On Point Tournament of Champions July 18th-21st



Dates: Thursday July 18th – Sunday July 21st, 2019

Location: Hoopdome


Price: Earlybird Price – $475.00, until May 24th

After May 24th Price – $525.00


Registration Deadline: Friday, June 14, 2019

Age Groups: (Boys & Girls)  U10, U11, U12, U13, U14, U15, U16, U17, (Open Men & Women)

3 Games Guaranteed / Qualified Officials / Media Exposure / Awards/Prizes/Swag/Special guests

For more information or to register for the tournament please email jason.coach@gmail.com, or call Jason at (647) 647-210-2120

For registration link click HERE

On Point Basketball

For Niagara River Lions’ Filip Vujadinovic, adversity fuels a basketball career

Photo by Trung Ho/trungho.ca

Filip Vujadinovic was the first overall draft pick in the USports round of the CEBL Entry Draft, and recently became the first player in Ryerson’s history to win five national medals, but two years ago Vujadinovic’s basketball career nearly came to a halt.

“Don’t miss this one!” Filip Vujadinovic shouted into a gym during a late Friday afternoon practice in Thorold, Ontario, as a team shooting drill for the Niagara River Lions was one made-shot away from wrapping up.

Vujadinovic, who is all but officially the team’s rookie, had recently topped off a historic career with the Ryerson Rams after winning a national bronze medal in early March. Weeks later on March 23rd, the six-foot-seven forward became the first player to be selected in the USports round in the inaugural CEBL Entry Draft by the River Lions.

“I had a very specific idea of the type of players I want to bring in, with all the guys, not just Fil,” River Lions head coach and general manager Victor Raso said. “I was looking for guys who have either exhibit winning qualities, or came from winning programs, or who’ve won at the professional level.”

For Vujadinovic, getting selected by the River Lions represented a turning point in his basketball career, one that ushered him into a new chapter.

“To know that [Raso] wanted me to be the first overall pick out of the USports section of the draft,” Vujadinovic said, “it was just an honour because of all the hard work and sacrifice I’ve put into basketball. To be able to be recognized finally by someone other than my parents, my friends, or myself, was big for me.”

Vujadinovic’s relationship with Raso dates back to the Burlington native’s high school career, when Raso was on the coaching staff of Blessed Sacrament, a Rep basketball team that Vujadinovic competed for.

The two then played against each other during Vujadinovic’s first year at Ryerson while Raso was a senior with the Carleton Ravens, and later on as Raso joined the Ravens’ coaching staff he would go on to scout against Vujadinovic as well.

“So when it came to that time,” Raso said, “I was like, ok well, Fil’s 6’7, he’s athletic, he’s strong, plus I know the characteristics that he has. So this is a great opportunity for him to get his foot in the door in the professional world, and it just made sense.”

When the Rams defeated Dalhousie on March 10th to win the bronze medal, Vujadinovic became only the 16th player in USports/CIS history to win five national medals – two silver medals and three bronze medals.

According to usportshoops.ca, only two other universities, Carleton and Victoria, have had players who carry this distinction, and this was the first in Ryerson’s history. But the nature of making history is that it’s hardly ever an easy ride, and Vujadinovic and the Rams almost never even made it together to this point.

After an up-and-down rookie and sophomore season for Vujadinovic, he and Ryerson’s coach Roy Rana had a persistent struggle on what contributions the then-third year forward would have with the team.

During Ryerson’s senior night this past February, Rana shared their story in a pregame ceremonial speech. “We were in Ottawa and I was going to cut him,” Rana said. “It was in a playoff game two years ago and it was enough, I was like, you know what – and I’m sure he wanted to cut me, if he could cut me he would have cut me too. That’s where we were at.”

The team’s leaders, Juwon Grannum, Ammanuel Diressa, and Adika Peter-McNeilly, stuck with Vujadinovic and saved him from that fate, and he later responded on the national stage with a team-best 16 points, five rebounds, and two steals in a 59-58 semi-final win over Dalhousie.

“He won us a game at Dalhousie that put us in a national championship game just with his sheer toughness and effort,” Rana recalled.

But that didn’t necessarily make the differences between the player and coach go away. “He came back,” Rana added, “and I said, ‘you know what, Fil, I don’t know if this is right for you. I don’t know if you should stay.’ And he said, ‘no, I want to stay.’” The two then agreed they would come back in the fall and figure everything out.

