Charles Kissi paving coaching path through Raptors 905, U Sports

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Raptors 905 assistant coach Charles Kissi alongside head coach Jama Mahlalela. Photo by Trung Ho/trungho.ca

(Mississauga, ON) This past summer, the Raptors 905 announced that the organization had named Charles Kissi as an Assistant Coach for the 2018-2019 season.

Over the course of the past five seasons, Kissi transformed Brock University’s men’s basketball team into one of the top programs in the country. The Brock Badgers posted a 21-3 record last season, a constant progression year-over-year from a four-win rebuilding season in Kissi’s first season with the team. The Badgers have since reached the OUA Final Four in the past two seasons and competed in the U Sports Basketball Final 8 Championships in 2018 for the first time in 10 years.

Kissi’s relationship with the Raptors is also well-documented, after being selected from the Raptors Coaches Open House event that started in 2011 to take part in a mentorship program with the team and then-Raptors head coach Dwane Casey for the 2012-2013 season.

Now in the midst of his year off from coaching the Badgers, this past Sunday’s Raptors 905 matchup against Erie BayHawks marked the halfway point of the season. On Point Basketball caught up with Kissi after the game to see how the year has been so far. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

This is game 25, halfway through the season. How have you found this experience so far? What’s been the biggest difference for you?

There’s lots of differences (laughs). It’s just a professional league, it’s a different league with a lot of resources, high-level players, I mean there’s a lot of high-level players in [U Sports] too but it’s just different. These guys are on the verge of playing in the NBA. There’s more pressure from night-to-night, I think. Travel, more games, it’s just more. It’s just more and it’s different, but it’s good in a different way.

Are there any similarities in terms of your approach and your mindset?

It’s basketball, you just try to be as prepared as possible. You try to build relationships like you would in the other [league], you try to drive and push your players to be better every day like you would anywhere. I think there’s a lot of common denominators no matter what level you’re coaching at. And my approach is the same, I think I just continue to be prepared for every game.

I know that teaching and mentorship are a big part of what you value as a coach. Now that you’re working day-to-day with guys like Jordan Loyd and Chris Boucher, who are 25 and 26 years old, and have had unique journeys and road blocks that they’ve been through. Does that help you when you look at the younger guys you’ve coached in terms of how you look to to approach mentoring them?

I think I take the same approach, because our guys had road blocks, and you know, issues and challenges and highs and lows just like these guys. Other than giving me more experience at this craft I think that ultimately you kind of approach it the same, you try to help these young men grow, develop, and achieve goals, and it’s the same idea, just a different place.

You attended the Brock versus Ryerson game at the Meridian Centre back in November, this time not as a coach. What was that experience like for you to see everything that you’ve helped build?

Cool. That’s what it’s about. I always say, my job was to build it and leave it better than I found it. And I think just with the Meridian Centre game, that’s a great example of that. It was so nice to be able to watch it and not coach it, to be honest. It was nice to be able to sit and watch a team play. You know, I was happy for those guys, I’m happy that the university kept it going and that we can continue to make it a strong part of the fabric of the university’s sporting. It was good, it was fun. 

In terms of a U Sports connection, so far we’ve seen a couple of U Sports alumni play in the G League with Kaza Kajami-Keane and Aaron Best. Now you’re a part of the coaching staff, Tamara Tatham (Assistant Coach with the Toronto Varsity Blues women’s basketball) is a mentor coach. Do you see the G League becoming more of a path for future U Sport players and coaches, not just because the talent pool is increasing but also because they know that the 905 is paying attention and potentially looking to get them involved?

I think it’s both ends, I think if you’re a U Sport coach or player, or anything, I think if you just sit back and wait for something to come to you, you’re crazy. I think you got to pursue it a little bit if you want it. I think there’s a lot of good coaches in the league that will probably never get the opportunity because they don’t want it. Or they’re not interested or that’s not for them. But those who are interested should try to pursue it and try to build relationships, and try to continue to work towards this if this is what they’re interested in. It’s the same for players, I think the doors are open, or they’ve been more open than they’ve ever been. And so it’s just a matter of people really working towards trying to make it happen.

Speaking of Canadians and U Sports, yourself and Jama Mahlalela (who have known each other since high school and competed against each other). How fun of a full circle story is that for you both?

A lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun, I get to coach with a good friend. It’s just a great situation, I always say I’m here for him, and I’m pretty fortunate to be in this situation.

My last one for you, it’s fun for me to show you this, I was watching some interviews of you in the past… 

Uh oh. 

This was from the Raptors Coaches Open House (October 2012). If you look at the caption, it says, “Charles Kissi, Amateur Coach.” It’s only been about five years… Is there something small that you take pride in that you think has helped with your success? Something that you don’t talk a lot about?

