Axel Toupane to join Edy Tavares and Jerry Stackhouse in New Orleans

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(Mississauga, On) Add Axel Toupane to the short list of Raptors 905 honorees to take part in an NBA D-league All-Star Game, as the league announced Tuesday that the Frenchman will be one of four replacement players for this coming Saturday’s showdown in The Big Easy.

Toupane has arguably been the 905’s best player this season, averaging 16.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 27 games for the Mississauga-based club. The former Denver Nugget forward has left a lasting impression on coach Stackhouse this season.

“I’m proud of Axel because he was probably one of the hard heads at the very beginning,” laughed Stackhouse. “And he’s still a little hard headed, but at the same time he’s out there and he gives us unbelievable effort and will.”

Coach Stackhouse, his staff, and 7’2” Center Edy Tavares will also represent the 905 and the Eastern Conference in the 10th annual game, which is set to take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans at 2:30 p.m. ET live on NBA TV.

Tavares and Toupane join a select group of Raptors 905 players to make an NBA D-League All-Star roster, with Ronald Roberts Jr. and Scott Suggs carrying the honour of being the franchise’s first two players to ever take part in the League’s showpiece event.

“Within the minutes that they’re [Axel and Edy] playing, they’ve been efficient and again, the result is us winning games,” added Stackhouse. “I think that’s one thing you have to look at, when you look at some of these teams we’re probably four or five games ahead of [them] and getting two all-stars was the right thing.”

Among the list of stand-ins will be Jordan Crawford (Grand Rapids Drive), Alfonzo McKinnie (Windy City Bulls) and Reggie Williams (Oklahoma City Blues).

Ray McCallum (Grand Rapids Drive/Charlotte Hornets), Chris McCullough (Long Island Nets/Brooklyn Nets), and Yogi Ferrell (Long Island Nets/Dallas Mavericks) are ruled ineligible to take part in the contest due to NBA obligations.

Pierre Jackson of the Texas Legends continues to rehab from a left hamstring injury, barring him from participating, as well.

Written by Jas Grewal

Photo by Robert Ong

Edited by Drew Ebanks

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905 rally past Knicks, extend win streak to three games heading into all-star break

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MISSISSAUGA— CJ Leslie’s thunderous jam with 19.3 second left sealed a double-double performance and the victory for Raptors 905 over the visiting Westchester Knicks on Tuesday night at the Hershey Centre.

The 105-99 comeback win extended the club’s NBA D-League streak to three, and solidified its hold on first place in the Eastern Conference.

Leslie, a 6-foot-9 forward, had 25 points and 13 rebounds in just over 31 minutes of action – including 12 points in the third quarter.

First time all-star Edy Tavares chipped in with 16 points and 13 rebounds to go along with five blocks and five steals as the club overcame a poor start.

“In the first-half we weren’t playing defence and the ball wasn’t flowing offensive wise. The main thing was just to get back to what we do,” added Leslie, who willed his team to victory despite the team’s leading scorer Axel Toupane ruled unavailable Tuesday due to injury.

“One thing is that I got to make sure that I have my energy up for these guys. That’s just part of the game. We wanted to make sure that even when the ball stopped we had to keep our energy up,” said Leslie. “That was the main thing.”

The home team was down 55-47 at the half before igniting an early 15-4 third-quarter run to stage the comeback victory. Antwaine Wiggins and Leslie were key components of the momentum swing as the duo combined for 21 of the team’s 39 points in the opening quarter of the second half.

“Everybody played well. It was a great team effort but CJ definitely was the guy tonight,” said head coach Jerry Stackhouse following his team’s six-point triumph over Westchester.

He especially singled out Wiggins.

“[Antwaine] is fun, man. He’s our energy [guy]. I look down and I always say that I don’t play him enough,” said Stackhouse.

“His plus-minus is always off the charts. He does all of the little things; he crashes the boards; he guards; he’s still getting better in his pick-and-roll defence, but overall he’s getting better…he’s the epitome of what we’re about here at [Raptors] 905”

The 905 struggled to find consistent offence in the first two quarters, as the Knicks limited the club to just 38 per cent (19/50) from the floor and challenged the Raptors to knock down contested outside jumpers.

Evidently, the Mississauga-based team was unable to find the mark from beyond the three-point line, hitting on only two trifectas in 15 attempts early on.