If you get to ask Vujadinovic a bit more about his basketball journey, you’ll learn that he’s not a stranger to adversity, and it’s moments like these that become ingrained in his demeanor and how he pushes himself further.

In his high school playing days, Vujadinovic was cut from the Burlington section of Team Ontario, where, in Vujadinovic’s words, “there were players that don’t even play basketball anymore.” And later on he tore his meniscus heading into a Team Canada training camp after stepping off of a curb the wrong way while walking to his job, causing him to miss his senior season (“missing out that big season was heartbreaking for me.”).

After that post-season run with the Rams, Vujadinovic’s perspective changed. Before where he had seen his differences with Rana as discouraging, he approached that summer as an opportunity to show his coach that he was able to take the next step as a basketball player and a human being.

“So I was in the gym, you know, in the lab, grinding, working hard, working on my mind, not only my physical attributes, and I came back a different player,” Vujadinovic recalled, “and he told me from the first couple practices that this isn’t the same Fil he knows.”

Rana said, “He went away for the summer, and he worked, and worked, and worked, and he came back in September, completely different person…just matured tremendously.”

What followed after that summer were two more national medals, a silver and a bronze, and for Vujadinovic, the five years of success he’s had in USports represents more than just himself. “I think it represents our culture with our team, as Ryerson,” Vujadinovic said. With so many changes in assistant coaches and players (injuries, players quitting, seniors who graduate), Vujadinovic explained, being able to make the tournament for five years and place in the top three every year is a testament to the team’s resiliency.

When I asked Raso if there are any moments that has stuck out to him about Vujadinovic from a mental toughness aspect, the River Lions head coach pointed out to another semi-final game that involved Vujadinovic playing on a national stage.

“This year in the national championship in the fourth quarter,” Raso told me. “It was at a semi-final game, I just remember watching the game and thinking like, holy crap, Fil is playing insanely hard. And it was like, I was remembering to when I took him to Pittsburgh for a tournament when he was in his fifth year of high school, and it was like, that kid went from that, to the guy I just saw. It was really impressive.”

The Niagara River Lions open their inaugural season in the CEBL on May 9th against the Saskatchewan Rattlers, with its first home game taking place on May 16th against the Edmonton Stingers at the Meridian Centre.

Trung Ho is a freelance reporter covering USports and Canadian basketball. You can follow him on Twitter

CEBL ready for takeoff


History is about to unfold this week with the official start of the inaugural season of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL). The CEBL is a league run by Canadians for Canadians.

The CEBL consists of six franchises from across Canada including Hamilton, Niagara, Guelph, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Fraser Valley (BC). 

Opening night is set to tip-off on Thursday May 9 at Sasktel Place with the Saskatchewan Rattlers taking on the Niagara River Lions at 9pm ET followed by the Fraser Valley Bandits vs. Guelph Nighthawks at the Abbotsford Centre at 10pm ET.

The vast majority of the players in the CEBL are Canadian with a handful of internationally born players filling out the rosters. Many of the players in the CEBL played their college careers at some big time NCAA programs including the likes of Myck Kabongo (Texas), Jevohn Shepherd (Michigan), MiKyle McIntosh (Oregon), Malcolm Duvivier (Oregon State and Akron) and Kassius Robertson (Missouri). The league also consists of a large contingent of players from Canadian universities.

The CEBL provides an opportunity for many top Canadians who are playing in the NBA G-League or on teams across Europe to come home during the summer while still playing professionally. It also means those players can continue to earn money over the summer months while continuing to develop their game at the same time.  

This past season, there were over 150 Canadians playing basketball in the NCAA but only a small handful of those players will have a shot at playing in the NBA. The CEBL has now become a viable option for a large group of talented players to continue their careers back home in Canada once their college days are over. 

The Canadian men`s national team is currently ranked No. 23 in the world by FIBA and having a domestic league will be another step in the right direction that could allow Canada to continue to climb higher in those rankings and become a legitimate contender for medals on the international stage. 

All games will be broadcast live for free on CEBL TV on www.cebl.ca as well as various games on local sports radio stations across Canada.

Tickets for all games are reasonably priced ranging from $20 to $60 per ticket. 

The game of basketball has grown exponentially across Canada over the past decade so the timing of the CEBL should allow the league the opportunity for success and growth in the coming years. 