I work hard. I work really hard. When I was at Brock or wherever, I work really hard. And I think wherever I am, I’m trying to help that place be the best that it can be and it’s never about me. It’s always about bigger pictures, I just keep my mind open and just work.

Trung Ho is a freelance basketball reporter, covering U Sports, Raptors 905 and Canada Basketball. You can follow him on Twitter @trungho.

Saskatoon’s 51st annual Bedford Road Invitational Tournament (BRIT) ready to go Jan 10-12th

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(Saskatoon, SK) Saskatoon has recently been experiencing warmer winter temperatures than usual but the outside temperature will drop as the competition heats up this upcoming weekend (January 10-12, 2019) as the Bedford Road Invitational Tournament (BRIT) basketball tournament returns.

The BRIT basketball experience showcases elite teams from across the country, historical rivalries, and the next generation of Canadian talent. Aside from the talent on the hardwood, the showcasing of Cheer and POM teams, the amazing panel artwork completed by Bedford Road students and the atmosphere created by the local fans and student body, makes this a premier basketball event in Canada.

The Bedford Road Invitational Tournament (BRIT), celebrating its 51st anniversary, began in 1968 with Saskatoon-based high school teams competing for the title. The host Bedford Road Redmen (now Redhawks) claimed the first BRIT title. The following year, the tournament expanded and invited teams from around Saskatchewan. BRIT further expanded the field of teams again in 1972 when Calgary and Winnipeg teams received the sacred invite. In 1988, the New York Gauchos became the first American team to play and win BRIT. Scots College, making the journey in 2004 from Sydney, Australia, became the first team to be invited from outside of North America.

Notable BRIT competitors include former NBA players Eric Mobley and Robert Sacre, FIBA 3X3 All-Star Michael Linklater, Canadian National Team members Thomas and Phillip Scrubb, and University of Saskatchewan Huskies Chan De Ciman, Addison Dewar, Alexander Dewar, Emmanuel Akintunde, and Joseph Barker.

The teams competing in BRIT 51 (January 10th-12th) represent Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. The tournament will be full of highlight plays and clutch moments.

The BRIT 50 champion Handsworth Royals (North Vancouver, BC) will not be returning and, therefore, a new BRIT champion will be crowned.

The teams competing in BRIT 51 are:

Bedford Road Collegiate (Saskatoon, SK)

Bishop McNally High School (Calgary, AB)

Carson Graham Secondary School (North Vancouver, BC)

Centennial Collegiate (Saskatoon, SK)

Collingwood School (West Vancouver, BC)

Garden City High School (Winnipeg, MB)

Harry Ainlay High School (Edmonton, AB)

Holy Cross High School (Saskatoon, SK)

Luther College High School (Regina, SK)

Miller Comprehensive High School (Regina, SK)

River East Collegiate (Winnipeg, MB)

St. Joseph High School (Saskatoon, SK)

To follow BRIT 51 go to:

Facebook: BRIT Bedford Road Invitational Tournament

Instagram: BRITBASKETBALL

Twitter: @TheBRITClassic

Live Games: britbasketball.net

Written by Connor Jay

Malachi Richardson and Jordan Loyd put up stellar performances despite 113-110 Loss

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(Mississauga, On) Toronto Raptors assignment player Malachi Richardson pulled up for a triple at the final buzzer. It was a last minute attempt to send the game into overtime.

The ball rimmed out and the Raptors 905 fell 113-110 to the Westchester Knicks last Friday night at Paramount Fine Foods Centre.

The 905 got off to a slow first half, trailing 66-47 at halftime.

“It was definitely a tale of two halves,” admitted Head Coach Jama Mahlalela. “The second half was much better  — much more fight, much more ability to get in our gap to rebound, make the miss, and I’m really proud of them for that.”

The 905 went into the second half down 19 points, but won the third and fourth quarters, 36-27 and 27-20, respectively.

Malachi Richardson

Richardson had a quiet first half, only scoring five points. Along with two-way player Jordan Loyd, he led the 905’s push at a potential comeback, scoring 24 points in the second half and finished the game with 29. Loyd had a more consistent scoring performance, scoring 20 in the second half and finished the game with 34 points.

“Jordan and Malachi were tremendous today,” said Mahlalela. “Just their ability to score, their ability to put the ball in the hoop is really high level. And that’s why they’re NBA prospects and NBA players.”

“Two guys really fought down the stretch. They put their head down and went to the rim. They drew fouls, got to the free throw line. Jordan got to the line a lot of times – 18 times,” continued Mahlalela, praising his two elite guards.

