Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sr. Girls Hoops on Display at HoopDome for the SBA Shootout!

Sr. Girls hoops is off and running in the GTA and the rest of the province...and one of the first tournaments underway was the SBA Classic at HoopDome in Toronto! I got a chance to check out the action at the dome and I must say that I came away impressed with the level of the elite teams in the tournament...

Check out some interviews I did with Dakota Whyte and Shanika Baker, both All-Stars and Whyte the MVP of the tournament champs from Durham, Downsview head coach Devon Thompson and a future star Cassandra Nofuente and Sammy Hill of Eastern Commerce who finished in 2nd place.
Tournament Champs from Ajax Notre Dame the superb Dakota Whyte and Shanika Baker:

 These two young ladies are not just superb basketball players, but great people as well. They are part of the best basketball team in the Greater Toronto area and took that reputation to the court as they rumbled through the competition at the SBA Shootout at HoopDome en route to the tournament title when they easily defeated Eastern Conference. Both were named Tournament All-Stars and Whyte was also named the tournament MVP, which was well deserved, They thoroughly dominated a clearly over matched Eastern Commerce squad and showed that the ladies from Durham region will be a strong force in Sr. Girls basketball this coming season.

Downsview head coach Devon Thompson and Cassandra Nofuente:

Despite losing in the semifinals, Head Coach Devon Thompson felt good about how his young team played and feels that his squad learned a lot and will take the games as a lesson as they move forward through the season. The founder of the Youth Association for Academics Athletics and Character Education(Y.A.A.A.C.E.) organization and his young player Cassandra Nofuente sat down with me after watching the final between Ajax Notre Dame and Eastern Commerce, and the mere fact they were there watching the championship game shows how serious coach and player are about getting to that elite level in senior girls hoops.

Eastern Commerce's Sammy  Hill:

Sammy Hill Talks about her loss to Ajax Notre Dame and her outlook for this season. Her Eastern Commerce squad toppled a tough Pickering team to make it to the final before bowing out to the juggernaut that is Ajax Notre Dame. Sammy is part of Basketball Royalty, her father Sam Hill and brother's Alex and Jake Hill have all been a great influence on her game! Look for Eastern to be in the mix this season in the GTA senior girl's basketball scene.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dave Mendonca and Audley Stephenson doin' it up and reppin' T-Dot and the NBA!

Dave and Audley with the scoop on the NBA!
Logo courtesy of http://www.thenbabreakdown.blogspot.com/

Hey...another great Canadian basketball story. This time...two local guys doing it big and reppin' the T-Dot with their show "The NBA Breakdown". I've heard of this show...but just recently got onto it as my boys
from http://www.raptorshq.com/ always keep us informed of Canadian basketball news.

Dave, which I know from my time interning at The Score a while back(he probably doesn't remember me! lol) and Audley(who I would see at Raptors games when I reported for Global TV Sports) have a great show and website devoted to not only the goings on of the National Basketball Association, but also feature other celebrity interviews that add colour and insight to their podcasts! They do their weekly show every Sunday at 9pm est. and have a regular guest now in Sharone Wright, a former NBA baller who's now a contributor to the site.

Check out an article in the Brampton Guardian on how these two hoops junkies, like myself got together and started something that's growing and growing to where it's known in over 100 countries!

Their website is very thorough and features past pod casts as well as testimonials, previous guests and a way to contact them. Check it out HERE

You can also find episodes on blogtalkradio right HERE.

They've also got a page on Hoopedia...a kind of wikipedia for basketball lovers! Check that out HERE.

Love the way these guys are throwing it down. They also have Facebook and Twitter pages so join up once you check out their site! The show airs every Sunday night at 9pm est. so get the NBA Breakdown!

Kris Joseph will be asked to step up and lead the Orange this year according to Head Coach Jim Boeheim.

Thanks to my dudes at http://www.raptorshq.com/ for reppin' Canada basketball and finding this story!

Nice piece in the Watertowndailytimes today about Kris Joseph's ascension to the top of the food chain at Syracuse University. The Montreal native and brother of Maurice Joseph who's playing professionally in Israel, will be looked upon to be a leader and go-to-guy as the Syracuse Orange compete this season after the departure of NBA 1st round pick Wes Johnson(Big East Player of the Year) and NBA 2nd round pick Andy Rautins.

Joseph is stronger this season so look for more of these high-flying plays.
Photo Courtesy of http://blog.syracuse.com/orangebasketball/2009/12/kris_josephs_slam_and_free_sho.html

Joseph, who came off the bench last season(10.8ppg, 5.5 rpg) and was one of the nation's best 6th men(winning Big East Sixth-Man of the Year award), will start this upcoming campaign and he will not only rely on his athleticism and natural god-given talent but will look to show that he's also a quality shooter by improving behind the 3-point arc. Last year he shot only 22% from behind 3-point land but Joseph has worked on his shooting and hopes to improve that stat considerably in 2010/2011...

Check out the piece on Joseph right HERE.

Also, It is Big East media day today at Madison Square Garden and the Big East coaches and basketball writers have picked the Orange to finish 3rd in the conference. Freshman sensation big man Fabricio(Fab) de Melo(Melo) is tabbed as conference rookie of the year while Kris Joseph is pre-season consensus 2nd team All-Big East. Austin Freeman of Georgetown is the consensus Player of the Year pick as well...

Check it out HERE

The basketball writers have picked Joseph to be 1st team All-Big East though which is quite the endorsement.

Check that out HERE.

Blog.syracuse.com also asks "Can Kris Joseph be Syracuse's go-to guy?". Check that out HERE.

Blog.syracuse.com also says that at the Syracuse Media day on Friday October 15th:

NBA comes to watch Orange

At least three NBA scouts were in attendance at Syracuse’s practice on Friday.