Chris McKee is a broadcaster and writer covering all levels of Basketball including the CEBL as play-by-play commentator, Newstalk 1010 am, the OSBA and the Biosteel All-Canadian Game. Catch Chris on Twitter

Team Canada to Face Nigeria in Winnipeg on the road to the World Cup


WINNIPEG, MB (April 29, 2019) – Canada Basketball announced Monday that the Senior Men’s National Team will face Nigeria at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg on Friday, August 9 at 7 p.m. CT, on the road to the World Cup.

This game will be an important matchup for both teams as they prepare for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China (August 31-September 15, 2019).

Presale tickets will be available on Tuesday, April 30 at 10 a.m. CT with general public on-sale beginning on Friday, May 3, at 10 a.m. CT. Tickets start as low as $19.95 plus fees and are available at ticketmaster.ca.

It has been 20 years since Winnipeg has hosted an international competition featuring the Senior Men’s National Team, and Canada Basketball is proud to partner with True North Sports + Entertainment to bring the team back to the city. Team Canada returns to Winnipeg for the first time since a fifth-place finish at the 1999 Pan American Games.

Canada’s roster will feature some of the country’s biggest and brightest stars, including athletes playing professionally in the NBA, NBA G League and several of the top professional leagues overseas.

Bringing Team Canada to Manitoba is an important strategic investment for Canada Basketball, as the organization continues to work to grow the game and inspire youth across the country. Since the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers began in November 2017, the Senior Men’s National Team will have played games in six different provinces from coast to coast.

In addition to the August 9 game, Canada Basketball, in partnership with Basketball Manitoba, will also host clinics for both players and coaches. Details regarding both will be announced at a later date.

Canada is heading back to the World Cup for the first time since the 2010 FIBA World Championship after finishing the FIBA Basketball World Cup Americas Qualifiers with a 10-2 record to lead Group F. One of the fastest rising basketball nations in the world, Canada’s depth was on display during the Americas Qualifiers as 36 different players represented their country over the course of the six competition windows to qualify for the World Cup.

Nigeria qualified for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 after similarly finishing first in Group F with 10-2 in the FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers. D’Tigers will be making their third appearance at the World Cup and first since the 2006 FIBA World Championship. Nigeria has appeared in each of the past two Olympic Games and won the country’s first gold medal at AfroBasket 2015.

Canada last faced Nigeria in preliminary round play at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China (August 31-September 15, 2019) will be the biggest edition of FIBA’s flagship event with a record 32 participating teams playing 92 games over 16 days.

Canada is in Group H along with Senegal, Lithuania and Australia for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.

For the first time, the FIBA Basketball World Cup will qualify seven teams directly for the following year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Canada must finish either first or second in the Americas zone to earn a direct berth.

For additional information on the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019, visit http://www.fiba.basketball/basketballworldcup/2019


“This is going to be an exciting game against a talented and athletic Nigerian national team. Only a few weeks away from the start of the FIBA World Cup, our game in Winnipeg will be very important for our team’s preparation. I expect we’ll have Canada’s most talented team ever, with most of our NBA players proudly representing their country.” – Glen Grunwald, President & CEO, Canada Basketball

“True North is excited to bring Canada’s best basketball players to Winnipeg and to Bell MTS Place for a premier sporting event this summer. Team Canada vs. Team Nigeria is going to be a world-class athletic event that will allow Winnipeg fans to show their support for Team Canada and be a part of their journey as they compete to get to the World Cup.” – Kevin Donnelly, Senior Vice President, Venues & Entertainment, True North Sports + Entertainment

“The Manitoba basketball community is thrilled to host Team Canada this summer here in Winnipeg as part of their final preparations heading into the World Cup. Opportunities to host a game like this don’t occur often and I know there will be a great outpouring of support from the community.”– Ross Wedlake, President, Basketball Manitoba

Jr. NBA Global Championship Qualifying Tournament Returns to Canada for Second Year


TORONTO, ON (May 3, 2019) – The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Canada Basketball today announced the dates and locations of Canadian qualifying tournaments for the second Jr. NBA Global Championship.  Provincial club teams made up of 13- and 14-year-old boys and girls will compete in regional qualifying tournaments for the chance to represent Canada at the second annual global youth tournament, which will be held Aug. 6-11 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla.  