Even in a losing effort, Richardson and Loyd, as well as their teammates, have an opportunity to showcase their talent.

Recently, Toronto Raptors two-way player Chris Boucher was recalled to the parent team. For the Raptors 905, he is averaging 28.4 points, 11.1 rebounds and an astounding 4.5 blocks per game.

Chris Boucher vs. the Maine Red Claws

Like Boucher, both Richardson and Loyd continue to grind for a spot on the Raptors’ roster. Richardson is averaging 24.2 points per game, shooting 44.4% from the three-point range. In the third quarter against the Knicks, he displayed his offensive weaponry; completed an and-1 off a drive, went 2-for-2 from downtown and demonstrated great decision-making on a beautiful assist. Loyd was recently selected to the G League Showcase First Team and was named Player of the Week, ending December 23rd.

Richardson will be a unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018-19 NBA season. His fourth-year option of his rookie contract was denied on October 31st.

“Every game for me is important. I want to go out there and show what I can do,” said Richardson about what he can control, despite uncertainty surrounding his future.

“My whole plan is to just go out there and play. You know, sometimes, you gotta be selfish with this business. So it’s just been my main focus to go out and play as hard as I can.”

There are still three more months left in the 2018-19 Raptors 905 season. The team will focus on being more consistent throughout all four quarters and hope to continue their winning ways in the New Year.

Written by Teru Ikeda

Photos by Justin Serroul-Jasmins

On Point Presents: Rev On Hoops Episode 1 Part 1

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“REV ON HOOPS” SEASON 1 EPISODE 1 PART 1

On Point Basketball presents “Rev on Hoops”, a one-on-one interview show featuring Host Drew Ebanks and Canadian basketball trailblazer Ro Russell of Grassroots Canada Elite and burgeoning Prep program Crestwood Prep. The show will touch on topics from the high school/prep level all the way to the pros and it will delve into Russell’s long journey in the basketball scene.

In Episode 1 Russell talks about starting the Crestwood Prep Program and how it came to be. He also dishes on the importance of Academics to the Crestwood basketball teams as well as the recent Universal Hoops Prep High School Jamboree. Ro also talks about the Canadian talent doing work in the NCAA as well as NBA movers and shakers like Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors quest for an NBA Championship as well as how they

Produced & hosted by Drew Ebanks, Ro Russell, Universal Hoops

Shot and Edited by Rovonn Russell of Universal Hoops

Jahcobi Neath: The Decision and What it Means for Canadian Prep Hoops

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(Toronto, On) As the clock was ticking down on Jahcobi Neath’s decision to commit to an NCAA college, the first thing that came to mind was the atmosphere surrounding the event as the entire school came to watch.

“It was a very great feeling seeing my classmates and peers in front of me and being a motivation to the kids in this school that are also here from basketball,” Neath said of the support from the crowd.

In front of all the school to see at Crestwood Preparatory College, Neath announced that he would be taking his talents to Wake Forest University as a member of the Demon Deacons.

“It’s a very surreal moment. You dream of doing something like this from the time you start playing the game of basketball,” Neath said. “That’s a goal that I get to cross off my list, committing to a high major basketball program.”

What decided it for him was the setting of a small school with a population of around 5,000 students and given that both Wake Forest and Crestwood are similar in terms of being private schools, the decision was a no-brainer.

“I feel like the ACC speaks a lot for itself; it’s the best conference in college basketball,” Neath said. “It’s pretty hard to say no to a school like that and they’re a private school. I feel like I do well in a private setting. It was the best fit for me overall.”

“When the head coach flew to Toronto to Crestwood just to meet with Jahcobi, that’s when you knew it got serious,” Ro Russell, Crestwood senior boys basketball head coach said. “They made a trip just to go and show him love and educate him; they had a big presentation and talked to him for a few hours about their program in its entirety. And that made a big impression on all of us.”

Jahcobi Neath & Crestwood Prep teammates

Russell has gone through this recruitment process before for many athletes, so, according to him, this is nothing new.

“We’ve been doing this thing since the seventh grade. He listened, worked hard, put in the work and now, this is what you get rewarded with,” Russell said. “I’m super proud of him for being able to get to this point in his career.”

“Coach (Russell) has meant a lot to me. He’s done this in the past with plenty of other kids and I’m just grateful to be another one down the line,” Neath said of his relationship with his head coach. “He’s definitely somebody I feel like I can trust in this whole process. I really put a lot of it into his hands and he helped me a lot throughout to make the right decision.”

