carved in stone, but unfortunately it consists of not much more than killing ball movement while trying to create a jump shot in predictable ways. When he isn't half-heartedly dribbling toward the hoop in predictable ways. I don't like his game.

3. Jonas Valanciunas is a solid presence. It's great that he's worked on his low post jumper to make the pump fake an actual threat. Nobody went for it last year because they knew he couldn't shoot.

4. Terrence Ross will bounce around the league for a while, and eventually end up in Europe or China.

5. DeMarre Carroll is an awesome addition. Really like everything that he's shown so far.

6. Cory Joseph. Love, love, love his game. What an outstanding addition to the team. That he's a hometown boy is the icing on the cake.

7. Patrick Patterson? Meh.

8. I want Anthony Bennett to make an impact and turn his career around purely for nativist reasons. It would be really sweet to have two TO boys playing significant roles on a winning Raptors squad, so I feel really protective and sentimental about him, but I fear that he's going to flame out. You can tell he's willing to do the "stretch four" thing by shooting three-pointers, and he's not all that bad at it, but he's phreakin' lazy and uninvolved on defence. He should be banging those boards and terrorizing the paint like a proverbial bull in a china shop, but he's too soft. He also looks totally gassed after running up and down the floor a couple of times. I get the feeling that he won't last long, but I'd like to be proven wrong.

9. Bruno Caboclo has one year on an NBA roster under his belt, and he still doesn't understand the game. However, he's only 20 years old, and he has actually improved to the point where he can score a bucket or two when he's on the floor. He's got the body for the game, but you can tell he didn't grow up in a basketball culture. He's either going to spend the next three years turning into a near superstar, or he's never going to get the hang of it, and will end up back home in Brazil in some pro league or other.

10. Bismack Biyombo is a pouncing lion who gives the defence a much-needed shot of adrenaline.

11. I wish that James Johnson was a better player, because he's built in the Lebron James mould, and is really reminiscent of James when he's on his game. But he's not good enough to force himself into the Raptors system. His style doesn't really fit with the team, so once again it will be a struggle to find minutes for him.

12. Luis Scola is a dependable veteran who is an asset to any team.

13. They'll probably keep one of the rookies and send the rest to the D-League. I don't really know who's who yet.
I'm wrong about a few things. After a disappointing season last year due to injury DeMar DeRozan has turned into a fully fledged elite all-star player who can create and make shots consistently. I think he must have the best midrange game in the league, and his jumper is silky smooth and unstoppable.

I still worry about Kyle Lowry. He started hot, but he's cooled off now, and I still have my doubts about his ability to sustain the effort the whole way. When he and DeRozan are in the domination zone this team can compete with anyone, but the Raptors are vulnerable to better teams when Lowry isn't in take-charge mode.

Terrence Ross has become confident in his sorely-needed three-point shooting. It looks like he's actually a valuable contributor.

Luis Scola is a revelation. "He out-slows you," as Jack Armstrong like to joke. He's been a joy to watch, and is taking and hitting more three-pointers this season than in all of the previous years of his career combined.

Dr Awesomesauce Jan 22, 2016 12:43 AM

^The DeRozan discussion is starting to heat up a little. The discussion, of course, revolves around what he 'is' i.e. is he an elite player/ game changer or is he merely an all-star who can contribute to a winning season? Either way, he's gonna get max money next year...

GernB Jan 22, 2016 1:47 AM

The problem with the Raptors is that they haven't addressed the fundamental lack of talent upfront. Their three best players are in the backcourt. Valanciunas is adequate at best, Carroll has been a disappointment and Scola is too inconsistent to be anything other than a stopgap. Ross has been playing well of late, but Patterson is also inconsistent, Biyombo has hands of stone, and I don't know what to make of Bennett. The odd time he makes it into a game he stands around watching the action, seemingly lost at times.

Although Joseph has great hustle, can fill in ably for Lowry and could start on many teams, this team's lives or dies with its starting guards, just as it did last year. If either one of them gets injured for any amount of time, the season will be a wash. As it is, they'll win their division, but on the slim chance they make it out of the east, they'll get schooled by whoever comes out of the west.

GreatTallNorth2 Jan 22, 2016 3:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GernB (Post 7308289)
As it is, they'll win their division, but on the slim chance they make it out of the east, they'll get schooled by whoever comes out of the west.

