Posts Tagged ‘Joel Anthony

Canadians take silver at Universiade; Valanciunas, Bargnani looking good; senior men pare roster

- August 22nd, 2011

Big congratulations to Canada’s men’s basketball team for coming away with a silver medal at the Summer universiade in China.

Canada marched all the way to the final before falling to Serbia 68-55, claiming silver for the first time since 1997.

The team blew a 34-42 halftime lead with some poor shooting in the second half but still far exceeded expectations.

Tyson Hinz (Ottawa), a force all week and Nathan Yu of Prince George, B.C., led the way with 14 points.

- Elsewhere, Raptors big men Jonas Valanciunas and Andrea Bargnani continue to play well in exhibition tuneups prior to EuroBasket. Bargnani scored 28 points (5-of-7 from three), his usually poor three rebounds and hit eight of 13 shots in his most recent appearance for Italy.

Valanciunas had just five points and six rebounds for Lithuania in a win against Latvia, but was held to just 15 minutes because of foul issues.  Valanciunas was coming off of a 13 point, 16 rebound performance.

- Canada’s senior men’s team has cut its roster down to 14 players, including NBAers Joel Anthony, Andy Rautins and Cory Joseph. The team will play three games in Brazil Tuesday-Thursday to prepare for the FIBA America’s tournament in Argentina, which starts next week.

Canada comes through twice against Belgium; a bit on Tristan Thompson not playing

- August 14th, 2011

Canada’s senior men’s basketball team continued its strong recent play on Sunday, winning its third of four exhibition games this month, 74-68 over Belgium at Hamilton’s McMaster University.

Kamloops’ Kelly Olynyk, a Gonzaga forward, led Canada with 16 points and seven rebounds. Head coach Leo Rautins had earlier said Olynyk was outstanding in training earlier this summer, before getting hurt in Europe.

Miami Heat centre Joel Anthony was a force defensively with four blocked shots.

Carl English added 11 points, New York Knicks guard Andy Rautins 10 and Levon Kendall chipped in with nine points and eight boards. San Antonio Spurs draft pick Cory Joseph was held to three points as he adapts to the international game.

Canada’s usually efficient three-point shooting was absent (4-18 from three), but a 34-22 edge on the boards was huge, as were 26 points from the line compared to Belgium’s six.

Canada beat Belgium 79-74 at Ryerson on Saturday and split a pair of games with the Czech Republic in that country a few weeks ago and is on the rise after a double-digit losing streak dating back to last year, which was largely the result of the absence or limited performances from most of Canada’s top players due to injury.

Canada will continue its training camp in Toronto until Aug. 20th, before heading to Brazil for exhibition games against Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico at the Tuto Marchand Cup.

Canada will then head to Argentina for the FIBA Americas tournament. A top two finish there would mean a berth at the 2012 London Olympics. Canada is in a group with the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Venezuela and Cuba. Brazil and Argentina in the other group are the favourites but Canada can still advance to a last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament next year with a top five finish.

Wanted to chime in on Tristan Thompson choosing not to play. Andy Rautins certainly seems to have an opinion about it, though he didn’t name Thompson directly.

I still maintain that people should get on Thompson the next time he declines an invite (if he does), not now. He has had an extremely long year and though Canada Basketball believes any insurance risks would have been worked out to get him to play, I can’t fault him for not wanting to risk it before he’s even signed a deal.

Do I think he could have benefited from playing? Absolutely. As good as Thompson is defensively, his offensive game is very much a work in progress. We have seen Joel Anthony and Samuel Dalembert improve their games with more touches and focus offensively with the team in the past and I think Thompson could have helped himself by playing. Plus, as Cory Joseph said, they haven’t played in a while and who knows, with the lockout going on, when the next time Thompson will play competitive basketball. Plus, if he wants to play in the Olympics down the line, his team needs to qualify. With Thompson, no doubt Canada would have a better shot in Argentina. Haven’t checked this, but I believe Thompson would have been the highest-drafted NBA player on any team at that event had he played.

But again, I understand why he didn’t and won’t fault him for it.

This time.

Quick thoughts on Game 3 of finals and congrats to latest Canadian star prospect Anthony Bennett

- June 5th, 2011

Will get to the finals in a minute but first …

Canadian basketball fans should get to know the name Anthony Bennett. He’s yet another stud Canadian prospect making noise. I was a bit late on Bennett, but have been told all year he’s the next big thing after the current crop playing in the NCAA and the players who went to the McDonald’s All-American and Nike games.

Bennett is a 6-8, 230 pound power forward from Brampton (very similar size to Brampton’s Tristan Thompson who is expected to become the highest drafted Canadian ever later this month).

Like Thompson, Bennett plays for Findlay Prep in Nevada.

Graduating Findlay player Myck Kabongo won MVP at last year’s Pangos Camp, a very highly regarded prospects camp in the U.S., while Bennett was named co-MVP this time around thanks to some tremendous performances.

Currently ranked 46th by ESPN in the class of 2012, most believe it is just a matter of time before he cracks the top 20, or higher.

As for the finals, some quick thoughts:

Dirk continues to be spectacular. Very few teams go to a big man in the clutch these days and even historically. Karl Malone was the guy for Utah and I can’t think of too many more examples at the moment.

That’s traditionally the time for swingmen or point guards to shine, so it’s pretty amazing how Dirk seems to score the last 10-15 points for Dallas in big games. He’s an all-time great.

Said in my piece in Monday’s paper that LeBron might get all the attention, but Dwyane Wade is the guy you want in the playoffs. He’s a killer. Not just on offence, where he’s brilliant, unless he goes into three-point chucking mode, but also defensively, where he’s an absolute terror – unless he’s outsmarted by Jason Kidd.

Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem continue to play underrated roles for the soon-to-be-champion Heat. They don’t show up much on the statsheet, but they’re invaluable.

Mario Chalmers, a guy Miami didn’t really want the past two years, is really earning his keep. Chalmers is nailing big shots like he did while at Kansas.

Shawn Marion is doing a solid job on James but Dallas can’t afford another 4-12 effort out of Marion. Somebody besides Dirk and Jason Terry needs to light it up for the Mavericks on Tuesday if they are to make this a series again.

These finals have been a treat for basketball fans.

Strange night for Chris Bosh. Started pretty well. Was awful in the second and third quarters. A bit better in the fourth until stinking it up late … but hit the game-winner.

One final thought. Dwayne Casey is doing a great job. He’s basically the defensive coordinator for Dallas and the team is buying in to what he is selling. Rick Carlisle has been fantastic as well, but I’d be shocked if Casey doesn’t get a head coaching job for next season, either in Toronto or elsewhere.

It is not easy to hold the powerful Heat well south of 50% shooting. Casey has helped make it happen.

On Chris Bosh damage control; meet and greet with Joel Anthony/Andy Rautins

- July 30th, 2010

Chris Bosh went on Sportsnet Thursday to attempt to clear the air after Bryan Colangelo’s now infamous FAN 590 interview earlier this week which spun pretty far out of control after I broke it down in what I thought was a reasonable way. It was subsequently picked up and spun a bit by ESPN and other American sources.

Bosh seemed pretty sincere in his comments, though I find it extremely hard to believe him when he says his decision to stay or go came down to the last minute. All signs point to that being a fib.

He said he always played hard and gave his all and I believe that to be true as well. I agree with what Colangelo was intoning though, that Bosh didn’t rush himself back from injury because he was not as committed to the franchise as he had been in the past.

Bosh also said thank you to Larry Tanenbaum and said he will continue to give to Toronto charities.

Some other things Bosh said:

On the comments about Toronto being different, smelling different, etc.:

“It is a different country. Not to say Toronto isn’t a great metropolitan city it’s a fantastic city. I enjoyed Toronto every minute I was there. I know it was different. You see kilometres (instead of miles), it is different. Different isn’t bad. I’m different.”

Said it’s not tough to live in Toronto, lots of other cities are cold, but some guys the Raptors wanted to sign chose to go elsewhere.

Says he wanted to be on ESPN and TNT more so his family could see him. Doesn’t think Raptors get the respect they deserve by U.S. television.

“Everyone in Canada flocks to the game, which is great. (But) you want to be seen in the States as well because most players in the NBA are from the United States.”

On if he packed it in:

“I play this game as hard as I can every time I step on the court.”

We (Bosh family) have a lot of pride in what we do. Never didn’t give my all on the court. Why would I give up and not want to go to the playoffs?
I turned my ankle against Memphis. I actually stayed in the game. Didn’t score a bucket in overtime because I couldn’t move. At any time did I ever give up I take that very seriously. I take this job seriously and I take my effort on the court seriously.”

Had a chance to talk to Canadian senior men’s team starters Joel Anthony and Andy Rautins Thursday night.

Here’s what they had to say:

Joel Anthony:

On Canada’s chances at the FIBA world championship in Turkey:

“We’re definitely looking to compete really. We really believe in what we’re able to do. The core has been around a long time. We’re really looking forward to proving a lot of people wrong. A lot of people don’t see us as a big threat this tournament and that’s fine. We’re looking to come in under the radar and do really well.”
Continuity: It’s been great to be around the guys for that long and to develop that team chemistry.
A lot of guys have experience in hostile situations. Nobody’s afraid in any way or rattled. Have to just stick together. Will try to go out there and use our athleticism to get up and down the court and create opportunities. Defensively, we’ve been able to get stops on the defensive ends so that’s something that’s definitely going ot be important.
On the Heat landing LeBron and Bosh: “I was really surprised that they were able to get all three of those guys on the same team.
In the end I’m happy everything worked out, it worked out really well. To come back to the team, looking to have a really good year I’m just happy to be a part of it.
You understand you’re going to have a bullseye on you, a lot of teams are definitely going to look to come at us, that’s fine, as a team, wee’re definitely going to be prepared for it and looking forward to it.
Don’t know Chris. Just from playing against him. Haven’t had a chance to actually meet him yet but definitley looking forward to meet him and play with him as a teammate.
There was some interest (from the Raptors), but Miami was has been a great fit for me with their system and with their organization. Don’t know what it would have been like if I had gone to Toronto or gone somewhere else, but knew coming back would be a good situation so was trying to make sure that I stayed.
Obviously once Chris and LeBron signed, it made that decision that much easier. Why wouldn’t I want to come back to a situation like that?

Andy Rautins:
Summer league went well, I  think I competed defensively. Didn’t have the kind of impact I would have liked in terms of scoring. But was a good transition for me. To compete in an NBA game. Played pretty decent and felt like the competition wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. Real confident, definitely think I benefited from it.
On DeMar DeRozan landing on his ankle” Initially it hurt real bad, one of those sprains, that after is OK.
Feedback: Staying patient. I think that I’ll have the opportunity to get in there and get some minutes (with the Knicks) and do what I do, which is shoot the ball and shoot it well and make plays. It’s a great system to be in and I don’t think I’d be happier anywhere else. (Mike D’Antoni) he’s a great guy, one of the greatest guys I’ve ever met. Playing for him is a real pleasure and I can’t wait.

On younger Canadian’s getting bronze medals this summer: We’re trying to make a name for ourselves too. I remember back in the day we got a bronze medal too. We’ve been together for about four summers now I think the cohesiveness and all the time we’ve had together really benefits us. Argentines have been together since they were 10 years old.”