RJ Barrett, from Duke University, might be the headlining Canadian in the NCAA currently but guys like Luguentz Dort (Arizona State), Ignas Brazdeikis (Michigan), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Virginia Tech) and Simi Shittu (Vanderbilt) have generated first round interest for the 2019 NBA Draft, showcasing that the Canadian pool of talent is far more than just one player.

“It goes to show that Canadians do have talent and they’re not soft, like some people might think; it’s just good for the culture of Canadian basketball,” Neath said of the change of stereotype. “So seeing those guys at the NCAA level doing their thing is just really good for all Canadians.”

But it lies deeper for Russell, as his program with Crestwood Preparatory College has sparked even interest from athletes south of the border, noting that guys like Luis Pacheco Jr. (New York) is playing basketball at Crestwood.

“We’re bringing in American guys to Canada; forget about Canadian guys to America. We do it as good, if not better than a lot of the programs down south,” Russell said. ‘So that’s the message that we’re sending.”

Wake Forest Demon Deacons commit Jahcobi Neath

Russell started the first prep school program in Canada 15 years ago and his vision of having a coach that is dedicated with the right infrastructure along with the connections is finally coming to fruition at Crestwood as they recently hosted the Universal Hoops Prep Jamboree in which scouts from south of the border attended back in September.

Neath hasn’t decided what program to take but he is currently deciding between business and sport marketing. If there’s one thing that won’t change for him, however, it will be his dedication on and off the court.

“When you’re in college, you’re preparing yourself for the real world to get a job outside of basketball because it’s (the sport is) not going to last forever,” Neath said. “So when that time comes, I feel like being at Wake Forest, with the great program that they have and the alumni that they have, really sets myself up to have a good career otherwise.”

“I expect him to be consistent and continue growing. He has great character; his family really grew him up in the right way,” Russell said. “Great kid, family-first, loyal; he’s full of intangibles. I expect him not to change and keep being the same great kid from when I’ve had him in the seventh grade.”

Neath is another example that Canadian ballers can stay in Canada and still fulfill their dreams of an NCAA Division I basketball scholarship.

Neath is currently averaging 26.6 ppg and 6.2 apg for the Lions; he is ranked second in the National Preparatory Association (NPA) in both of those categories. The six-foot-four point guard looks to lead Crestwood, who is currently ranked first in the Central Division with a 7-2 record, to an NPA title and end his high school career off in style. 

Written by Kajan Thiruthanikasalam

Photos: Kajan Thiruthanikasalam

 

 

Montreal to become new FIBA 3×3 World Tour destination in 2019

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MONTREAL (FIBA 3×3 World Tour 2019) – The Canadian city of Montreal will play host to a FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters on September 7-8, 2019.

FIBA and TriCon Events signed a three-year contract, which will bring the number one event of the 3×3 professional season to the largest city in the Québec Province until 2021.

“Canada has become a hotbed for 3×3 and we are thrilled about the city of Montreal’s decision to host a FIBA 3×3 World Tour in 2019,” FIBA 3×3 Managing Director Alex Sanchez said.

Montreal becomes the third Canadian city to host a FIBA 3×3 professional event, though the first one in Québec. A FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters has been held in Saskatoon since 2017 and Edmonton hosted a 3×3 Challenger for the first time this year. The Canadian men’s national team finished 6th at the FIBA 3×3 World Cup 2018.

“It is just fitting that our 3×3 stars visit the home of the 1976 Summer Olympics, just 1 year before the game’s Olympic debut in Tokyo,” Sanchez added.

“More Olympic host cities such as Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Mexico have staged the FIBA 3×3 World Tour in previous years. Montreal and 3×3 have so much in common: dynamic, urban and multicultural. We are looking forward to an exciting event and a genuine urban culture party in this iconic city next year!”

The FIBA 3×3 World Tour Montreal Masters will be organized by private promoter TriCon Events, who has successfully organized the ITU World Triathlon Montreal for the last 3 years.

“With this partnership, TriCon Events continues to build and deliver exciting international sports events to Canada since 2016, with no better backdrop than the city of Montreal. The whole team is eager to host some of the best basketball players in the world, and have them experience Montreal hospitality for the next years,” TriCon Events President Patrice Brunet said.

More information about the expanded FIBA 3×3 World Tour – including several brand new locations – will be announced shortly.

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ABOUT FIBA 3×3
Exciting, urban and innovative, 3×3 is inspired by several forms of streetball played worldwide and is considered the world’s number one urban team sport. Steered by FIBA, games see two teams of three players face off on a basketball half-court.

It was played successfully for the first time in international competition at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and since then has benefited from the launch of a yearly city-based FIBA 3×3 World Tour and national-team FIBA 3×3 World & Continental Cups. On June 9, 2017, 3×3 was added to the Olympic Program, starting from the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Nike is FIBA 3×3’s Founding Partner and Tissot FIBA 3×3’s Official Timekeeper.