What's your point? Cleveland got schooled the other night by Golden State and they are first in the east. I'm not sure what people expect, but there are probably a lot of cities that would envy Toronto's position and talent right now. They are an exciting team to watch, agreed that they can be inconsistent, but hey, they are winning lots of games. And I for one am pleasantly surprised by Joseph's game as of late - when Lowry was struggling, I thought he really stepped up his game.

GernB Jan 22, 2016 3:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GreatTallNorth2 (Post 7308346)
What's your point? Cleveland got schooled the other night by Golden State and they are first in the east. I'm not sure what people expect, but there are probably a lot of cities that would envy Toronto's position and talent right now. They are an exciting team to watch, agreed that they can be inconsistent, but hey, they are winning lots of games. And I for one am pleasantly surprised by Joseph's game as of late - when Lowry was struggling, I thought he really stepped up his game.

My point is that the Raptors have not solved their basic problem, that is, they are weak up front and will likely find themselves in the same situation as last year. There had been some mention of them trying to sign Gasol, but he seems set to stay in Memphis for years.

No doubt Joseph has played well, and is underrated IMO. As I said before, he'd likely be starting in another city. Personally I don't think he shoots enough, but who knows what his instructions are. And I agree that the Raptors can be exciting to watch, but they've also been a very frustrating team to watch this year as well

GernB Jan 22, 2016 5:28 AM

Apparently Kyle Lowry has been voted starting PG for the Eastern Conference. Congrats and well done!

yaletown_fella Jan 22, 2016 7:10 AM

It will be tough to trade DeRozan but he's likely reached his peak and he'll probably pull a VC during free agency. He's been pretty instrumental lately.

Also, I think the competition in the east is understated. A lot of the crappy opponents the Raptors play seem to get pretty lucky and start draining 70% of their 3's (or at least it seemed that way with Boston the other night) It seemed every player on the Raptors had to show up to beat -500 teams. Compare that to when we almost beat Golden State (questionable reffing) when we didnt have Valanciunas.

isaidso Jan 23, 2016 4:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GernB (Post 7223929)
The NBLC is a bush league, about on par with the old Southern Professional Hockey League. Still, surprising.

Basketball was an established mainstream sport in the Maritimes long before the Toronto Raptors came to be. They know they're far too small to ever secure an NBA team so they did the next best thing: they formed their own leagues. The NBL is just the latest incarnation.

The NBL wouldn't exist without Maritime (and Halifax) passion for basketball. It may be based in Toronto, but Toronto has little to nothing to do with this league. It's in Toronto because that's where corporate Canada and our media firms do the deals.

isaidso Jan 23, 2016 4:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MonctonRad (Post 7224175)
You guys are slow off the mark. There's been an NBL (Canada) thread in the Atlantic Canada section for the last four years. :)

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=190591

In any event, a reborn Halifax franchise is coming into the league this year (the Hurricanes) and it is backed by a number of business people in the city, so it should be stable. There is also a new franchise in Niagara Falls this year, and Sydney NS will likely be joining the league next year.

Well in typical central Canadian fashion, things aren't relevant unless they're relevant in Toronto (perhaps Montreal) first. They assume that basketball is relevant out on the east coast due the Toronto Raptors (and Vince Carter).

The NBL may be bush league but saying that basketball was a fringe sport nationally before Toronto got hooked on the sport is a massive inaccuracy. Halifax is a city that got 11,000 to watch Acadia University play Saint Mary's in 1978. Things have dropped off in NS a little the last 10-15 years, but basketball has long been a mainstream sport there.

I'm giving my age away, but when I grew up in Halifax in the 80s every kid wanted to play either football for SMU or make it onto one of the 5 university squads in Nova Scotia. Hockey was a big sport there too, but I never heard my class mates talk hockey. It was always about basketball (or football). Sidney Crosby changed the conversation considerably.

Btw, it's great to hear that pro basketball is returning to Sydney, NS. They're going to have a hard time luring fans away from the Cape Breton Capers basketball team though. They have a very strong following. I remember attending the Final 8 in Ottawa and they had 3 bus loads of fans that drove up for it. They almost drowned out the Ottawa fans in their own city. The announcer seemed shocked (but pleasantly so) by the level of support for NS teams at that event. It wasn't any shock to me.

isaidso Jan 23, 2016 5:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MonctonRad (Post 7224175)
The future of the league remains a little shaky however, ownership issues continue for the Moncton Miracles despite the fact the team has the second highest attendance in the league. Ontario franchises tend to appear and disappear with distressing regularity, with only Windsor and London being stable.