Despite struggling to contain Von Wafer and John Jenkins, as the pair combined for 26 first-half points, the 905 were able to stay within striking distance at the midway point of the game due to a strong 32 point effort inside the paint by the home club.

Tavares carried much of the offensive load, registering 12 of his 16 points in the opening two quarters and, with the aid of Leslie, helped spearhead the team’s 66-32 dominance inside the paint by the end of it.

Canadians Negus Webster-Chan and Brady Heslip combined for 20 points on the night, with Heslip recording 12 of those points in just under 35 minutes of action.

Wafer led the Knicks in the scoring column with 23 points, while Jenkins added 22 points and eight rebounds in the loss for Westchester, who fall to 14-20 on the season.

NOTES: Axel Toupane & Will Sheehey missed tonight’s action due to injury…Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet were both inactive as the pair were with parent club Toronto Raptors Tuesday in Chicago.

All-Star Edy Tavares 16pts 13rebs

Written by Jas Grewal

Photo by Robert Ong

Edited by Drew Ebanks

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Canadian Basketball Pioneers Olga Hrycak & Todd MacCulloch To Be Honoured

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Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame Welcomes 2017 Induction Class

TORONTO, ON (February 14, 2017) – Canada Basketball is pleased to announce that Olga Hrycak and Todd MacCulloch will be inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame.

“Both Olga and Todd have made significant contributions to the sport of basketball,” said Michele O’Keefe, President & CEO of Canada Basketball. “Their positive influences on the development of Canadian basketball can be seen through their professional careers as well as their community involvement. It is with great pride that Canada will witness these two dedicated individuals inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame.”

Throughout her 48-year career, Hrycak (Montreal, QC) consistently made Canadian history on and off the court.  As a pioneer for female coaches in basketball, in 1984 she became one of the first females to be part of a men’s Olympic coaching staff and she was the first female to be an assistant coach with the Canadian National Team (1985-1987). Hrycak was also the first woman in North America to lead a men’s university team, winning two provincial championships (2006 and 2010).

“I must acknowledge and express my appreciation to all the players, coaches and administrators who believed in me and helped me achieve my successes,” Hrycak said. “Also, to Canada Basketball and all those individuals responsible for my nomination for this prestigious recognition, please accept my deepest and sincere appreciation for your acknowledgment of my dedication to the game.”

Hrycak’s notable contributions to gender equality in sport management mirror her great successes as an educator, mentor and role model in her community. She has received numerous achievement awards for her talent as a coach and exceptional community involvement.

MacCulloch (Winnipeg, MB), currently recognized by the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame and Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, is one of the greatest centers in our country’s history. Representing the Canadian National Team 93 times, including the 2000 Olympic team, the seven-footer challenged many all-time records during his time at the University of Washington. He also became a household name in 1999 when he was drafted into the NBA by the Philadelphia 76ers. His career also saw him start for the New Jersey Nets.

“I was humbled and honoured when I heard the incredible news that I was going to be inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame,” said MacCulloch. “My ultimate goal as a high school basketball player in Manitoba was merely to make Canada’s National Team and compete in the Olympics.  To now be getting inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame is an unbelievable, incredible honour and one that I am immensely proud of.”

MacCulloch’s NBA career was cut short in 2003 after being diagnosed with a medical condition that affected his ability to play basketball professionally. Through this adversity, he continued to dedicate his vast knowledge and passion for the game by starting the Todd MacCulloch Hoop School Program – an initiative designed to teach basic basketball skills to inner city youth.

Both inductees will be honoured at The Sport Gallery in Toronto during a ceremony on May 18, 2017.

Courtesy Canada Basketball

Drew Ebanks

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Jared Sullinger impresses in 2nd game for Raptors 905 who improve to 24-9 on the Season

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The Raptors 905 continued their winning ways with a wire-to-wire victory at home over the Canton Charge, avenging a home loss to the same team on January January 4th. With the win, the team improves to 24-9 and sits atop the NBA D League’s Eastern Conference, two and a half games ahead of the Maine Red Claws.

The 118-88 final score was indicative of the kind and extent of a beat down the team representing Mississauga put on the 18-15 Charge.

The game was also the second appearance for Toronto Raptors forward Jared Sullinger, who continues to work his way back into game shape after injury woes.

The 905 set the tone on the defensive end from the opening tip off as they held Canton to 16 points in the first quarter on 31 percent shooting and led 33-16 after the first frame.