FIBA 3×3 events are played on Sport Court’s floors with Schelde backstops, protected by MagicSky’s tents and benefit from Wilson’s innovative and specially-made ball for 3×3.

For further information about 3×3, visit fiba3x3.basketball, FIBA 3×3 accounts on FacebookInstagramSina WeiboTencentTwitter, Youku and YouTube or contact 3×3@fiba.com.

ABOUT TRICON EVENTS
Founded in 2016, TriCon Events is a sports events management company that focuses on acquiring rights from Olympic sport international federations that have valuable event properties that they wish to stage in Canada, and more particularly in the Montreal area.

The company ensures that each project either meets or exceeds the International Federation’s operational requirements through the retention of the right management and technical team members.

TriCon Events also manages and deploys all intellectual property rights related to marketing activations and visibility, as well as domestic broadcast rights, in line with sponsor and other stakeholder expectations.

Article & photo Courtesy FIBA 3×3

NBA Expands Second Annual Jr. NBA Global Championship with Integration of NBA Teams

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– Global Youth Basketball Competition to Return to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Aug. 6-11, 2019 –

– Club Teams From All 10 Provinces To Compete in Regional Tournaments Across the Country, In Partnership With Canada Basketball

TORONTO, Dec. 18, 2018 – The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced details of the second annual Jr. NBA Global Championship, a youth basketball tournament for the top 13- and 14-year-old boys and girls teams from around the world that will be held Aug. 6-11 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla.  Thirty-two teams will participate in a week of on-court competition and off-court programming centered on the Jr. NBA’s core values of teamwork, respect, determination and community.

Hosted in partnership with Canada Basketball, provincial cup champions from all 10 provinces will compete in regional tournaments across the country starting in April 2019.  The winning girls and boys teams from each provincial cup will advance to represent Western Canada, the Prairies, Ontario, Eastern Canada, and the Atlantic Provinces at the Jr. NBA Global Championship Canada Regional Finals in Ontario in June 2019.

The Jr. NBA Global Championship Canada Regional Finals will feature single elimination games to determine the boys and girls teams that will represent Canada in Orlando. In the inaugural Jr. NBA Global Championship, the Welland Warriors (girls) advanced to the international semifinals, and the Brampton Breakdown (boys) advanced to the international finals. Locations and dates for regional tournaments will be announced at a later date.

Qualifying competition across Canada will tip off in January 2019 and run through June 2019.  In the U.S., the NBA will introduce more than 20 new local tournaments – 14 of which will be hosted by NBA teams in their respective markets.

The winning boys and girls teams from each of the eight U.S. regional tournaments (Central, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southeast and West) and the boys and girls teams representing the eight international regions (Africa, Asia Pacific, Canada, China, Europe & Middle East, India, Latin America and Mexico) will receive all-expenses-paid trips to compete in the culminating event in Orlando. U.S. teams will have the opportunity to register online for a chance to compete in their respective regional tournament.

The Jr. NBA Global Championship will feature boys and girls divisions, separated into U.S. and international brackets that begin with round-robin play and continue with single-elimination competition.  The winners of the U.S. and international brackets will play in the global championship games on Aug. 11.  International media partners will be announced at a later date.

More than 300 boys and girls from 35 countries participated in the inaugural Jr. NBA Global Championship in August 2018.  During the weeklong event, all 32 teams participated in off-court activities including life skills sessions, Disney park visits, a community service project, and educational meetings with current and former NBA and WNBA players and coaches. The Central girls (Kansas City, Mo.) defeated the Europe girls team 68-38, while the Central boys (Overland Park, Kan.) defeated the Africa & Middle East boys team 60-50 in the global championship games.

More information about the Jr. NBA Global Championship and dates for the Canadian regional tournaments can be found at jrnbagc.nba.com. Registration for teams to compete in the Jr. NBA Global Championship is not yet open but those that sign up online will be notified as soon as registration information is available.

QUOTES:

NBA President, Social Responsibility & Player Programs Kathy Behrens:

“We are looking forward to building on the success of the inaugural Jr. NBA Global Championship to host another best-in-class event.  The expanded programming and new strategic partnerships will allow more youth players from around the world to participate in this year’s event and have the opportunity to showcase their talents on a global stage.”

NBA Canada Vice President & Managing Director Dan MacKenzie: 

“Following a successful first year of the Jr. NBA Global Championship, we’re thrilled to offer Canadian girls and boys with even more opportunities to compete and develop their skills on and off the court. Together with Canada Basketball we’re proud to strengthen our investment in grassroots development, benefitting youth across the country.”