I hope the league survives. Secondary markets in the country deserve access to professional basketball too, and the quality of the play is actually quite good. With mascots and dancers, the game day experience can be quite festive.

What will really make a difference is expansion into western Canada. I know the league is looking into this as a possibility. Travel costs are the big issue I believe.

Basketball is a growing sport nationally but it's still really only a big deal in the Maritimes and southern Ontario. For the NBL to prosper the sport needs to grow substantially in Quebec and western Canada. When that happens the NBA will likely scoop the biggest markets for themselves like Montreal and Vancouver. The NBL will take the rest.

It's such a shame that there's no metro of 2 million+ in the Maritimes. If that existed the NBA would surely have set up there first instead of Toronto. Sadly the Maritimes will never have an NBA team of their own. No city is close to big enough.

middeljohn Jan 27, 2016 5:27 AM

If the Raptors make it into second round this year then there's no question in my mind that Lowry is the second-best Raptor of all time.

TorontoDrew Jan 29, 2016 4:23 PM

The Raptors win a historic franchise first 10 wins in a row last night.

We now sit in first place in the Atlantic Conference, and second place overall in the eastern conference.

Also we're just two weeks away from the All Star game and already there seems to be contraversy about the choice of entertainment. It's Sting for the half time show. Personally I think that's pretty awesome. It's not like they chose Kanye West. I'm kind of surprised Drake didn't want to perform but I think he's coaching one of the teams during that game.

Berklon Jan 29, 2016 5:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TorontoDrew (Post 7317770)
Also we're just two weeks away from the All Star game and already there seems to be contraversy about the choice of entertainment. It's Sting for the half time show. Personally I think that's pretty awesome. It's not like they chose Kanye West. I'm kind of surprised Drake didn't want to perform but I think he's coaching one of the teams during that game.

I'm not a fan of Sting, but regardless of my taste - it was a poor choice.

About 45% of NBA viewers are 34 years old or younger... and a nice chunk aren't white. They should've gotten one of those hip-hop/pop artists that I hate - much better match with the age range. Sting is probably too young for the CFL audience, but he's definitely too old and too white for the NBA audience.

Mrs Sauga Jan 29, 2016 6:31 PM

The people who would tune in for those "hiphop/pop artists" that we all hate would tune in anyways. If you put Sting, you get people who are fringe basketball fans possibly tuning in.

mistercorporate Jan 29, 2016 6:40 PM

Sting appeals to people across age cohorts and ethnicity, the below 30 crowd will appreciate a live Sting show.

Berklon Jan 29, 2016 7:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mistercorporate (Post 7317970)
Sting appeals to people across age cohorts and ethnicity, the below 30 crowd will appreciate a live Sting show.

Yea, that's not what basketball fans on the internet are saying.

rousseau Jan 29, 2016 7:30 PM

Sting? Wow, that's kind out of left field. I just had a quick look at the Wikipedia page for the All-Star game, and it seems like the halftime shows are either "urban" or hip-hop, or showcase local artists. Either of which Toronto has in spades.

Sting is just about the last person you would think of being linked to NBA basketball. Aside from Dame Edna, I mean.

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/...e-Tour-008.jpg

What a weird choice.

Berklon Jan 29, 2016 7:36 PM

NBA runs afoul of fans by booking Sting for All-Star Game

Sting is headlining the NBA All-Star Game halftime show, and no one knows why

Players, fans react to Sting headlining halftime show for NBA all-star game

Yep, good choice.

TorontoDrew Jan 29, 2016 7:52 PM

Ya I think Sting is a little to high brow for the NBA. Other then singing at an Olympic Ceremony or a possible Superbowl I think everything else is beneath him.

TorontoDrew Jan 29, 2016 8:06 PM

The celebrity game should be entertaining.

Video Link

elly63 Jan 29, 2016 8:08 PM

You make shit up that you can't prove and you're a wannabe. All the immature graphics in the world that you post ain't gonna change that.