Head coach Jerry Stackhouse, impressed with his team’s effort on the defensive end, also praised the leadership and offensive execution of the team out of gate lead by Sullinger and Fred VanVleet.

“Guys came out with a ton of energy on the offensive end. We had a good talk with Sully and Fred tonight about leading this group. We got some real soldiers on this team; guys that fall right in line. I thought that they did a good job of leading us on the defensive end and on the offensive end and we shared it. I couldn’t be more proud of this group.”

 

The 905 continued their solid play in the second frame, taking a 60-44 lead into the half, led by All-Star Edy Tavares’ 10 points and Canadian Brady Heslip who had 9 points at the break off of 3 threes. Sullinger ended the first half with 8 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. He would finish the game with a double-double of 16 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists on 6-11 shooting including 2-for-2 from the three point line in the game.

The home squad continued to dominate after three quarters, leading by 20 at that point and the fourth quarter was insignificant as the game’s result in the 905’s favour was never in doubt.

With that said, Stackhouse was really proud of the effort the team put forth for the entire game and praised his team for the outcome.

“Just a great group of guys, great effort, played together for the whole game. Finally put it together for 48 minutes. You know we’ve had a couple, three quarters and got some separation from teams and allowed them to come back. I thought tonight we fought for 48 straight minutes. “

As for Sullinger, Coach Stackhouse praised the forward for working the game from the inside out while looking for his teammates all game.

“I think it was a great effort for him. I think for him it’s about not proving anything to anything to anybody else. Now he’s proving it to himself. “

Sullinger, an Ohio State Buckeye alum, felt good about his game, especially the way the team was sharing the basketball.

“I just made the extra pass and I mean I thought we set the tone early when we moved the ball. We found Edy I think for like three dunks in the first three minutes and that kinda set that tone and that we’re moving the ball.”

“I think we did a great job all night. We made the extra pass and got even better shots. We’re just playing team basketball”, added Sullinger.

About playing “down” with the 905, he had this to say.

“At the end of the day basketball is basketball. I don’t care if I’m at Lifetime. I don’t care if I’m at the YMCA. I don’t care if I’m at the Boys & Girls Club. I want to play 5-on-5. The only way for me to get in basketball shape is to play 5-on-5. At the end of the day you’ve got to put your pride to the side and find a way to get better and that’s what I’m doing. “

The crowds for Raptors 905 haven’t always been large or that boisterous this season but it was a factor tonight, and coach Stackhouse felt it.

“Aw man, it was awesome. I felt it before the game. Probably one of the most lively crowds we had all season. Felt like a great atmosphere; you know on a Saturday night for them to come and support these guys, and they’ve earned it. Everybody knows the Raptors have the best fans in the league and now some of them are starting to trickle down to Mississauga and we’re enjoying that. “ said Stackhouse.

All-Star Tavares finished the game with a 16-point, 10 rebound double-double, shooting 7-for-8 (.875) in a solid effort from the Center spot.

Brady Heslip (18pts, 5-8 3pt fg)

CANADIAN CONTENT:

Canadians Brady Heslip and Negus Webster Chan had solid games. Heslip, one of the league’s top shooters, had a team-high 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 5-of-8 from behind the arc. Webster-Chan came in off the bench and was productive in his 15:13 minutes of playing time, notching 6 points while hauling in 3 rebounds and dishing out 3 assists.

Game Notes:

-Raptors 905 outrebounded the Charge 49-34

-Raptors 905 out-assisted the Charge 25-18

Raptors 905 shot 45-89 (.506) and held the Charge to 40.5% shooting

-Raptors 905 had 10 steals in the game and committed 14 turnovers

-Raptors 905 went 17-36 from 3-point land. (.472)

Next Game: Home game on Tuesday February 14th at 7:30pm vs. the Westchester Knicks. This is the team’s last game before the NBA D League All-Star game.

Written and edited by Drew Ebanks

Photo by Robert Ong

 

 

 

 

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56 Athletes Invited to 2017 March Women’s Age-Group Assessment Camp

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TORONTO, ON (February 8, 2017) – Fifty-six athletes from across Canada have been invited to take part in the women’s national age-group assessment camp, to be held at Humber College (Toronto, ON) and University of Toronto Mississauga (Mississauga, ON) from March 24-30, 2017.

“We look forward bringing this group of new and returning nationally identified athletes into our camp, to see them compete and provide direction on their individual performance plans,” said Denise Dignard, director of women’s high performance.