The Jr. NBA Global Championship Canada Regional tipped off with provincial games to determine the nine winning teams that will advance to play a single elimination game against a neighboring province for a chance to advance to the Jr. NBA Global Championship Canada Regional Finals in June.  The competitions are as follows: 

Canada Atlantic Regional: NL vs. NS vs. PEI – May 4, 2019 – Halifax, NS

Canada East Regional*: New Brunswick vs. Quebec – May 11, 2019 – Montreal, QC

Canada West Regional: Alberta vs. British Columbia – June 1, 2019 – Langley, BC

Canada Prairies Regional: Manitoba vs. Saskatchewan – June 1, 2019 – Winnipeg, MB

 * Host region, Ontario, receives a bye

Canadian Boys Champions Brampton Breakdown

The four winning teams and Ontario will compete at the Jr. NBA Global Championship Canada Regional Finals at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre from June 13-16, which will see the winning teams represent Canada in Orlando against top boys and girls teams from around the world. 

Last year, Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray made a surprise appearance at the first Jr. NBA Global Championship Canada Regional Finals in St. Catharines, meeting with players and coaches and sharing inspiring stories from his journey from Waterloo to the NBA. 

“Enthusiasm for the Jr. NBA Global Championship in Canada continues to grow, as thousands of boys and girls will compete again this spring for the chance to represent Canada on the global stage in Orlando,” said Dan MacKenzie, Managing Director, NBA Canada.  “The NBA and Canada Basketball are proud to continue providing best-in-class basketball development opportunities to youth across the country.”  

“Canada Basketball is excited to once again partner with the NBA as Canada’s Jr. NBA Global Championship qualifying tournaments return this summer,” said Glen Grunwald, President & CEO, Canada Basketball.  “The Jr. NBA Global Championship gives Canada’s top boys and girls U14 youth basketball teams a unique opportunity to compete on the international stage while developing core character skills that will last a lifetime.”

Gatorade will once again support the Jr. NBA Global Championship in Canada, expanding their programming across the country.  At regional tournaments, the NBA will recognize the players who best exemplify the Jr. NBA’s core values – Teamwork, Respect, Determination and Community.  In addition to presenting the Determination Award, Gatorade will help to fuel athletes with sideline product and highlight elite Canadian basketball through custom content that features teams as they advance through the qualification process.

At 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.  Both Canadian teams took part in life skills programming centered on the Jr. NBA’s core values, in addition to meeting NBA players Vince Carter and Jr. NBA Global Championship Ambassador Dwyane Wade.  

During the 2018-19 season, the NBA and its teams plan to reach more than 51M youth in 75 countries through league play, in-school programming, clinics, skills challenges, and other outreach events.

All coaches participating in the Jr. NBA Global Championship Canada Regional will be required to be trained in Canada Basketball’s National Coaching Certification Program and require a background check.  The qualification process is in line with Long Term Athlete Development and safety in sport principles with implemented minimum playing time and no zone rules.  Games will follow FIBA rules adjusted to eight-minute quarters due to the age and stage of development.  Youth at the Jr. NBA Global Championship will not only compete on the court but will also receive off-court life skills education and participate in NBA Cares community service projects.

Please contact provincial basketball federations for more information regarding qualifying competitions.  More information about the Jr. NBA Global Championship can be found at 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 1.6 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 to Face USA, New Zealand in International Basketball Series Ahead of FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (May 1, 2019) – The biggest names in basketball will play in Sydney this August when North American rivals, USA Basketball and Canada Basketball will face off at Qudos Bank Arena on Monday 26 August 2019 (7.30pm), while the New Zealand Tall Blacks take on Canada Basketball at the Quaycentre on Tuesday 20 August 2019 and Wednesday 21 August 2019 (7.30pm).

These games will serve as important preparation for all teams ahead of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup to be contested in China August 31 – September 15, with each outfit to feature their final 12-man roster for the world championship.

Presale tickets will be available via Telstra Thanks® from 12.00pm AEST, Friday 3 May 2019 and the general public on sale commences from 12.00pm AEST, Wednesday 8 May 2019 from Ticketek.

USA Basketball’s encounter against Canada at Qudos Bank Arena will follow two massive games against the Australian Boomers at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne on 22 and 24 August in front of over 100,000 fans – through the support of the Victorian Government via its tourism and major events agency Visit Victoria– and will round out their preparation for China.

USA Basketball Men’s National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo said: “Playing an outstanding opponent like Canada in Sydney is a fantastic way for the USA Men’s National Team to finish out its tour. 