Haven't you figured it out yet you will be called on your bullshit. In the meantime choke on this:

CIS Men's Basketball Top Ten
January 26, 2016

(regular season record) / votes (first-place votes) / (previous ranking)
1. Ryerson (8-1) / 461 points (43) / (5)
2. Ottawa (9-1) / 427 (4) / (1)
3. Carleton (8-2) / 366 / (2)
4. McMaster (9-2) / 316 / (6)
5. Brock (8-2) / 262 / (3)
6. Calgary (12-3) / 240 / (7)
7. McGill (5-3) / 180 / (4)
8. Thompson Rivers (12-2) / 129 / (9)
9. UBC (10-4) / 105 / (8)
10. Dalhousie (9-4) / 74 / (NR)
Other teams receiving votes: UPEI (15), Concordia (7).

Berklon Jan 29, 2016 8:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by elly63 (Post 7318098)
Done shitting on things in Canada now? I stop when you stop, simple as that.

Get lost.

Anyway, Go Raptors Go!

I normally don't watch any All-Star game.. and am not a big basketball fan... but I'll tune into the ASG only because it's in Toronto. Should be interesting.

elly63 Jan 29, 2016 8:26 PM

http://i67.tinypic.com/ick1dt.jpg

elly63 Jan 29, 2016 8:33 PM

Blast from the past

Excellent writeup on the 1983 Canadian Men's Basketball Team,

Canada’s Greatest Basketball Moment
robvogt80s.blogspot.ca 27 April 2013

Long before Steve Nash, and Jamal Magloire, and all those other Canadians who played in the NBA, and long before the NBA returned to Canada in 1995 with the Toronto Raptors and the Vancouver Grizzlies, there was a group of relatively unknown Canadians who shocked the basketball world.

Shocking the world

The year was 1983, and the setting was the World University Games in Edmonton, Alberta. The Canadian men's basketball team was assembled from a group of college players, mostly from Canadian schools, but also a few American NCAA schools. At the time, the University of Victoria Vikings ruled men's basketball, and they were well-represented at the Universiade.

The team was coached by Jack Donohue, who had more success with the Canadian national team in international play than any other coach. He took them to fourth place finishes in the 1976 and 1984 Olympic Games. No one knows what could have happened in 1980, but Canada chose to boycott the games that year, held in Moscow, over the Soviet Union's aggression in Afghanistan. He also coached Lew Alcindor in high school. Alcindor would go on to become Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the greatest college and professional players in history.

There is not a lot of information readily available on the 1983 World University Games tournament. We pick up the story after Canada managed to make it all the way to the semi-finals.

Awaiting them were the heavily-favoured and star-studded team from the United States. According to USA Basketball, the Americans had captured four straight gold medals and were loaded with talent. The team featured Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Johnny Dawkins, Ed Pinckney, and Kevin Willis. They cruised to the semi-finals with five straight wins, including a 156-75 win over Lebanon. In fact, the Americans hit or surpassed 100 points in each of their first four games. Their first test came against Cuba, but the U.S. still won by 15. This team averaged 112.7 points and had six players average in double figures.

Back in those days, unfortunately, it was before TSN or Sportsnet, so there was no wall-to-wall sports coverage. We missed the game that shocked the world (Edit: I'm pretty sure I saw it on CBC - elly). In front of 10,000 fans at the Butterdome in Edmonton, Canada defeated that world powerhouse the United States of America. It was not even that close, as Canada won by a score of 85-77, connecting on 29 of 40 free throws.

The win put them in the gold medal game against Yugoslavia, who was led by future NBA star Drazen Petrovic. By then, the Canadian team had drawn some attention. The game was broadcast on CBC, and I stayed up relatively late to watch it. So, on the campus of the University of Alberta, on a warm Saturday night, a group led by players with names such as Pasquale, Triano, Wiltjer, Kazanowski, and Tilleman, Team Canada claimed gold by defeating Yugoslavia, by a score of 83-68.

Relative obscurity

It is a crime that so few people know about this team, and their tremendous achievement. There is no information readily available on the Internet, and barely a mention from Basketball Canada. This team won a major international tournament, unlike any other Canadian men's team. It is true many of the players from this team would take fourth the next year at the Olympics, and that team has been inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame. Yet, this team won, and no one knows it. They were loaded with talent as well, and virtually all the top players were drafted by NBA teams.

Consider this:

Eli Pasquale – Drafted in the fifth round of the 1984 NBA draft by the Seattle Super Sonics, and played professionally in Argentina and Europe.