Canada Basketball President & CEO Glen Grunwald:

“Canada Basketball is excited to once again partner with the NBA on the Jr. NBA Global Championship Canada Regional Finals. Basketball continues to grow in our country and club-based national championships are an important component for the development of youth basketball in Canada.”

Three-time NBA Champion and Jr. NBA Global Championship Ambassador Dwyane Wade:

“I attended last year’s Jr. NBA Global Championship and it was incredible to witness the talent and passion displayed by boys and girls from around the world.  This event offers a unique opportunity for young players to learn about different cultures while bonding through their love of the game.”

WNBA Champion and Jr. NBA Global Championship Ambassador Candace Parker:

“I’m thrilled to return as an ambassador for the Jr. NBA Global Championship, which is an amazing showcase and development opportunity for talented young players. I’m proud to support a program that will help advance the growth of girls basketball at all levels.”

About the Jr. NBA in Canada

The Jr. NBA Youth Basketball (JNYB) program is the league’s youth basketball participation program in Canada that provides a fun environment for kids ages 5-12 to learn the fundamentals and values of the game. The JNYB is focused on helping grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents. The inaugural Jr. NBA Global Championship, a first-of-its kind youth basketball tournament for top 13- and 14-year-old boys and girls teams from around the world, took place in August 2018. Through a network of affiliated youth basketball organizations and programs, the Jr. NBA program has reached more than five million youth ages 5-14 in the U.S. and Canada since launching its expanded efforts in October 2015. For more information and to register for the Jr. NBA, visit www.JrNBA.ca.

About the NBA

The NBA is a global sports and media business built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the NBA G League and the NBA 2K League. The NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 100,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents. NBA rosters at the start of the 2018-19 season featured 108 international players from 42 countries and territories. NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA League Pass. The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 1.5 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms. Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.

About Canada Basketball

Canada Basketball is the National Sporting Organization for the sport of Basketball in Canada. Canada Basketball is respected worldwide and is recognized by the International Amateur Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Government of Canada as the sole governing body of the sport of amateur basketball in Canada. Canada Basketball, a not-for-profit organization, represents all basketball interests, provides leadership, coordination and direction in all areas of the sport of basketball.

Courtesy Canada Basketball

Canada sweeps Brazil, qualifies for 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup

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It didn’t take much time for Canada’s roster to get in sync over two games, as they defeated Brazil 94-67 on Monday night to secure a trip to China in 2019, qualifying for the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Kyle Wiltjer led Canada with 25 points and seven rebounds, and Phil Scrubb scored 15 points along with six assists. Three other players reached double-digit scoring for Canada, including Thomas Scrubb (14), Kyle Landry (10) and Duane Notice (10).

Marquinhos Sousa had 17 points and four rebounds for Brazil, while Vitor Benite added 16 points.

The previous matchup between the two teams took place on September 13th in Laval, Quebec, which saw a very different Canada roster come out on top with an 85-77 victory – a lineup that saw Kelly Olynyk lead the team with 20 points and 19 rebounds. With a need to adjust, Canada’s game plan saw the team come out looking to establish an early three-point game, with Wiltjer making two of five 3-pointers alone in the first four minutes of the game.

Anderson Varejao and Augusto Lima’s size could have presented issues for Canada, but Landry’s early substitution in the quarter provided a needed presence in the paint, and he eventually finished the game with five offensive rebounds and scored all four of his field goals within 10-feet of the basket. Team Canada Head Coach Roy Rana also looked to match lineups with Brazil, playing 11 players in the first 10 minutes as Canada ended the first quarter trailing 20-18.

Canada came out in the second quarter on a 15-2 run, and a Joel Anthony layup helped grow the team’s lead to double digits for the first time in the game with 6:14 left in the period. A couple of baskets and trips to the free throw line for Brazil’s Benite and Scott Machado helped narrow the Canadian lead back to 37-30, but on Canada’s last possession of the quarter, Scrubb was able to convert on an open drive coming out of a timeout giving Canada a 45-34 lead heading into halftime.

The three ball continued to fall for Canada, as they opened the second half with five 3-pointers in the third quarter. Phil Scrubb was the aggressor in the period, scoring four of five field goal attempts, including two 3-pointers. The Scrubb brothers fed off of each other on two possessions, with Thomas Scrubb finding his brother for a 3-pointer, and then Phil Scrubb would later connect with Thomas Scrubb on a long-distance shot of his own to give Canada a 67-48 lead with 2:34 remaining in the quarter.