“This game will not just be an opportunity to put the finishing touches on our pre-World Cup preparations, but it will be amazing for USA Basketball to return to Qudos Bank Arena where the USA men and women won Olympic gold medals in 2000. I have no doubt the game and atmosphere around the game will again be very memorable.”

With the addition of these three games, Canada Basketball will play a total of five pre-World Cup games in Australia, having previously confirmed two fixtures against the Boomers in Perth on 16 and 17 August. 

Canada Basketball General Manager, Men’s High Performance Rowan Barrett said: “We’re excited to have the opportunity to compete and gain familiarity against some of the top teams in the world in preparation for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.  

“The USA has been the gold standard in FIBA basketball for several years so this will be a great opportunity for our program. In addition, having the chance to play tough road games against Australia and New Zealand will be a valuable experience for our team on the road to the World Cup.”

New Zealand is one of only five nations – joining USA, Serbia, Argentina and Spain – to have made it out of pool play in each of the past four FIBA Basketball World Cups.

The Tall Blacks last met Canada during a classic semi final encounter at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast where the later won on the buzzer, setting up two compelling affairs when they meet again in August.

Basketball New Zealand CEO Iain Potter said: “These games are an amazing opportunity for the Tall Blacks, but also for Basketball New Zealand to forge new and ongoing relationships. It speaks to our reputation on the international stage that we have secured such an invite to play alongside some of the world’s best teams and I know Pauli (head coach Paul Henare) sees the games against Canada as a great measuring stick for where the team will be at leading into the World Cup. 

“This is also a great incentive for our players, a chance for them to show what they can do against NBA level opposition, as a team but also in their own careers – who knows what might come of such an opportunity.”

Not since the 2000 Sydney Olympics has Australia seen such high-quality men’s international basketball on these shores, with seven star-studded games to be played inside 11 days.

International Basketball Series Schedule

16 August 2019 – Australian Boomers vs. Canada Basketball – RAC Arena, Perth

17 August 2019 – Australian Boomers vs. Canada Basketball – RAC Arena, Perth 

20 August 2019 – Canada Basketball vs. New Zealand Tall Blacks – Quaycentre, Sydney

21 August 2019 – Canada Basketball vs. New Zealand Tall Blacks – Quaycentre, Sydney 

22 August 2019 – USA Basketball vs. Australian Boomers – Marvel Stadium, Melbourne

24 August 2019 – USA Basketball vs. Australian Boomers – Marvel Stadium, Melbourne

26 August 2019 – USA Basketball vs. Canada Basketball – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney

TEG CEO Geoff Jones said: “As the country’s pre-eminent promoter of international sport, TEG Live is delighted to be bringing the biggest stars in basketball to Australia this August.

“With this year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup to be played in the region, it lends itself perfecting to having leading teams prepare for the world championships here in Australia and giving fans the opportunity to see the best in the flesh.”


Tuesday 20 August 2019 – Quaycentre, Sydney at 7.30pm
Wednesday 21 August 2019 – Quaycentre, Sydney at 7.30pm

Monday 26 August 2019 – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney at 7.30pm

Telstra Thanks® presale from 12.00pm AEST, Friday 3 May 2019

General on sale from 12.00pm AEST, Wednesday 8 May 2019

Courtesy Canada Basketball

Canada Basketball announces Class of 2019 Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame


TORONTO, ON (April 15, 2019) – Canada Basketball is pleased to announce the 2019 inductees into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Canada Basketball Board of Directors has unanimously accepted the nominations of Howard Kelsey (Player / Builder), Patricia Lawson (Player), Dianne Norman (Player), Joanne Sargent (Player), Mike Smrek (Player) and John Weiland (Official) to be inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame.

“On behalf of everyone in the Canada Basketball community, I’d like to welcome each of this year’s inductees into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame,” said Glen Grunwald, President & CEO of Canada Basketball.  “While Canada continues to experience unprecedented growth in basketball, it is important to recognize and celebrate all those that have come before and contributed so much to our great game in this country.  There is no better way to thank and congratulate these wonderful inductees for their service and accomplishments.”

Kelsey represented Canada for 11 years (1977-88) as a member of Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team.  A native of Vancouver, B.C., Kelsey was a two-time Olympian (1980,1984) and helped lead Canada to a fourth-place finish at the 1984 Olympic Games. In addition, Kelsey led Canada to gold at both the 1978 Commonwealth Basketball Championships and 1983 FISU World University Games.  Following his playing career in Guadalajara, Mexico, Kelsey served as Athletic Coordinator at the University of Victoria before becoming Executive Vice-President of Canada Basketball.  Kelsey also co-founded the Canadian National Team Alumni Association.