The San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers and Oklahoma City Thunder were all represented.

Was Joseph on their radar? Interesting to see if/when he makes the league one day if one of these teams
pick him up in the draft! We'll be keeping an eye on them!

Peace out
Go Canada Go!

Great feature on Ro Russell's prep program at Christian Faith Center Academy in Creedmoor, N.C.

Tristan Thompson is a Grassroots Prodigy now at Texas
Photo Courtesy of statesman.com

Canadian basketball is growing by leaps and bounds, whether it be on the local Toronto scene, throughout Canada, in America as well as world wide, as witnessed by all the success of the National teams globally over the last few years!
Well now the Canadian invasion has taken a new twist, with Toronto basketball aficionado Ro Russell heading south of the border to start up a prep program in the state of North Carolina.
Ro, who of course founded Grassroots Canada and has had tons of success with travelling Toronto AAU teams, has decided it's time to take on the best from within!
He's running a program that should increase the ever growing stature and respect that Canadian hoopsters are getting these days all over the globe.
He's got players like Kevin Thomas, Kaza Keane and Xavier Rathan-Mayes who will serve notice that Canada is indeed ready to challenge for the Kings of basketball throne that America has held for pretty much forever. Now in all truthfulness, Canada will probably never beat the Americans at the Senior level simply because the talent pool and infrastructure is so infinite but at the Junior and High School levels Canadian ballers can ball with the best of them!
Russell is no stranger to success south of the border; if you remember his Grassroots Canada Elite team won the highly prestigious Adidas Super 64 tournament 2 years ago with a 88-79 double OT win over Compton Magic(California). Russell had been waiting for a huge win like that since he started the program back in 1992 and it seems that it was a watershed moment for Canadian basketball as the players now believe that they can be just as good as their North American neigbours to the south!
Check out this piece in USA Today about the Adidas 64 win from July 2008 HERE.

Ro Russell has been at the hoops game a long time!
Photo courtesy of http://www.crownmagonline.com/

WTVD-TV ABC Channel 11 from Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina profiles Russell and the Canadian ballers at Christian Faith Center Academy in Creedmoor, N.C. right HERE.

Also, check out the Grassroots website to see some of the Alumni and current players of the Grassroots program...it is a very extensive list...see it HERE.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Very recent and interesting interview with Wayne Parrish Exec. Dir. and CEO of Canada Basketball with Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt.

Canada Basketball Executive Director and CEO, Wayne Parrish was recently on the Fan 590's Prime Time Sports for a very interesting interview about the future of basketball in this country. Host Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt discuss the new appointments at Canada Basketball, including the re-upping of Sr. Men's and Women's coaches Leo Rautins and Allison McNeill for 2 additional years. Renato Pasquali, an assistant with the Senior Men's National Team(SMNT) was named Technical Director and Michele O'Keefe becomes Director of Basketball Operations.

The newly named crew at Canada Basketball
Photo Courtesy of Canada Basketball.
 The interview is in depth and thorough, as the three get into the structure of Canada Basketball and the fact that with the addition of Bell as a sponsor as well as funds from Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) and the Canadian government, Canada basketball now has the funds to improve the program as well as conduct thorough practices and training camps for all teams. This is very important since several teams are involved in competitions next year.

SWNT Leader and best player Kim Smith
Courtesy of the Vancouver Sun.

What’s Next for Canada’s Teams:
In 2011, Canada Basketball will look to field 10 national team programs. The cadet(te) squads will compete in the FIBA Americas U16 Championship. Both junior national teams have successfully qualified for the FIBA U19 World Championship taking place in July. The JMNT will compete in the 16-team tournament in Latvia, while the JWNT will compete in Chile. On the senior level, both the SMNT and SWNT will look to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games at the FIBA Americas Championships in August and September.
2011 also marks the 26th edition of the Summer Universiade (FISU games), the largest global sporting event after the Olympic Games. In addition, Guadalajara, Mexico will host the Pan American Games in the fall of 2011.
Courtesy Canada Basketball.

Three of the future Sr. Team Members?
Photo Courtesy of Raptors forum.com
  The interview continues and the conversation turns to the future stars on the Men's side, which include but are not limited to Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph, Kyle Wiltjer and Kelly Olynyk. Parrish mentions as well that the highly-esteemed George Raveling(Nike International) says that Canada "will have FIVE 1st-round  draft choices in the next 3 years on the Men's side! Wow, coming from Raveling who was also a college coach at USC, is quite the endorsement for Canada's talent!(both Men and Women get props)
A few players not mentioned but could also be included in that mix are Myck Kabongo, Khem Bhirch, Kevin Pangos, Duane Notice and Anthony Bennett! Plus there are dozens more than those who will ensure the continued success for Canada in the sport in the very near future.

So why is Canada's interest, skill level, talent and success in basketball growing? I think alot has to do with the fact that the Raptors have been in Canada over a decade now, television coverage has increased and it's also a pretty inexpensive sport to play. Guys like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant are so mainstream and overexposed on television and the internet that kids want to emulate them just like they did Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird a couple of decades ago! The success of Thompson and Joseph being named McDonald's All-Americans as well as Notice and Pangos getting an invite to the Jordan Brand Classic All-Star game in NYC has only served to provide goals for the younger players and given them the confidence to know and feel that they are as talented as and can hold their own with the Americans and the rest of the world when it comes to basketball.New immigrants to Canada are also playing basketball or soccer which helps both sports to gain traction amongst the youth. Hockey on the other hand is quite expensive and it's costs continue to rise year after year.

Parrish also says that O'Keefe will be instrumental in a movement to build and develop Canadian "basketball schools", which would serve to keep some of the talent right here in Canada. At present there are already "prep schools" developing like, Phase 1 Prep(Wayne Dawkins), Y.A.A.C.E. Prep(Devon Thompson) and Next Level Prep and more will follow for sure!