Canada’s coaching staff figured out a way to utilize all of their players in the right situations in this game, and Brazil had a difficult time containing Canada’s drives, perimeter shooting and transition offence for much of the night. Sousa would finally get going in the final 10 minutes of the game, scoring 10 of his 17 points in the quarter, but the chance for any major Brazil comeback was already far off in the distance.

On Sunday night, seven teams qualified for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, including U.S.A., Venezuela and Argentina. Canada became the fourth out of seven teams to qualify in the Americas with tonight’s victory. They will return for the sixth and final window of play in February, as they head back home for two games in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Phil Scrubb (15pts for Canada)

Notes:

  • Kyle Wiltjer is rolling: Wiltjer looked even more comfortable tonight than the last game and showed great versatility as an offensive weapon. He looked very comfortable maneuvering around the 3-point line off of dribbles to find his shot, and when his 3’s stopped falling he was able to take it into the block on one play for a hook shot, and then down on the block for a fadeaway jumper on another. Wiltjer finished the game with 25 points on 9/17 shooting, along with seven rebounds and two steals. It’s too early to predict who will or will not be available next August/September for the World Cup, but Wiltjer has made a convincing case for himself to be included.
  • Landry and Notice has bigger impact: Kyle Landry and Duane Notice had quiet games on Friday versus Venezuela, but looked much more in rhythm in tonight’s game. Landry saw a bump in minutes tonight from 3:28 to 17:42, as he provided Canada with defence and scoring in the paint against Brazil’s size. Meanwhile Notice’s driving ability made it hard for the defence to contain, especially with the shooting he was surrounded with. Landry and Notice finished with 10 points each.
  • Lineup fluidity: This year’s theme in basketball circles seems to be fluidity, and Canada demonstrated that tonight. The coaching staff went with 11 players in the first quarter alone, and starting lineups even fluctuated from the first half to the second (Thomas Scrubb was subbed in for Heslip immediately in the opening seconds of the game, and Notice replaced Best to start the second half). And in a game where six different players on the Canadian team recorded a 3-point field goal, Heslip wasn’t one of them. In fact, the Canadian sharp shooter only attempted three field goals tonight after scoring four of 12 against Venezuela.
  • Another note on Conor Morgan: Conor Morgan is rightfully getting more attention after his previous game, and he saw the floor early in the first quarter tonight as one of the first substitutions. He knocked down a corner three and looked comfortable taking the shot. The six foot nine forward has been a significant contributor to his Divina Seguros Joventut club in Spain this season, and hopefully we get to see more of him in the sixth and final window in February.

Written by Trung Ho

Photo Courtesy of FIBA Basketball WC

DVD Hangtime: 50 Years in Toronto Basketball History

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                        HANG TIME: 50 YEARS IN TORONTO BASKETBALL HISTORY                           DVD ORDER FORM (2-DVD Set, Total time 3hrs)

Hang Time: 50 Years of Toronto Basketball is a three-hour digital presentation chronicling the rich history of Toronto basketball and the phenomena of a metropolis growing from grassroots to pro hoops. A spin-off from veteran basketball play-by-play commentator Dana McKiel’s self-published bestseller released in 2001, Hang Time reveals thrilling championships, amazing dunks, spectacular triumphs and the legends behind the rise of basketball to the most popular sport in Toronto. Length approx. 3hrs (1 ½ hrs per DVD).

Executive Producer: Dana McKiel

Event Producer: Lance Winn

Event Technical Producer: Brendan Peltier

Event Producer/Lead Editor: Neil Folkard

DVD Produced by Drew Ebanks for On Point Basketball Inc. Filmed and edited by Lance Winn & The Paper Crane & Co./Marc Cusi.

Sponsor Credits: Newport Wealth Management, Barrick Gold, Sterling Dental, Toronto Eyecare, On Point Basketball.

Special thanks to Dana McKiel. Hangtime Copyright 2001 by Dana Mckiel. All Rights Reserved.

DVD Order Form Link (Google Docs): Click HERE

We will contact you upon order submission to confirm payment method and delivery.

Thanks for your support!

 

Drew Ebanks

Canada suffers 84-76 loss to Venezuela as rivalry intensifies

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Photo by Trung Ho.

Canada’s basketball rivalry with Venezuela remains very much alive.

Despite a significant roster change for Canada since a semi-final loss to Venezuela in the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship, a loss that cost them an Olympic appearance, Friday night’s matchup in Caracas picked up right where the two nations left off as both teams continued their push to qualify for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Continuity in lineups and a raucous home crowd proved to play in Venezuela’s favour, as Canada would go on to fall 84-76 in its first of two Americas Qualifiers Window 5 games.

Kyle Wiltjer led Canada with 21 points and four 3-pointers, while Phil Scrubb had 16 points and four assists. Brady Heslip also added 14 points, including three 3-pointers.