“Induction into our nation’s Hall of Fame represents Canadian Basketball’s highest honour.  Joining some of our beloved country’s most iconic basketball legends and community contributors is truly humbling. I’d like to thank our late coach Jack Donohue and all my Team Canada teammates and staff, as well as the Canada Basketball Board of Directors.  In addition, I wish to extend thanks to the late Dr. Paul Thomas, Ron Foxcroft and their Veterans Committee.”  Howard Kelsey

Widely considered one of Canada’s greatest all-around athletes, Lawson captured provincial titles in six different sports – track and field, golf, speed skating, swimming, tennis and basketball. However, it was basketball where the Saskatoon native really excelled.  In her first season at the University of Saskatchewan, at just 18 years old, Lawson was named MVP after establishing several scoring records. Lawson is also a two-time Canadian champion with the Vancouver Eilers (1955) and Adilman Aces (1959). Following her playing career, Lawson returned to the University of Saskatchewan, where she coached the women’s basketball team from 1956 to 1967.

“Being inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame is a wonderful recognition and one I never thought would happen.  I’d like to thank my past teammates and all the amazing young women I coached at the University of Saskatchewan over the years. I would also like to extend a special thank you to Darlene Curry and the late Dr. Paul Thomas for nominating me for this honour.” – Patricia Lawson 

One of the longest serving players within Canada’s Women’s National Team program, Norman was a member of Team Canada from 1988 to 2003. The Fredericton, New Brunswick native appeared in 157 international games for Canada, was a two-time Olympian (1996, 2000) and also represented the red and white at the Pan-American Games and World University Games. While attending Laurentian University, Norman and the Lady Vees captured the Bronze Baby Trophy as CIAU champions in back-to-back seasons (1990-91).  Over the course of her university career, she was also named a four time All-Canadian. Norman played professionally overseas in Spain, Switzerland and Germany.

“I’m so humbled and appreciative to have shared the court and career with so many athletes, coaches and officials.  Thanks to Canada Basketball and Basketball New Brunswick for all the hard work behind the scenes which make athlete dreams possible.” – Dianne Norman

At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Sargent and Canada finished sixth in the first Olympic Basketball Tournament for Women.  Sargent made history for Canada as her 14 assists against Czechoslovakia established a new Olympic record for the most assists in a single game, a mark that lasted for over twenty years.  Sargent also represented Canada at the Pan American Games and World Championship for Women in 1971 and 1975.  During her five years at the University of British Columbia, Sargent led the Thunderbirds to two CWIAU national championships and a Senior ‘A’ women’s title.

“Being inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame is the highest honour I could hope to achieve in my sport.  It was such a privilege and source of pride for me to represent Canada on our National and Olympic teams in World Championships, Pan American Games and the 1976 Olympics.  To be worthy of recognition in the Hall of Fame as someone who played basketball with tenacity, skill and integrity and as an ambassador for Canada is such a thrill.  I am indebted to those who advocated for my admission to the Hall and am grateful and humbled to be included alongside other talented individuals and teams in the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame.”  Joanne Sargent

Internationally, Smrek was a long-time member of Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team and represented the country at the 1994 World Championship for Men.  Originally selected 25th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1985 NBA Draft, Smrek played seven seasons in the NBA and appeared in 194 career games with the Chicago Bulls (1985-86), Los Angeles Lakers (1986-88), San Antonio Spurs (1988-89), Golden State Warriors (1989-1992) and Los Angeles Clippers (1990-91).  A two-time NBA champion with the Lakers, Smrek was the first Canadian in history to play in an NBA Championship.  Following his NBA career, Smrek played overseas in Italy, Greece and Croatia.  

I am grateful to those who have chosen to have my contributions to Canadian basketball recognized. It is an honour to be thought of alongside so many other men and women who have and still are representing Canada. I have many great memories of teammates, coaches and friends made while training, travelling and competing around the world. In accepting this honour I thank them all.” Mike Smrek

Widely regarded as one of the best basketball officials in Canada, Weiland officiated at the international level for over twenty years, representing Canada at several international events, including FIBA EuroBasket 1985 and the 1988 Seoul Olympics.  In addition, he also refereed at the World Championships, Pan American Games and the CIS Championship 17 times.  Over his career, Weiland was awarded the Canada Basketball J.A. Wilcox Award, the Air Canada Amateur Sports Official Award, and was honored by the Calgary Booster Club as a respected leader.  Weiland was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and in 2015 was the recipient of the Ted Earley Award.  John remains involved in basketball as a national referee coach where he continues to develop officials and the game.