Kyle Wiltjer will be a part of Canada's basketball future
Photo courtesy of Wildcatworld.
Later in the interview, the three discuss the Pan Am Games that are coming here to Southern Ontario in 2015. Parrish says that there are efforts to integrate some of the Olympic qualifying for 2016 with the Pan Am Games. Parrish says this has been tried for 25 years and through meeting with Maurizio Gherardini and Jerry Colangelo he hopes it can finally be accomplished. Parrish and Canada Basketball want the U.S. to send their top "Dream Team" or the "Redeem Team" like the squad that won the World's this past summer in Turkey. That way the eyes of the basketball world will be on Canada just before the 2016 Olympics in the U.K. It's a tall task Parrish says, but he's got the ear of Colangelo and others in the U.S.A. basketball hierarchy.

Will the U.S. "Dream Team" be here in 2015?
Photo Courtesy of the Toronto Pan Am Games
Canada's talent pool will be so deep in a few years that in my humble opinion we could have an "A" and "B" Sr. National team; that's how much talent is coming out of the Canadian basketball pipeline these days. Tons of kids are playing high school and prep school ball Stateside, as well as a plethora playing in NCAA Division I, II and III competition! Canada could have a sort of "Dream Team I and II" scenario like in America. The hotbed of Canadian Basketball is entering a "Golden Age" and I see this nation growing in the sport so good and so fast that despite the fact we may not qualify the men for the 2012 Olympics, certainly by 2016 we should be firmly entrenched among the world's elite basketball powers!

Natalie Achonwa, a future star for the Women is at Notre Dame now as a freshman forward.
Photo Courtesy of the Toronto Star.

Check out the interview...at the link below...


Doug Smith from the Star also has a great piece on O'Keefe and the "new Canada Basketball"...
Check it out at the link below...


Thanks a lot to Canada Basketball! Go Canada!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ryerson Rams on the way up...led by Roy Rana a coach on a mission for success!

Ryerson Rams players listening intently to head coach Rana.
Photo Courtesy of Drew Ebanks

Head coach Roy Rana of the Ryerson University Rams is no stranger to winning, having won multiple OFSAA Sr. Boy's basketball championships at powerhouse Eastern Commerce. Now in his 2nd year at Ryerson, Rana is changing the mentality and demeanor of this program one step at a time. Rana is a very demanding coach that stresses fundamentals, discipline and "mental toughness", which separates good players/teams from great ones. Coming off an astounding summer in which he coached the Canadian Cadet U17 to a bronze medal performance, Rana will bring some of that winning pedigree to the Rams this season. I got a chance to take in an intense practice before the team left for Waterloo, Ontario for the Naismith Classic. There they will play three teams, Waterloo, Memorial and Laval. Then I spoke to the coach who's team is full of young but very coachable players. Joining me with coach Rana was Ryan McNeilly, a very mature and skillful 5th year senior who will be looked on as the leader of the squad. He averaged 11.8ppg last year but will have to step up and fill the void left by one of the greatest Rams players in history, Boris Bakovic, who graduated while scoring the most points in school history with 2068 points!

The Coaches talking strategy.
Photo courtesy of Drew Ebanks

Check out Ryerson Basketball HERE!

Check it out the video below...

Gotta learn the plays, gotta learn the plays.
Photo courtesy of Drew Ebanks

Here's also a look at some practice action from the Rams squad...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Big game tonight for the A-Game Phoenix as they take on the Cape Breton Capers!

Guelph Phoenix's Kevin Pangos is a magician on the court!
Photo Courtesy of http://www.photoriotphotography.blogspot.com/

A-Game Hoops info...

Tonight the A-Game Guelph Phoenix will be taking on the highly touted Cape Breton Capers at Forrest Heights Collegiate Institute in Kitchener. Tip off is set for 7:30 pm.
The Phoenix are coming off a couple tough losses to CIS competition including a scrappy 9 point OT defeat on Friday October 8th to the U of T Blues as well as
a tough three point loss to the UBC Thunderbirds in Kitchener on Saturday October 9th. Kevin Pangos hit a great pressure packed three pointer to send the game into overtime at U of T but wasn't enough to give the Phoenix the W at the final buzzer.
The team is a bit banged up at the big-man spots but they play extremely hard. The "development" players, including Kevin Pangos, Henry Tan, Agunwa Okolie and Troy Knight are gaining invaluable in-game training and intense competition that will serve them very well once their high school seasons start!
This model can be the model of the future as playing bigger, tougher, smarter basketball players forces the development players to tackle a steep basketball learning curve, and will ultimately make them smarter and more efficient on the hardwood!

A Game Guelph Phoenix in action against the U of T Blues!
Photo Courtesy of http://www.photoriotphotography.blogspot.com/

Kyle and Stu Julius have done a tremendous job coaching and teaching these younger players high-level basketball skills/fundamentals and reinforce them positively at all times and that should be commended. A-Game Hoops is here to stay and you can get more information at http://www.agamehoops.com/ So check it out and see if you have the "A Game"!

Troy Knight of Vaughan has got his A-Game on!
Photo Courtesy of http://www.photoriotphotography.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Just before heading down to Stanford to join Stefan Nastic Dwight Powell dropped into HoopDome to ball full court!

Toronto native Dwight Powell is at Stanford University as you read this. He graduated from the IMG Academy, which is mostly known for superior tennis Alumni including Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and the Williams sisters; Venus and Serena amongst others. But the basketball program has been making waves in the U.S. hoops scene lately and Powell has been a major factor that has led to its rise to prominence in the States. Powell headlines a stellar recruiting class(top 15) by Head Coach Johnny Dawkins that includes another Toronto native, by way of Serbia, Stefan Nastic. The duo hope to make an impact in the Pac-10 conference in 2010/2011. Powell stopped by HoopDome in September to ball with the locals just before he headed down to Stanford and talked about getting good grades in high school and his aspirations heading into his first year at the collegiate level with the Cardinal...Check it out...