“As we kick-off a new Olympic quadrennial this summer, continued assessment and development of our athletes at all levels is key in moving Canada forward on the international scale.”

The purpose of this camp is to provide a national training environment with international focus to top identified athletes in a variety of age-groups ranging from those born in 1998 and later. This process will aid in identifying athletes to be invited to the U16 and U19 national team programs.

Canada’s age-group girls are ranked 4th in the world by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). Canada’s U16 squad will head to Argentina for the U16 FIBA Americas Championship for women this upcoming June. The U19 team will compete at the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championships in Udine and Cividale del Friuli, Italy, in July.

A full list of invited athletes below.

2017 MARCH AGE GROUP ASSESSMENT CAMP INVITEES
NAME YOB HOMETOWN SCHOOL
Carly Ahlstrom 2000 Calgary, AB Centennial HS
Georgia Alexander 2000 Victoria, BC Oak Bay HS
Laeticia Amihere 2001 Mississauga, ON King’s Christian Collegiate
Niyah Becker 2000 Winnipeg, MB Vincent Massey Collegiate
Clara Bergeron 2002 Boucherville, QC Riverains St. Jean sur Richelieu
Brianna Breedy 2000 Ajax, ON Pickering HS
Hailey Brown 1999 Hamilton, ON TRC Academy
Julia Chadwick 2000 Ottawa, ON Durham Elite
Kenya Cote-Lysius 2001 St. Constant, QC Lucien-Page HS
Micah Dennis 2001 Toronto, ON Northern SS
Emily Dewey 1999 Regina, SK Campbell Collegiate
Kennedy Dickie 2001 Kelowna, BC Kelowna SS
Laura Donovan 2000 London, ON Lucas AB
Sarah Donovan 1999 London, ON Lucas AB
Kayla Drummond 2002 Toronto, ON North Toronto CI
Aaliyah Edwards 2002 Kingston, ON Frontenac SS
Yvonne Ejim 2002 Calgary, AB St. Elizabeth Seaton
Makayla Ennis 2001 Brampton, ON TRC Academy
Taisha Exanor 1999 Saint-Laurent, QC St. Laurent
Rachel Farwell 2000 Rothesay, NB Kennebecasis Valley High
Louise Forsyth 1999 Langley, BC Brookswood SS
Mikayla Funk 2000 Winkler, MB Northlands Parkway Collegiate
Naomi Ganpo 2000 Mississauga, ON Guelph Prep
Raizel Guinto 1999 Winnipeg, MB Sisler HS
Hanna Hall 1999 Hamilton, ON Lincoln Prep
Kaillie Hall 2001 Stoney Creek, ON Lincoln Prep
Taya Hanson 2000 Kelowna, BC TRC Academy
Dana Inglis 1999 Winnipeg, MB Shaftesbury HS
Alyssa Jerome 1999 Toronto, ON Harbord CI
Cassandra Joli-Coeur 2002 Brockville, ON Ange-Gabriel Catholic
Justina King 2000 Scarborough, ON Bill Crothers SS
Myriam Leclerc 1998 St. Roche-de-Rickelieu, QC Ste. Foy CEGEP
Briar MacDonald 2001 Antigonish, NS Antigonish Regional HS
Laura MacKinnon 2002 Bedford NS CP Allen High School
Roxane Makolo 2000 St. Hubert, QC Gerard-Filion
Rebecca Marzan Demeke 2002 Toronto, ON St. Joseph’s College
Brynn Masikewich 2001 Calgary, AB St. Francis SS
Kate Moran 2000 Waterloo, ON TRC Academy
Olivia Morgan-Cherchas 2001 Kamloops, BC South Kamloops SS
Christina Morra 2000 Mississauga, ON King’s Christian Collegiate
Donna Ntambue 2001 Montreal, QC Lucien-Page HS
Kylee O’Hara 2000 Ajax, ON Durham Elite
Shaina Pellington 1999 Pickering, ON Durham Elite
Aiden Rainford 1999 Toronto, ON Lincoln Prep
Merissah Russell 2002 Ottawa, ON Longfields-Davison Heights SS
Kyla Shand 1999 Saskatoon, SK Holy Cross
Claire Signatovich 2001 Winnipeg, MB Oak Park HS
Ella Stanley 2001 St. Albert, AB Paul Kane HS
Sage Stobbart 1999 North Vancouver, BC Seycove HS
Sarah Te-Biasu 2001 Montreal, QC Lucien-Page HS
Lisa Tesson 2002 Montreal, QC Lucien-Page HS
Andrea Torres 1998 Terrebonne, QC Montmorency CEGEP
Deanna Tuchscherer 2001 Chilliwack, BC GW Graham SS
Maryama Turkstra 2002 Dundas, ON Blessed Sacrament
Keishana Washington 2000 Pickering, ON Durham Elite
Aerial Wilson 2001 Dundas, ON TRC Academy