“Being involved in the game of basketball for 60 years, as a player, a coach and a referee, I have enjoyed many incredible experiences.  Receiving the honour of being inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame as an official is definitely the high-lite of my basketball career.  I  am also very thankful to the people that made this nomination happen.”  John Weiland

Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame 

Since 1978, The Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame has honoured and celebrated those who have contributed to the development and enhancement of basketball both in Canada and internationally. Every other year, any person is eligible for election as an Honoured Member of the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame who has achieved an outstanding record of excellence in the following categories: athletes, teams, coaches, officials and builders. 

For more information, please visit http://basketball.ca/en/page/hall-of-fame

Courtesy Canada Basketball

Inaugural NJC All-Star Classic features some of the world’s top Jr. Boys basketball players


(Toronto, ON) The inaugural National Junior Circuit (NJC) All-Star Classic takes place at 7pm on Friday April 5th, 2019 at the Humber College Athletic Centre. (North Campus).

The event features some of the top junior-aged boys basketball players in the country. Team Red, coached by Nick Krenk of NJC Finalists Crestwood Prep will take on Team Blue, coached by Cedric Carter of the Pine Ridge Puma. Sean Bookal of inaugural NJC Champions, Thornlea S.S. was unable to participate due to a scheduling conflict so Carter stepped up to lead the team.

Event details:

NJC All-Star Classic Friday, April 5th 7:00pm at Humber College (North Campus) Doors open 6pm.

ADMISSION: $10 Adults $5 Students/Seniors.


Some of the players featured in the game are the who’s who of fast risers in the Canadian basketball scene. Team Red will be led by Crestwood Prep’s Elijah Fisher, Mikkel Tyne and Immanueal Oludele, St. Martin’s DJ Jackson and Nikola Rajacic, Augustus Brazdeikis, amongst other notables.

Team Red Roster- Head Coach Nick Krenk, Crestwood Prep

Team Blue features top players like Thornlea S.S.’s Tyler Garcia, Leonard Miller and Kwabena Antwi, Bill Crothers’ Zaiden Cross, London Basketball Academy’s Shaedon Sharpe and St. Martin’s Manvir Virdi amongst others.

Team Blue Roster- Head Coach Cedric Carter, Pine Ridge S.S.

This game will be one to remember as both teams will try to put on a show for the crowd at Humber College while pulling up a win for their respective squads. The NJC is the brainchild of Ottawa’s Tony House founder of Canada Top Flight Academy and consists of Board of Director Members that include On Point Basketball’s Drew Ebanks, Crestwood Prep Program Director and Sr. Boy’s Head Coach Ro Russell, Fred Grannum St. Marcellinius Jr. Boys Head Coach, Kyle Skinner of Dynes Sports and Curtis McLean of CM Sports.

On March 3rd, Thornlea won the inaugural NJC Championship with an 86-78 win over Crestwood Prep. Thornlea Prep’s Tyler Garcia was named Championship MVP scoring a team-high 25 points in the victory. Elijah Fisher was named MVP for Crestwood, finishing with a game-high 26 points for the silver medalists.

For more information on the National Junior Circuit. Go to WEBSITE

Written by Drew Ebanks

Canada to face Australia in Perth August 16 and 17


PERTH, AUSTRALIA (April 2, 2019) – Canada Basketball will take on the Australian Boomers at Perth’s RAC Arena on Friday, August 16 and Saturday, August 17, with both teams set to feature some of the biggest names in the sport.

These two games will serve as important preparation ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 to be contested in China from August 31 – September 15, where coincidently both teams have been drawn in Group H for this tournament.

Presale tickets will be available via Telstra Thanks® from 11:00am (local), Friday 5 April and the general public on sale commences from 9:00am (local), Thursday 11 April from Ticketek (www.ticketek.com.au)

These highly anticipated games will be the first time the Boomers have played in Perth since the 2014 Sino-Australia Challenge, with both games set to be played in front of a record crowd for a basketball game in Perth.