A-Game Guelph Phoenix vs. U of T Friday October 8th, 2010...highlights and interviews plus Henry Tan interview!

Video Details:

A-game Guelph Phoenix take on U of T at the U of T Athletic Center on Friday, October 8th, 2010. Grade 11 baller Agunwa Okolie(#10) from Dennis O'Connor in Ajax throws down over a U of T player rather ferociously. Play continues back and forth as U of T's Justin Holmes buries a sweet three. Pangos then comes down and dishes then gets it back but misses the baseline 3. U of T took the game 119-100 in OT. Great game to watch as it went back and forth. The high-schoolers held their own as they have for all of the games against CIS and OCAA competition. Go to www.agamehoops.com

Video Details:

Klye Julius and his father started the A-Game Hoops program which is the first of it's kind in Canada. The program brings together some of the top high school players in the province of Ontario and integrates them with season veterans/former pros and CIS, OCAA and NCAA grads. This is the same system they use in Europe to improve the quality of their young players. They learn in practice from older and bigger players and learn the nuances of basketball that they wouldn't get from just playing against players their age. Kyle talks about the benefit of the program and the benefits to the "development" high school players in the system at A-Game. A-Game lost 119-110 but the lessons and experiences they gain from playing these games is priceless. Look for the players such as Henry Tan, Agunwa Okolie, Troy Knight, Kevin Pangos to make a serious impact on the high school scene this coming season...Here's my chat with Kyle Julius...

Video Details:

Henry Tan's got some good point guard skills. The PG for the last year's Vaughan Voyageurs Jr. hoops squad has been ballin' with the A-Game Guelph Phoenix development squad for the better part of this past summer and has continued to play with the team in several exhibition games against CIS and OCAA competition. Playing with the Phoenix has been instrumental in Tan improving so that he can make a serious impact for his upcoming season. Tan is a versatile guard who can score by jump shot or by slashing and getting to the paint. But he specializes in running the offence and getting his teammates shots in areas in which they can excel. Now that he's ballin' as a Sr. his Vaughan squad will be one of the favorites to take the Provincial crown this season as the roster has a deep lineup that includes, Tan, Andrew Wiggins, Troy Knight and Roshane Roberts to name a few. After a recent A-Game Hoops Guelph Phoenix practice I had a chance to talk to Tan. A bit shy off the court, the energetic Tan lets his play do the talking when he's between the lines...Check it out.

The Score's Jason Thom with a great highlight reel of the All-Canada Classic at the A.C.C.

Jason Thom and the Score put together 2 highlight reels of the Phase 1 All-Canada Classic...
Great job by the Score with the editing and the interviews...Enjoy both parts below as Myck Kabongo and team white battle Kevin Pangos and team red!

1st Half

2nd Half


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

See College Roomates from "Dude Perfect" make incredible Basketball shots...even from planes!

The Dude Perfect dudes!
Photo Courtest http://www.dudeperfect.com/

Here's an amazing basketball shot...in a football stadium to boot. Some guy from "Dude Perfect" hits this true "full-court" bomb as he sinks the basketball...nothin' but net. Had to post it here! Wow.
Here's the website where you can see some of their other sick basketball shots...

Check out the basketball shot below!

The boys over at Raptors HQ have a great blog "From Long Distance" by Maurice Joseph...check it out!

Maurice Joseph J'ing it up for the Catamounts
Photo courtesy: Vermont Athletics and http://www.raptors.hq.com/
Ray Bala and the RaptorsHQ dudes have a great blog diary called "From Long Distance" by Maurice Joseph that will be on their site throughout the season. Joseph, a Montreal native played collegiately at Michigan State before transferring to the University of Vermont, played against his brother Kris Joseph and Syracuse last year in the NCAA Tournament's 1st round. The Cuse' defeated Vermont as the two brothers got to play a very emotional tilt against each other.

HERE's an amazing piece courtesy of a Syracuse blog on their basketball journey in Hockey mad Montreal and the way the family coped when they found out the two would play against each other in the NCAA's!

Joseph who plays professionally in Israel just attended a Israeli league banquet and shares the details right HERE.

Nice piece in Rivals about the bond between Tristan Thompson and Corey Joseph at Texas!

This dynamic trio could be all at Texas starting in 2011.
Myck Kabongo, Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph!
Photo Courtesty of Raptors forum.com

A couple years ago Tristan Thompson was rated the best big man prospect for the 2010 recruiting class!
For some reason his stock has dropped a bit...maybe due to other guys playing better and stepping up their games, or possibly because he committed to the Longhorns so soon in the process(2 years ago) that people may have grown tired of hearing his name and have cast doubts about his standing among big men Stateside. He's now being called a tweener at 6'8", where some pundits and critics say he's too small to be a true PF and others say he's too big to be a small forward and guard quicker and agile forwards. To me he's just a baller. He gets the job done and has led his Findlay squad to titles and that's what counts. I see Tristan being a "Mr. Do It All" type of player: rebound, hustle, toughness, block shots and do all the little things that a solid big man is supposed to do; and don't think he can't score either as he dropped 16 ppg last season at Findlay to go with almost 10rebounds per game.