Jay Triano – Drafted in the eighth round of the 1981 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, and played professionally in Mexico and Turkey. He went on to coach the Toronto Raptors, and is in his second stint as head coach of the Canadian national team.

Greg Wiltjer – Drafted in the second round of the 1984 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls, playing professionally for 12 seasons in Italy, Spain, and Greece. His son Kyle currently plays for the Kentucky Wildcats.

Gerald Kazanowski – Drafted in the seventh round of the 1983 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz, and played professionally for teams all over Europe including Spain, and Argentina and Mexico.

Karl Tilleman – Drafted in the fourth round of the 1984 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets.

Danny Meagher – Drafted in the sixth round of the 1985 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls, playing professionally overseas for eight years in Europe.

Bill Wennington – Drafted in the first round of the 1985 NBA draft by the Dallas Mavericks, and would go on to win three NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls.

Howard Kelsey – Played professionally in Mexico, and now is heavily involved in Basketball Canada.

Tony Simms – Drafted in the sixth round of the 1983 NBA draft by the New York Knicks.

As much talent as the Americans had, that was not on the team, Canada had had two first-round picks who could have played for them as well: Leo Rautins and Stewart Granger.

Parting thoughts

It's funny how things can stick with you. I remember this team so well, and it has been 30 years since they won that gold medal. I remember the way Pasquale controlled the tempo of the game, and how Kazanowski dominated the boards. He wore this big bandage on his chin from a cut he suffered in a previous game. He also had this uncanny ability to find the open man, especially with the baseball pass. The announcers even said he had become proficient at it at UVic where he often connected with his brother. Wiltjer was another great post player, and Triano was the perfect complement to Pasquale in the back court. Tilleman was the one I knew best from his time at the University of Calgary. He was just a deadly outside shooter. As I watched that gold medal game, I hoped so bad he would play, and he did, but not that much. He was a guard too, and it was difficult to displace Pasquale and Triano.

Recently I just realized something as well. Four short years after the Canadians won gold, I was playing basketball on that same court when I attended the University of Alberta. A year after that, I was even playing ball wearing a UVic sweater, a gift from my sister who went there in 1988.

Anyway, maybe some day the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame will see how important this team really was and induct them. After all, they are some of the few Canadians who can call themselves champions. They provided Canada's greatest basketball moment – ever.

elly63 Jan 29, 2016 8:58 PM

Some information from a year and a half ago pertaining to this thread

Interesting to see that Wisconsin missed the NCAA final by one point and articles are popping up with them crediting the whippin' they got from Carleton as a change for their season.

Enlightening interview on PTS with Carleton coach Dave Smart on CIS and NCAA. He goes into detail on how the CIS might be a much better choice for many Canadian athletes rather than NCAA. Interview starts at 21:40

isaidso Jan 29, 2016 9:47 PM

There have been so many pro basketball teams in Halifax over the last 25 years it's hard to keep track. I still liked the Windjammers the best. There was such a huge buzz leading up to their first game. It was tough scoring tickets to the home opener. I remember former Acadia University star Veinot getting a huge roar from the crowd every time he touched the ball. Unfortunately he was a little outmatched talent wise.

http://40.media.tumblr.com/1135a0aa0...oy9o1_1280.jpg

isaidso Jan 29, 2016 9:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rousseau (Post 7318034)
Sting? Wow, that's kind out of left field. I just had a quick look at the Wikipedia page for the All-Star game, and it seems like the halftime shows are either "urban" or hip-hop, or showcase local artists. Either of which Toronto has in spades.

Sting is just about the last person you would think of being linked to NBA basketball. Aside from Dame Edna, I mean.

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/...e-Tour-008.jpg

What a weird choice.

It's a weird choice but a welcome one for me. Not all basketball fans are from the ghetto or worship the culture that came out of there (hip hop). College hoops seems to be the only place in the basketball world you get a reprieve from it.

I realize a huge % of people like that sort of thing but it's all a little too low brow and crass for a big event imo. That's why Kanye West at the Pan Am Games was such a shock. What were they thinking?

GernB Jan 29, 2016 11:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by elly63 (Post 7318121)
Blast from the past

Excellent writeup on the 1983 Canadian Men's Basketball Team,

Canada’s Greatest Basketball Moment
robvogt80s.blogspot.ca 27 April 2013

Long before Steve Nash, and Jamal Magloire, and all those other Canadians who played in the NBA, and long before the NBA returned to Canada in 1995 with the Toronto Raptors and the Vancouver Grizzlies, there was a group of relatively unknown Canadians who shocked the basketball world.