Rowan Barrett, Canada Basketball General Manager, Men’s High Performance said: “Facing Australia at home will be a difficult test for our team but an important one as we continue our preparations for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.  Ranked eleventh in the world and coming off a first-place finish in Group F in the Asian Qualifiers, the Boomers will be a good challenge, especially given the raucous pro-Australian crowds that await us in Perth.”

Fans in Perth will see the final 12-man teams that will represent both countries in China and for the Boomers, these will be the first warm-up games of their pre-World Cup campaign.

Basketball Australia Chairman, Ned Coten said: “This announcement is another landmark moment for Basketball Australia in such a special time for the sport. We are thrilled to bring the Boomers back to Perth for the first time since 2014. The Perth basketball community and fans at large in Western Australia are some of the most dedicated supporters in the country and we have no doubt that the RAC Arena will be sold out for both games in August.” 

Basketball in Australia is enjoying unprecedent popularity, which is evident by the huge demand for tickets to the Boomers two games against USA Basketball at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne on 22 August and 24 August, where over 90,000 tickets have been sold.

The CEO of TEG Geoff Jones said: “We are both proud and delighted to be partnering with Basketball Australia to bring international basketball to Perth.

“Australian basketball, whether domestically or on a global stage, has never been stronger and we know the Western Australian sports fans and event goers will come out in record numbers to support these special games at RAC Arena.”

Australian Boomers Head Coach Andrej Lemanis said: “I’m excited that the Boomers get to return to Perth, it’s such a wonderful basketball community. We see them get behind the Wildcats year in and year out and the city has a great basketball culture so I’m looking forward to getting into the RAC Arena again. It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to play warm-up games on home soil against quality opposition. It’s great reward for the Australian fans and we know there will be a lot of excitement surrounding the games, but as a team, we need to focus and utilise these games to learn about ourselves before the World Cup begins.”

The last time the two teams met was during the gold medal match of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Canada are relishing the opportunity to return to Australian shores as they prepare for their own tilt at FIBA Basketball World Cup glory.

Dan Vanhooren named Head Coach of Boys U19 National Team


TORONTO, ON (April 2, 2019) – Canada Basketball is pleased to announce the hiring of Dan Vanhooren as Head Coach of the Boys’ U19 National Team.

“Dan has displayed the ability to successfully lead a winning program as demonstrated by back-to-back U SPORTS appearances with the Calgary Dinos,” said Michael Meeks, Manager, Youth Player Development. “After gaining valuable international FIBA experience last summer as a member of Team Canada at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2018, we feel that Dan has a strong understanding of our athletes and can further aid in their ongoing development, both on and off the court.”  

Now in his 19th season as the head coach at the University of Calgary, Vanhooren was named U SPORTS Coach of the Year in 2018-19 after leading the Dinos to an undefeated 20-0 regular season record and their second consecutive U SPORTS Final 8 championship appearance.  Last season, Vanhooren and the Dinos captured their first national championship in program history.  Since taking over as head coach in 2000, Vanhooren has led Calgary to five Canada West conference championships.

Prior to joining the Dinos, Vanhooren served as head coach at Medicine Hat College while teaching in their Health Sciences faculty.  In 2000, Vanhooren led Medicine Hat to a bronze medal finish and was named the ACAC South Coach of the Year.

“I am honoured to take part and look forward to working with the Canada Basketball staff in pursuing the goals of the organization,” said Vanhooren.  “It is an exciting time in Canadian basketball with the number of players demonstrating such a high level of talent.  Our U19 coaches and staff should be equally excited to face the responsibility of continuing to develop our talent with similar enthusiasm and energy to those who have come before our group.”

Internationally, the Red Deer, Alta. native has served as an assistant coach with Canada at the Taipei 2017 Universiade and last summer at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2018.

As a player, Vanhooren spent three seasons at the University of Alberta before moving on to the University of British Columbia.  While at UBC, Vanhooren worked for the Vancouver Grizzlies during in their inaugural season.

Last year, Vanhooren coached Team Red at the BioSteel All-Canadian Basketball Game.

Vanhooren is trained in Canada Basketball’s train to compete certification and holds a Masters of Sport Psychology from the University of British Columbia.

The FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2019 will take place from June 29-July 7 in Heraklion, Greece. Canada is in Group B along with Mali, Australia and Latvia.  Canada enters the tournament coming off an historic gold medal at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017.

Canada’s youth men are currently ranked No. 2 in the world.

Courtesy Canada Basketball