 

Courtesy Canada Basketball

Drew Ebanks

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Raptors 905 Big Man Edy Tavares selected for NBA D-League All-Star Game

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MISSISSAUGA – The NBA D-League announced February 6th that Raptors 905 Center Edy Tavares has been selected to represent the Eastern Conference club during All-Star weekend in New Orleans on Feb. 18.

The former 2014 second-round draft pick of the Atlanta Hawks is posting season averages of 10.5 points and 7.6 rebounds on 59.8% from the floor in 31 games with the 905.

Tavares has been an integral part of the club’s defensive identity, ranking second in the league in rejections at 2.4 per game and totaling 75 blocks on the season.

The Mississauga-based team acquired Tavares this past November after the Cape Verdean big man was waived by the Atlanta Hawks on Oct. 31 after playing in only 12 games with club since being drafted.

The 24-year old will join Raptors 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse in New Orleans for the NBA Development League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire, which will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Prior to being drafted into the NBA, the 7’2” big man played in Liga Española de Baloncesto (Spanish league) for UB La Palma from 2011-2012 before playing three seasons in Spain’s top-tier league, Liga ACB, for Herbalife Gran Canaria.

In just its second season in the NBA D-League, the 905 sit atop the Eastern Conference standings at 24-9 and carry a league-best 12-2 road record (.857), with its only losses away from the Hershey Centre coming in early February.

Tavares will be the third-ever Raptors 905 player to make an NBA D-League All-Star roster with Ronald Roberts Jr. and Scott Suggs being the first two players from the Canadian-based club to carry that honour in the team’s inaugural season last year.

Written by Jas Grewal

Photo by Team On Point’s Fazlur Malik of Faz Visions

Edited by Drew Ebanks

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Jerry Stackhouse Named Head Coach of D-League Eastern Conference All-Star Team

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NEW YORK — The Raptors 905 announced Tuesday that first-year head coach Jerry Stackhouse will coach the Eastern Conference D-League all-star team on Saturday, Feb. 18 in New Orleans.

Stackhouse has steered the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors 905 to a franchise-best 22-8 (.733) record including a nine-game winning streak over the course of January, an extraordinary feat as a first-year head coach

The NBA Development League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire will also feature Western Conference Los Angeles D-fenders rookie head coach Coby Karl, whose team carries a league-leading 24-7 record (.774).

Stackhouse and Karl will be joined by their respective coaching staffs for the 11th annual NBA D-League All-Star Game, which will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at 2:30 p.m. ET.

The 905 carry an impressive 11-1 record on the road this season and lead the league in plus minus (+-) at 6.4, edging out the D-Fender’s mark of 6.1,

“He’s an ultra competitor, I think that goes without saying,” said Fred VanVleet to the Toronto Star. “The way he played and just the long, successful career he had as a player translates into him being a coach now.”

Stackhouse will join fellow Toronto Raptors all-stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan in New Orleans for the NBA’s all-star weekend festivities.

Toronto’s Dwane Casey missed out on becoming the first ever Raptors coach to head an Eastern Conference all-star game, due to a stretch where the club lost seven of 10 games, including losses to the Philadelphia 76ers, Charlotte Hornets and twice to the Orlando Magic. Since that tough stretch they have run off two wins vs. the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Boston Celtics’ Brad Stevens was officially announced the head coach for the East team on Friday. He will go against Steve Kerr and the Western Conference All-Star club on Sunday, Feb. 19th.

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue will not coach the all-star game by virtue of an NBA rule prohibiting coaches from taking part in two-consecutive all-star games.

Stackhouse will have some company, as big man Edy Tavares has been named to the Eastern Conference squad as well.

Written by Jas Grewal

Photo by RM Photog

Drew Ebanks

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Lightning storm past Miracles

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February 4, 2017 (LONDON, Ontario) – Kyle Johnson set a franchise record for points in a game and the London Lightning stormed past the Moncton Miracles 146-102 at Budweiser Gardens.