Shocking the world

The year was 1983, and the setting was the World University Games in Edmonton, Alberta. The Canadian men's basketball team was assembled from a group of college players, mostly from Canadian schools, but also a few American NCAA schools. At the time, the University of Victoria Vikings ruled men's basketball, and they were well-represented at the Universiade.

The team was coached by Jack Donohue, who had more success with the Canadian national team in international play than any other coach. He took them to fourth place finishes in the 1976 and 1984 Olympic Games. No one knows what could have happened in 1980, but Canada chose to boycott the games that year, held in Moscow, over the Soviet Union's aggression in Afghanistan. He also coached Lew Alcindor in high school. Alcindor would go on to become Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the greatest college and professional players in history.

There is not a lot of information readily available on the 1983 World University Games tournament. We pick up the story after Canada managed to make it all the way to the semi-finals.

Awaiting them were the heavily-favoured and star-studded team from the United States. According to USA Basketball, the Americans had captured four straight gold medals and were loaded with talent. The team featured Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Johnny Dawkins, Ed Pinckney, and Kevin Willis. They cruised to the semi-finals with five straight wins, including a 156-75 win over Lebanon. In fact, the Americans hit or surpassed 100 points in each of their first four games. Their first test came against Cuba, but the U.S. still won by 15. This team averaged 112.7 points and had six players average in double figures.

Back in those days, unfortunately, it was before TSN or Sportsnet, so there was no wall-to-wall sports coverage. We missed the game that shocked the world (Edit: I'm pretty sure I saw it on CBC - elly). In front of 10,000 fans at the Butterdome in Edmonton, Canada defeated that world powerhouse the United States of America. It was not even that close, as Canada won by a score of 85-77, connecting on 29 of 40 free throws.

The win put them in the gold medal game against Yugoslavia, who was led by future NBA star Drazen Petrovic. By then, the Canadian team had drawn some attention. The game was broadcast on CBC, and I stayed up relatively late to watch it. So, on the campus of the University of Alberta, on a warm Saturday night, a group led by players with names such as Pasquale, Triano, Wiltjer, Kazanowski, and Tilleman, Team Canada claimed gold by defeating Yugoslavia, by a score of 83-68.

Relative obscurity

It is a crime that so few people know about this team, and their tremendous achievement. There is no information readily available on the Internet, and barely a mention from Basketball Canada. This team won a major international tournament, unlike any other Canadian men's team. It is true many of the players from this team would take fourth the next year at the Olympics, and that team has been inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame. Yet, this team won, and no one knows it. They were loaded with talent as well, and virtually all the top players were drafted by NBA teams.

Consider this:

Eli Pasquale – Drafted in the fifth round of the 1984 NBA draft by the Seattle Super Sonics, and played professionally in Argentina and Europe.

Jay Triano – Drafted in the eighth round of the 1981 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, and played professionally in Mexico and Turkey. He went on to coach the Toronto Raptors, and is in his second stint as head coach of the Canadian national team.

Greg Wiltjer – Drafted in the second round of the 1984 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls, playing professionally for 12 seasons in Italy, Spain, and Greece. His son Kyle currently plays for the Kentucky Wildcats.

Gerald Kazanowski – Drafted in the seventh round of the 1983 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz, and played professionally for teams all over Europe including Spain, and Argentina and Mexico.

Karl Tilleman – Drafted in the fourth round of the 1984 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets.

Danny Meagher – Drafted in the sixth round of the 1985 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls, playing professionally overseas for eight years in Europe.

Bill Wennington – Drafted in the first round of the 1985 NBA draft by the Dallas Mavericks, and would go on to win three NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls.

Howard Kelsey – Played professionally in Mexico, and now is heavily involved in Basketball Canada.

Tony Simms – Drafted in the sixth round of the 1983 NBA draft by the New York Knicks.

As much talent as the Americans had, that was not on the team, Canada had had two first-round picks who could have played for them as well: Leo Rautins and Stewart Granger.