His teammate and also an incoming freshman at Texas will be his partner in crime at Findlay, Cory Joseph.
I've seen Cory play several times in Toronto at HoopDome for the Scarborough Blues as well as for Pickering when he and his brother won two straight OFSAA AAAA titles and he is the truth! He's simply a winner in my books. Two Ontario titles to go with 2 ESPN/Rise National Championships stateside should bode well for Rick Barnes and the Longhorns. What I like about Joseph is his calm and controlled demeanor on the court, his lateral quicks, active hands and his anticipation and ability to read the game before a play happens.
He's not the quickest or spriest player on the court but his basketball sense and IQ are of the highest level.
Combine that with an ability to shoot from mid range, three-point land, as well as get in the paint to make plays for himself and his teammates, you have one of the most complete guards you will see in the college game this season. Joseph won the three-point contest at the McDonald's All-American game, the first for a Canadian. He had all kinds of schools interested in his services and Louisville's Rick Pitino was hot on his heels at one point, but he chose to go to Austin and play for Texas with his fellow Torontonian and good friend Thompson.
I am geeked at the prospect of watching these two ply their trades in the Lonestar state and expect them to be one of the top teams in the country. I think their winning ways in high school will continue at the Collegiate level and propel Texas to the upper echelon of the Big 12 as well as the NCAA rankings.
Come tournament time look for the Longhorns to be right in the mix for a National title!

For some more insight on this dynamic duo from RIVALS check it out HERE!

Three Canadians playing professionally abroad have stellar performances for their squads!

Jevohn Shepherd of the SMNT
Photo Courtesy of FIBA.com

Three main pieces of the Canadian Sr. Men's National team had great performances for their respective clubs.
Denham Brown, Jermaine Anderson and Jevohn Shepherd all put in serious work on the scoresheet to help their squads...
Shepherd dropped 40 points as his German second-tier Pro-A league leading Girolive-Ballers Osnabrueck improved to 3-0 with a 106-89 win over Science City Jena.
Brown, playing in the Ukraine, came off the bench to lead his squad with 16 points in a 74-57 loss to Hoverla Ivano-Frankivsk. He was 6-for-16 from the field while draining 2 threes out of the four he took.
Finally, Anderson who plays in the new Russian pro league for Triumph Lyubertsy, scored 16 points as his team downed Krasnie Krilya Samara 73-68. The new Russian PBL broke off from the Russian Superleague after last season...

Peep the deets HERE.

Thanks to Ray at Raptors HQ and Canada Basketball for the link and info!

Sportsvision has a nice stat sheet on Jevohn's career so far HERE.

Shepherd was also named Eurobasket's Germany Pro-A player of the week...check the deets HERE.

HERE's his team sheet on Eurobasket as well.

Check out this crazy 11-minute video of Jevohn's days at Michigan from http://www.viddler.com/ below.
He had a ton of nasty dunks on guys, pull-up J's and long distance threes at Ann Arbor!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Kevin Pangos talks about verbally committing to Gonzaga after a game with the Guelph Phoenix

Kyle Julius and Guelph Phoenix Battle CIS and OCAA competition
Photo courtey http://www.agamehoops.com/

I had the pleasure of attending a very entertaining basketball game at the University of Toronto on Friday as the Guelph Phoenix took on the University of Toronto Varsity Blues at the U of T Athletic Center. The game was very free-flowing in the first half as both teams let it fly from beyond the arc, as it was raining threes from various spots on the court. The score after one quarter was 22-21 Phoenix as Kevin Pangos took the reigns at the pg spot while burying a three to help Guelph's cause.

In the 2nd quarter the Phoenix went up by as much as 9 with Kyle Julius dialing long distance to lead his squad. Agunwa Okolie pitched in with some good defence and a steal while Rhadi Knapp was his usual bruiser self inside scoring against the U of T bigs...But former Eastern Commerce star, Alex Hill(back from 1 season at Cornell) brought his Blues squad back into it with 3 threes in the quarter and a nice and-1 bucket to close the gap as the Guelph Phoenix led 44-43 at the half. Pangos led the Phoenix with 10 points, including 2 threes and Julius had 9 points while Hill paced the home side netting 17 points with 4 threes.

The second half was totally different as the refs were feeling whistle happy calling a ton of fouls, predominantly on the Phoenix. The Blues big man #33 Drazen Glisic took advantage scoring an and-1 bucket and another layup as the Blues used a 12-2 run to go up 11 on the Phoenix. Henry Tan contributed to the Phoenix cause with a nice layup to cut the Blues lead to 8 with 4:04 remaining. But backup Blues pg Arun Kumar impressed as well, draining a huge three to increase the Blues lead to 8 as the Phoenix had cut the lead to 5.  The Phoenix trailed by 5 after 3 quarters.

In the 4th, things got crazy. First Alex Hill was on fire burying NBA distance threes. Then at about the 5:46 mark with U of T up 7 by my score sheet, the refs changed the score making it 81-79 Blues, citing a scoring error. At around the 4 minute mark the Phoenix had three high-schoolers on the court, Pangos, Okolie and Troy Knight, while Julius went down with left calf injury. U of T looked to put it away as Justin Holmes scored and-1 to make it 89-81 Blues, but Dan Eves was sizzling from outside draining two threes, and Mike King hit a corner three as well to keep the game close for the Phoenix. Fast forward to about 7 seconds remaining and Pangos, with the Phoenix down three, pulls up an connects on a big trifecta to tie the game at 96 to send things into overtime. A phenomenal shot by a phenomenal player.

But OT was all Blues as Ben Garvin's 3 ball with 1 minute left sealed it by putting U of T up 7 and they won it 119-110 going away.

A tremendous game, despite the whistle happy refs, that showed how well these high school players are getting and will be getting as they take advantage of the opportunity to play with veterans and against older, stronger and wiser players at the CIS and OCAA level.

Cudos to U of T Head Coach Mike Katz as he has a very scrappy and tough young group of players who if this result means anything, will be able to challenge for a spot near the top of the OUA East! The U of T Blues are a young team but they play with good fundamentals, high basketball IQ and team chemistry which will take them a far way in their upcoming CIS season. Good luck to the U of T Blues Men's basketball team!