Johnson’s 51 points were the most by a member of the Lightning since Eddie Smith had 40. Johnson’s effort was four points away from Devin Sweetney’s NBLC record of 55.

“We talk about it all the time in practice if we get cooking on all cylinders with our offense, we’re going to score 145 points. We’ve actually used that kind of language and that kind of outlook, we’ve used it many times in our scouting reports,” said Julius.

The whole team was clicking with six players scoring in double digits (Johnson-51, Boyd-19, Cadougan-11, Anderson-16, Herring Jr.-14 and Criswell-10). London’s shooting percentage was a baffling 61.4 per cent (51-of-83) and 53 per cent from three point range (18-of-34).

London has now won seven in a row and own a 12-3 record.

Johnson said tonight’s game was the first time hitting the 50-point plateau.

“I was just staying aggressive and taking advantage of the moment. I just felt it going today. Coach told me at the beginning to relax and just play free. My first couple of shots went in and it was just one of those nights.”

The Lightning will be back in action on Tuesday in St. Catharines when they visit the Niagara River Lions for the first of two back-to-back meetings. Tip-off has been set for 7 p.m.

Courtesy London Lightning

Photo courtesy Stu Switzer

Drew Ebanks

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Saskatoon to Host FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters

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3×3 Canada Quest Regionals & National Finals Announced

Saskatoon, SK – February 1, 2017 – Saskatoon Sports Tourism, in partnership with Canada Basketball, is pleased to announce that Saskatoon will host the only FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters event in North America in 2017. This professional 3×3 basketball event will take place in conjunction with Taste of Saskatchewan on July 14 – 16, 2017 in downtown Saskatoon (4th Avenue & 21st Street). In addition to the 2017 event, Saskatoon will host the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters in 2018 and 2019, securing the rights to the event for three years.

Saskatoon’s own foursome of Michael Linklater, Michael Lieffers, Nolan Brudehl and Steve Sir (Edmonton) will participate in the tournament. The squad finished the 2016 season in 10th place and are each ranked in the top 20 globally. Together, with former member Willie Murdaugh, they have a combined 378 games representing Canada at events around the world, including three consecutive FIBA 3×3 All Stars from 2014-16.

“For the last four years, Team Saskatoon has contributed to put the city on the 3×3 basketball map”, said Alex Sanchez, FIBA 3×3 Managing Director. “It’s an absolute delight for us to witness the support from the local community. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to see one of the World Tour’s most successful teams compete in their home town in front of their fans and supporters.”

“Not only will Saskatoon have the opportunity to showcase our city internationally, but we have the unique opportunity to showcase the skill of Team Saskatoon, one of the best FIBA 3×3 teams in the world,” said Todd Brandt, President & CEO of Tourism Saskatoon. “Saskatoon is incredibly excited to host the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters in our downtown and we can’t wait to see basketball fans from across Canada join us in Saskatoon in July.”

The Saskatoon FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters will be comprised of 12 teams of four players from around the world participating in a two day tournament. In addition to the main event, a slam dunk contest and a shoot-out contest will take place in between games. Live music, cheerleaders, dance teams and other entertainment will be held throughout the weekend. An amateur 3×3 tournament is also being planned to take place on satellite courts alongside the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters.

“We’re excited to have Saskatoon hosting the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters in Canada, showcasing our nation as a world class destination for international basketball events,” said Michele O’Keefe, President & CEO, Canada Basketball. “3×3 basketball has experienced rapid growth and notoriety around the world as a key motor in advancing the game and we look forward to further developing it here at home.”

In the lead up to the 3×3 World Tour Masters, seven regional events will take place across the country as part of Canada Basketball’s 3×3 Canada Quest series. The winners of the elite division in each of the seven regionals, along with an additional wild card team, will qualify for the 3×3 Canada Quest Finals. The top two finals teams will then qualify directly to the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters in Saskatoon.

Regional Events
Calgary, AB – May 12-13
Shawinigan, QB – May 19-21
Edmonton, AB – June 3-4
Hamilton, ON – June 16-17
Richmond, BC – TBD
Halifax, NS – June 24-25
Winnipeg, MB – June 24-25

Finals
West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, AB – July 7 & 8, 2017

With over 250 million players worldwide, 3×3 basketball is amongst the most played recreational sports in the world. Following the successful introduction in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, the ultimate goal is that 3×3 becomes a self-sustained new FIBA discipline and enters the Olympic Games by 2020.