Jose Vargas scored 15 points for Venezuela and Gregory Echenique notched a double-double recording 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Despite a slow pace to start the game, three pointers from Heslip, Wiltjer and Scrubb helped uplift Canada’s offence in the early stages of the quarter and provided a counterpunch to Venezuela’s efficient post and mid-range scoring. Both teams took time to feel out their offences, as the first quarter ended in a 17-17 tie.

Joel Anthony was relied upon to provide an inside presence for Canada, particularly with rebounding and rim protection, and the 36 year-old Center would go on to notch eight points, six rebounds and a blocked shot by the end of the half.

Despite an increase in on-ball defensive pressure from Venezuela behind a crowd that picked up energy in the second quarter, Canada managed to continue keeping the game at bay with their pace and advantage in three point shooting. A Wiltjer hook shot coming out of a timeout tied the game at 37-37 to end the period, putting Canada in an ideal position heading into halftime on the road.

The second half opened with a couple of uncharacteristic possessions, as Thomas Scrubb missed an open fast break lay-up, which was then followed by an airballed 3-point attempt by Aaron Best. Unforced turnovers and missed opportunities began to add up for Canada, allowing Venezuela to slowly build some distance in the third quarter as they headed into the fourth quarter with a four-point lead.

Venezuela increased their lead to six points on a couple of possessions, but a Heslip 3-pointer off of an inbounds play with 5:58 left in the game cut the lead to 68-65. A poor sequence by Canada then allowed four straight points, growing Venezuela’s lead back 72-65 and forcing head coach Roy Rana to call a timeout.

After missing five 3-point attempts in a row, Heissler Guillent would convert on his sixth attempt, giving Venezuela their then-largest lead of the game at 77-69 as the game neared the 2-minute remaining mark.

Canada still had a chance to make a final run, but a routine pass from Scrubb off of an inbounds play was fumbled by Wiltjer, leading to a Vargas floater on the other end to help Venezuela go on to secure the win, along with the top spot in Group F standings.

Canada will resume play in Window 5 on Monday as they face Brazil in Sao Paulo, while a rematch with Venezuela will take place on February 24th in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. That will be Canada’s final game of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers.

Notes:

  • Kyle Wiltjer a focal point: This was Kyle Wiltjer’s first game with Canada in this qualifying process, and without the benefit of some form of training camp prior to this game, it wasn’t entirely clear from what his role would be. But the former Gonzaga standout had an immediate impact as a starter, and his usage was significant. Wiltjer scored 21 points off of 18 shots, which is good for 50% more attempts than the team’s past leaders on offence, Scrubb and Heslip. It looked like Wiltjer had the green light to take his defenders one-on-one on various plays, and he looked increasingly comfortable being the number one option as the game progressed.

 

  • Phil Scrubb on the World Cup roster?: Phil Scrubb’s play in Friday’s loss was impressive, and he showed signs that he should be in the conversation for making the World Cup roster. Scrubb looked very comfortable under pressure, and was able to make aggressive drives to the basket on a number of plays when the team needed scoring early in the game. He was a perfect three of three from long-range, and on one play was able to create space in transition for a pull-up 3-pointer.

 

  • Testing lineups on-the-go: In a game that was close from the opening minute to the final buzzer, Rana played all 12 players at one point in the game or another – an indication that the fluctuation in the roster was something the coaching staff was still trying to get a feel for. Last-minute addition Kadre Gray saw minutes at the end of the first half, while Conor Morgan was inserted into the game late in the third quarter. With three games remaining in the Americas Qualifiers, it’s not the most ideal time to try and get a feel for different lineups, but that’s the position the team is in. The offence did look much more fluid in the second half, a good sign that the chemistry is able to quickly improve as they head into Monday’s game against Brazil.

 

  • Speaking of Conor Morgan…: The coaching staff may have had a pleasant surprise with what Morgan is able to bring to the team. As mentioned, the former U.B.C. Thunderbird forward didn’t enter the game until late in the third quarter, but after providing quality minutes with Anthony taking a breather on the bench, Morgan found himself back on the floor in the fourth quarter in a lineup that included Phil and Thomas Scrubb, Heslip and Anthony, as Canada looked to make a final run in the game. Morgan looked comfortable in the flow of the offence, was able to get open for a dunk on one play off of a Phil Scrubb pass, and he was also able to get to the line. His length and activity on defence forced an important turnover at the 6:27 in the fourth quarter. Morgan’s total minute-count was only 07:13, but with his ability to provide some reliability in play behind Anthony, he may see a more significant role moving forward

Written & Photo by Trung Ho

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