Check out info on the Guelph Phoenix HERE.

Also, check out the U of T basketball squad HERE.

After the game I spoke to Pangos about the game and his decision earlier in the week to verbally commit to Gonzaga University...

Here's a look at Pangos' three-pointer to send the game into Overtime against U of T!

Another nice play by Pangos as he beats his man and then takes contact but scores anyways.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Great article about Kevin Pangos by Rivals Jeff Eisenberg and U17 Coach Roy Rana!

Pangos underrated?
Courtesy http://www.crownmagonline.com/

As I noted a couple days ago...Kevin Pangos is somewhat of a hidden gem the basketball recruiting world. He's already verbally committed to Gonzaga and will surely make an impact at the program from Spokane, Washington. Jeff Eisenberg of the blog "The Dagger" thinks that Pangos could be the best Canadian on the Gonzaga roster when he suits up next year and spoke to Ryerson Head Coach Roy Rana and also the Canadian U17 Coach about what sets Pangos apart from his peers, what type of person he is and what kind of impact he will have when he touches down at Gonzaga...Check out the story right HERE!

Want to learn and know a little more about Gonzaga University? Check out the deets HERE!

Also, I've got a couple interviews with Kevin done about a month ago before he verbally committed to Gonzaga that are interesting and shed a little light into Kevin Pangos the person. I'll also speak to him and his father tonight at the Guelph Phoenix vs. U of T basketball game at the U of T Athletic Center. Stay tuned for that interview as well.
It should be a great game. Despite Pangos being a bit banged up, the Newmarket native says he's gonna suit up and ball. The Phoenix will also be playing the UBC Thunderbirds tomorrow afternoon at 3pm and look for Pangos play in that one too!
UBC is a great team...having reached the CIS Men's Basketball final last year only to come up short against the Saskatchewan Huskies...
From the UBC website: "UBC made their second straight CIS national final appearance in 2009-10, losing 91-81 to Saskatchewan. The 'Birds owned a 25-3 overall record, were 17-1 in conference play, and topped the CIS national rankings in eight of the 14 coaches polls during their run to the title game."

As well as playing the Phoenix on Saturday, the UBC Thunderbirds take on Wilfred Laurier at 7pm eastern tonight(Friday, October 8th) and the Guelph Gryphons on Sunday, October 10th at 1pm Eastern.

Come on out tonight for the 7pm tilt at U of T and/or tomorrow at Kitchener Forrest Heights as the Phoenix take on the Thunderbirds of UBC. Details are below from A-Game Hoops...

The A-Game Guelph Phoenix go head-to-head this weekend with the UofT Blues and The UBC Thunderbirds.

Friday Oct 8th @ 7:pm vs UofT------ Location of the game is at the UofT Athletic centre in the main gym.

Saturday Oct 9th @ 3:00pm vs UBC----- Location of the game is at Forrest Heights High School in Kitchener. 255 Fischer-Hallman Road Phone: 519-744-6567 Fax: 519-744-1870


York Region.com has some more thoughts on the Pangos verbal commitment HERE.

Last but certainly not least, look out for a Henry Tan interview too...as I spoke to the shy off the court but confident on the court stellar guard from Vaughan Secondary in Thornhill at the A-Game practice last month.
Stay tuned here at dunku for the latest and greatest Canadian basketball news and updates!

See You
Drew Ebanks

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Great video of Texas Longhorns' weight training techniques ft. Corey Joseph and Tristan Thompson.

Inseparable: Corey and Tristan
Courtesy: highschoolsports.oregonlive.com/.../
 Here's a look at the training regimen of the Texas Longhorns' workout routine for a squad looking to do big things this year in the Big 12 and the NCAA tournament as Canadians Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph look to make their mark after very successful high school careers. The duo,who are coming off back-to-back ESPN/Rise National High School Championships, will have a lot to learn as college is a much more intense and demanding experience.
Check out this great video HERE.
Thanks to http://www.raptorshq.com/ for putting me on to it in their Canadian Content section!

Roy Halliday is God in pinstripes...seriously he is the real Chosen One!

(Tim Shaffer / Reuters / October 7, 2010)

Last night...I witnessed one of the greatest sporting feats of my lifetime...as Roy "Doc" Halladay recorded the first no hitter in baseball playoff history since Don Larsen produced a perfect game in the World Series way way back in 1956! That's right...54 years ago was the last time a pitcher recorded at least a no-hit game in the playoffs. There's been some phenomenal pitchers since that time including and not limited to Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Tom Seaver, Jim Palmer, Greg Maddux and on and on and on. But none of them produced a no-hitter in the playioffs...In fact how many of them even threw 1 or 2 hit playoff games? Not sure...but probably not many of them.

This is for the most part a basketball blog...but being a sports lover I had to say a few words after witnessing history last night. The Philadelphia crowd was awesome. They could sense it was going to be a special evening and the man who waited 10 years to start his first playoff game did not disappoint!
It only took...104 piches, 79 strikes and incredibly only 3, three-ball counts to push Halladay from being one of the best pitchers over the last several years, to one of the best, if not the best of his generation. When I say only, I'm being facetious because 104 pitches calls for some serious arm action. To add an exclamation point to the night, Halladay even knocked in a run with an RBI single in the bottom of the 2nd to help his cause.

Harry Leroy Halladay III was born in Denver, Colorado and the late great Tom Cheek of Canadian and baseball broadcasting royalty coined the name "Doc" after the Wild Wild West gunslinger Doc Holliday. He is a gunslinger in the the way that he hunts down batters and relegates them to golfing ground ball outs or swinging wildly at pitches that seem to defy all laws of physics! Halladay is simply God in Pinstripes!