About FIBA 3×3 Basketball
Considered to be the number one urban team sport in the world, 3×3 basketball is increasingly becoming important for the development of basketball. The FIBA 3×3 competition network includes open tournaments, FIBA 3×3 World Tour (for professional teams representing a city) and the FIBA 3×3 World Cup (for national teams). For more information, visit www.fiba3x3.com.  
About Canada Basketball 3×3 Quest
The 2017 3×3 Canada Quest boasts seven regional events across the country, with the winners of the elite division qualifying for the finals in Edmonton, AB. The top two finals teams will qualify directly to the FIBA 3×3 World Tour in Saskatoon. For more information, visit http://www.basketball.ca/en/page/3×3-canada-quest
About Saskatoon Sports Tourism
Saskatoon Sports Tourism was created to guide the attraction, retention and creation of sports tourism activities in Saskatoon. Saskatoon Sports Tourism assists event organizers to locate local suppliers, sports venues, and hotel accommodation, and helps increase local awareness and attendance at events. For more information, visit www.saskatoonsportstourism.com.
Courtesy Canada Basketball
Drew Ebanks
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Raptors 905 Notch Ninth Straight Victory

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MISSISSAUGA, ON — The red-hot Raptors 905 extended their winning streak to nine games with a 97-90 win over the Delaware 87ers Saturday night, improving to 21-7 on the season.

A key a second unit run early in the second quarter helped fuel the 905 offence after the club trailed by as many as seven points in the first 12 minutes of action.

Axel Toupane finished the night with 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the win, while Bruno Caboclo chipped in with 14 points and seven rebounds. Delon Wright registered just over 30 minutes of action, scoring 15 points and adding two blocks in the contest.

“Absolutely, man,” said head coach Jerry Stackhouse when asked if this was the style of play he envisioned for the club coming into the season. “Being a defensive team, we talked about it from day one. We held this team to 40 per cent, we didn’t shoot the ball too well tonight, but we moved it and got the shots that we wanted. We’re playing together and playing unselfishly.”

The Toronto Raptors offseason acquisition, Jared Sullinger, made his NBA D-League debut Saturday night against the 87ers. The 6’9” Sullinger struggled early on in the game, shooting a woeful 2/12 in the first half and missing on four three-point attempts, but the big man was able to find his groove in the second half, ultimately registering a double-double in 28 minutes of action with 18 points (6/19 shooting) and 15 rebounds.

“I have to get the rust off, honestly,” said Sullinger. “It’s an opportunity to play. To be able to be out there and just work on [my] game, honestly. It’s called the development game for a reason, everybody’s developing…I thought it was a perfect opportunity, especially me not playing yesterday [with the Toronto Raptors], I looked at the opportunity and took it.”

“We’ll see, we’ll see,” added Sullinger on a possible return to the 905 in the near future. “It depends on the situation, if I have the opportunity to come back down, or if we have a home game then, yeah, you might see me. It’s all about the opportunity that prevents itself.”

After trailing 22-16 at the end of one, the 905’s bench unit rallied back and sparked a 13-0 run in the second frame, pushing the lead to 14 points at one point for the home team and countering a tough first quarter where the club shot just 23 per cent from the floor.

Despite both teams struggling to find any semblance of offence throughout the game, the 905 were able to capitalize on the 87ers turnover struggles, scoring 15 points off of 18 Delaware miscues.

The 87ers cut the deficit to two, 82-80, at the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter before the home team received some much needed scoring contributions from both Sullinger and Toupane.

“Those guys did a great job for us,” said Stackhouse. “It’s a testament to who we feel like we are…even if we don’t shoot the ball well or get the shots that we want, we’re going to defend at a high level.

Canadian Negus Webster-Chan got the start for coach Stackhouse, finishing the night with five rebounds and two steals in just19 minutes of action. Brady Heslip ended the night with 7 points and 2 rebounds.

For the 87ers, Shawn Long had a team-high 20 points and 18 rebounds in close to 33 minutes of action.

Russ Smith added 17 points and 11 assists in the loss, while teammate Devondrick Walker finished with 20 points, including a trio of three-pointers.

905 Game Notes:

  • PPG: 105.9 (14th)
  • RPG: 44.3 (11th)
  • APG: 21.8 (6th)
  • OPPG: 99.6 (2nd)

Written by Jas Grewal

Photo by Faz Malik

Edited by Drew Ebanks

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