Parting thoughts

It's funny how things can stick with you. I remember this team so well, and it has been 30 years since they won that gold medal. I remember the way Pasquale controlled the tempo of the game, and how Kazanowski dominated the boards. He wore this big bandage on his chin from a cut he suffered in a previous game. He also had this uncanny ability to find the open man, especially with the baseball pass. The announcers even said he had become proficient at it at UVic where he often connected with his brother. Wiltjer was another great post player, and Triano was the perfect complement to Pasquale in the back court. Tilleman was the one I knew best from his time at the University of Calgary. He was just a deadly outside shooter. As I watched that gold medal game, I hoped so bad he would play, and he did, but not that much. He was a guard too, and it was difficult to displace Pasquale and Triano.

Recently I just realized something as well. Four short years after the Canadians won gold, I was playing basketball on that same court when I attended the University of Alberta. A year after that, I was even playing ball wearing a UVic sweater, a gift from my sister who went there in 1988.

Anyway, maybe some day the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame will see how important this team really was and induct them. After all, they are some of the few Canadians who can call themselves champions. They provided Canada's greatest basketball moment – ever.

Saw the championship game at the Butterdome, crowd was announced at 11,000. I actually played against Pasquale and Kazanowski when I was at U of L. It was sad to see the national team fad into obscurity shortly after this; many of us saw Universiade as a major breakthrough for Canadian basketball but it was never followed up on.

Many of us thought that Tilleman could have played a larger role if he'd been given more floor time. He was probably the best pure shooter that I've ever seen. Unfortunately he was not as strong on defence, and Donahue would play Triano and Pasquale (both natural PGs and nowhere near the shooter that Tilleman was) no matter how hot Tilleman was or how poorly Triano (of whom I never had a very high opinion as a player) played. Also unfortunate that Perry Mirkovich from U of L (drafted 8th round by Portland) elected not to stay with the national program after the boycotted 1980 Olympics. Another natural shooter who could rebound strongly, he was probably the best player I ever played with or against.

Also, sadly....while Canada seems poised to have another breakthrough in Manila this summer, almost all the players on the team went to NCAA schools, while the majority of Donahue's team went to CIAU (CIS) schools. Plus we also lost Vancouver Grizzlies to Memphis.

elly63 Jan 30, 2016 3:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GernB (Post 7318368)
Many of us thought that Tilleman could have played a larger role if he'd been given more floor time. He was probably the best pure shooter that I've ever seen. Unfortunately he was not as strong on defence, and Donahue would play Triano and Pasquale (both natural PGs and nowhere near the shooter that Tilleman was) no matter how hot Tilleman was or how poorly Triano (of whom I never had a very high opinion as a player) played. Also unfortunate that Perry Mirkovich from U of L (drafted 8th round by Portland) elected not to stay with the national program after the boycotted 1980 Olympics. Another natural shooter who could rebound strongly, he was probably the best player I ever played with or against.

Totally agree with your assessment of Tilleman, I remember it the same way.

PERRY MIRKOVICH

Southern Alberta has long been known as a hotbed of basketball, and one of the best players the area has ever produced is Perry Mirkovich.

Ironically, Mirkovich failed to make his junior high basketball team in his first try in Grade 7 at Wilson Junior High School. He went on to a standout high school career at Winston Churchill High School, winning back-to-back school MVP honors along with an assortment of tournament all-star awards.

Then it was on to the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns, where Mirkovich starred for five seasons. A graceful six-foot-six, Mirkovich led the Canada West Conference in scoring in his final two seasons, becoming the first player in league history to capture back-to-back titles.

His U of L single-game and career scoring records stood for 20 years. He was a three-time Canada West All-Star (a unanimous selection in his final year) and capped his university career in 1979-80 by being named a second-team All-Canadian. He was also chosen as the U of L’s Male Athlete of the Year.

That summer, the National Basketball Association’s Portland Trail Blazers made Mirkovich a sixth-round draft pick (1980), making him the first Canadian ever drafted who played his high school and college ball in Canada. Mirkovich earned a berth on the Canadian Olympic team that year and was a member of the silver medal-winning team at an Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Puerto Rico. Canada’s boycott of the 1980 Summer Games robbed him of a chance to play in the Olympics.

He later played professionally in France and starred with a Senior Men’s Provincial Championship squad.

MonctonRad Jan 30, 2016 4:03 AM

Here is the official logo for the Cape Breton Highlanders, which will be entering the NBL as the league's 9th franchise next year.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...nders_Logo.gif


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