Back in 2004-2006 when I was reporting for Global TV(Global Sports) I got to cover all the major sports in Toronto, including hoops, hockey and CFL football. Of all the sports I must say baseball was my least favorite to cover, and not because of anything other than the game was too slow at times for my liking. Pitchers knitting quilts between pitches, managers going to the mound every other pitch to talk about last night's team dinner menu, batters re-arranging their uniforms and crotch grabbing while at the plate, etc.etc.etc. Most games took in excess of 3 hours. Which is way too long...especially now in this age of Facebook and and 140 character messages to friends and strangers called Tweets!
But I covered a ton of Blue Jay games in those days...used to love the free popcorn in the media room! I also loved talking to some of the older reporters who would fill me in on how great baseball was and what it needed to do to be great again.

Usually I would cover 3-4 baseball games a week on top of my full-time job as an Investment Representative at TD Waterhouse(I'm still there by the way), and really I don't know how I pulled it off! 8 hours at the bank...go home...get changed and race downtown to the Roger's center or the Air Canada Center and then "work" another 7 hours or so covering sports! Long days to say the least!

Safe to say whenever I knew Halladay was pitching I was ecstatic on the way to the ballpark because I knew it would be over in about 2 hours. Halladay pitches so fast and efficient that baseball should just clone him every night and the games would be speedy and they'd get some younger fans back to the game because they  get antsy sitting down after even a half an hour. After the game I'd get in the locker room and there would be Halladay, never shunning the media, with that same serious after game "Game Face" on. He would always give credit to his catcher and his teammates and basically downplay anything he did to get the W. He was simply class and professionalism personified!

Last night...I still pictured him wearing the Blue Jays uniform even though he was wearing red and white instead of the blue and white of Toronto's squad. Still the same ol' Doc, mowing down batters, keeping things simple and pitching at his pace. I'm rooting for him this post-season because he played here with purpose and poise despite some very lean times and teams. I'm rooting for him because he plays with no fanfare and no chest-thumping bravado. I'm rooting for him because he is God in pinstripes!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Super K...Kevin Pangos verbally commits to the Gonzaga Zags!

Kevin Pangos...simply a magician on the court.

Prized Super-Canadian PG Kevin Pangos, has finally let the cat out of the bag by verbally committing to play at Gonzaga University starting in 2011/2012. Pangos, a Newmarket, Ontario native and son of a basketball coach wasn't pursued by several top level NCAA Division I teams that in my opinion have missed out on a future true point guard leader and stud at the collegiate level. He remained an unknown commodity even in this age of lightning fast spread of information over the world wide web! What Pangos lacks in athleticism he clearly makes up with a savviness and on-court demeanour that belies his young age. He is often underestimated because he doesn't slam or play the game with too much outward emotion...simply put...he just plays!
Somewhat of a coup for Mark Few and the formerly "Cinderella darling" Zags, Pangos had apparently whittled his short list down to Notre Dame, Virginia and Gonzaga. Three other Canadians ply their wares for the Zags, Big man Robert Sacre, Kelly Olynyk and Mangisto(Manny) Arop, who's projected to have a breakout season at the small forward slot. Bol Kong, another Canuck via the Sudan, recently left Gonzaga due to personal reasons and is headed back to Canada to finish out his collegiate career.
Gonzaga does have a couple other top-level guards signed for the 2011 campaign including Gary Bell Jr. and Kyle Dranginis but Pangos should be able to eke out substantial court time despite a logjam in Gonzaga's back court starting next season.

Crown has the scoop on the signing right HERE.

Pangos...Gonzaga's newest baller.
Even the mighty ESPN also seems to think Pangos flew under the radar:

"Gonzaga recruit not a star yet

October, 6, 2010 Oct 6 4:55PM By Eamonn Brennan
Canadian point guard and class of 2011 recruit Kevin Pangos verbally committed to the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Wait: Who is Kevin Pangos?
If you looked only at recruiting rankings, this would be a difficult question to answer. Pangos is an unscouted, unranked commodity. Part of that has to do with his native land; it's harder for recruiting analysts to get a read on foreign players, and Canada is no different. Part of that might just a typical under-the-radar-type situation. Some players just don't get a lot of recruiting hype, no matter where they're from. But if you look elsewhere -- namely, at the results of the FIBA U-17 World Championships in July -- you might start thinking Gonzaga found a steal. Pangos averaged 15 points per game in that tournament. He was named the tournament's top point guard and was a member of the all-tournament team, which also included high-profile 2011 recruits like James McAdoo and Bradley Beal. He was the youngest Canadian ever to participate in a senior men's international game. Some have (inevitably, it seems) compared him to fellow Canadian point guard Steve Nash.
So, wait: Did the next Steve Nash just commit to Gonzaga? Why aren't we more excited?
It might have something to do with the difficulty in recruiting foreign players; even top-flight schools have to limit their recruiting focus somehow, and if the top schools weren't looking at Pangos, it's easy to see why he could slip through the recruiting tracks. And it's not as though Pangos ended up at a nowhere school. He was recruited by plenty of high-major programs (Michigan, UNLV, Cincinnati, Portland, Boston College, Temple, Virginia, and Notre Dame among them) and he chose one of, if not the, best. (Not to mention one with several fellow Canadians and a good mix of European players. Mark Few is awfully good at recruiting outside the states.)
Despite all that, it feels a little like Pangos is flying under the radar. We'll see if that's still the case in two years' time. If those Nash comparisons are remotely true, I guess we can't say we weren't warned.
(Update: Almost immediately after I published this post, Pangos was upgraded to a 93 overall on our recruiting boards. He's now a four-star prospect ranked No. 29 at his position. That didn't take long.)"

Here's the UPDATED ESPN rankings on Pangos...who didn't seem to have much of a profile on him on their website before the verbal commitment became news in the blogosphere yesterday. The "World Wide Leader in sports" came through though giving him a 93 ranking and labelling him a 4-star recruit and has some nice things to say about KP's game and prospects for the future.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Canadian Denham Brown not going to Poland...heading to the Ukraine instead!

Will Denham Brown return to the NBA one day?
Photo Courtesy of http://www.geocities.co.jp/Athlete-Acropolis/5944/denham.html

Canadian Sr. Men's National Team member Denham Brown will be taking his talents to the Ukraine instead of Poland...according to Canada Basketball's website. Brown who left the national men's team for a couple of years to attend to personal matters has undergone a sort of resurgence internationally and will play for one of the better squads in Europe...Dnipro Dnepropetrovsk. He had originally inked to play with Asseco Prokom Gdynia in Poland(2-time Polish champions) but the team and player have "mutually agreed" to part ways. Brown, a graduate of the University of Connecticut Huskies of the Big East in the NCAA, has had an up and down professional career so far, bouncing around a several countries like the Italy, The Philippines, Turkey and Poland as well as a stint in the NBADL last season in limited action for the Iowa Energy. Despite being drafted 40th overall by the Seattle Supersonics(now the Oklahoma City Thunder) in 2006, the Toronto native has not had much luck getting back to the NBA. Safe to say Denham may be better served playing overseas where his athleticism would be a plus in the Euro league play.
Brown, 27, played for Canada this past summer's at the FIBA World Championships for Men in Turkey, and finished 3rd highest on the team in scoring at 8.8ppg. His highest total was 13 points against Lebanon in the team's opener and later he notched 12 points against a pesky New Zealand squad. Here's hoping Denham will be afforded the playing time to shine in the Ukraine in 2010/2011. Good luck Mr. Brown.

Check out the piece on Canada Basketball's website...HERE.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A-Game game summary against the Mohawk College Mountaineers in Hamilton October 2nd, 2010

The Guelph Phoenix are all business between the lines!

Guelph Phoenix 96 Mohawk College Mountaineers 67

On a rainy Saturday, October 2nd the A-Game Hoops Guelph Phoenix Senior Men's team traveled to Hamilton battle the talented Mohawk College Mountaineers.
The Phoenix looked primed and ready to go from the opening tip. The lights out shooting of
Kyle Julius and the returning Jay Mott soon had the Phoenix up 20 with just minutes to go in the first half.
A gritty press from the Mountaineers chipped away at the Phoenix lead in the half's closing minutes sending the teams to the locker rooms with the Phoenix up 47-34.
The second half saw an energized Mountaineers team threaten to close the lead, but the flurry of offense from Julius and Mott was eventually ended any hopes of a comeback. The Phoenix went on to win 91-67 after shooting a combined 55% from the field. Julius finished the game with 36 points on 12 for 17 from the field (7-11 3pt). Jay Mott returned to his usual sharp shooting form in his first game back from injury netting 19 points while being 5 for 9 from 3 point range.Mike King may have been the deciding factor in this game as he hauled in 10 rebounds and dominated the paint for the majority of the game.

Rising high-schooler Agunwa Okolie.

The Phoenix are in action next weekend as they travel to Toronto to play the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on Friday night(October 8th) for a game at 8pm. Then they take on the UBC Thunderbirds(Ranked 2nd overall in final CIS regular season standings for 2009/2010) on Saturday(October 9th) at home in Guelph at 12 pm.

Kevin Pangos and Henry Tan.

Game Summary Courtesy-Matt Hayes

For more info on the Mohawk College Mountaineers check out their team page HERE!

A-Game game summary against the Waterloo Warriors September 29th, 2010

Guelph Phoenix squad

Waterloo Warriors 73 Guelph Phoenix 71

After a tough 2 point loss to the University of Waterloo in which the Phoenix only had 7 guys and missing 3 starters they bounced back and competed hard vs Mohawk college on Sunday.

Coach Mauro DiVito giving his son Vince some tips at practice.

"Even though we suffered our first loss to CIS competition in 15 games we still followed through with our plan of playing high school kids at this level. We had two high school players play major minutes and contribute in a close game vs CIS competition. There aren't to many high school players that get such an exciting opportunity". -Stu Julius
Henry Tan and Troy Knight were outstanding, turning the Waterloo guards over and playing tough against guys 3 to 5 years older. They both played over 20 minutes.

Agunwa Okolie of Archbishop Dennis O'Connor and Henry Tan of Vaughan S.S.

Game Summary Courtesy-Matt Hayes

The Waterloo Warriors website also produced their own game summary...read below...

September 29, 2010: Putting the Jerseys On

The Waterloo Warriors put on the game jerseys on Wednesday evening for a scrimmage against the visiting senior men's team, Guelph Phoenix. Matt Hayes and Graham Jarman are two former Warriors playing for the Phoenix. Eleven Warriors hit the court, with 10 figuring in the scoring. It was a pretty veteran team that started with Luke Kieswetter, Wayne Bridge, Cam McIntyre, Alan Goodhoofd and Brendan Smith getting the starting assignments. Rookies Andrew Melbourne, Mike Wright and Troy Stevenson saw some time coming off the bench. Cam McIntyre led the Warriors in scoring with 21 points. For the visiting Phoenix, Guelph Gryphon alumni Kyle Julius and Radhi Knapp led the scoring with 26 and 22 points.
The Warriors also used the scrimmage to work on their end game. Down by three points with 2:36 remaining, the Warriors outscored the visitors 6-1 to close out the game and secure a 2 point margin of victory. The final score was Waterloo 71, Guelph Phoenix 69.

For more info on the Waterloo Warriors Men's basketball team check them out HERE.