In what will go down as one of the greatest individual performances of all-time, and arguably one the most important international team victories in Canadian basketball history, 17 year-old Rowan Barrett Jr. put Canada on his back and torched rivals United States of America with an incredible 38 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists masterpiece for the ages.
Canada’s Junior Men’s National Basketball Team upset the two-time defending champs with a stunning and mesmerizing 99-87 semi-finals win to advanced to the Gold medal championship game of the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup in Cairo Egypt. Team Canada (5-1) will play for Gold tomorrow against Italy (5-1).
Barrett Jr. (6’8, 180 lbs/Mississauga, ON/Monteverde Academy/Florida) a tenth grader, who is a month removed from his sweet 16th birthday (2000-06-14) shot an efficient 12-of-24 from the floor, 12-of-15 from the foul line and 2-of-6 from three pointers. He was unstoppable for the opening whistle, scoring 9 points in the quarter as Canada trailed 17-23.
The United States and Head Coach John Calipari (Kentucky Wildcats) threaten to run way with the game in the early minutes of the second-quarter, stretching their early lead and sizeable height advantage to double digits at 28-18 with 9:05 to play. Canada ripped off a crucial 13-3 run, capped off a by a tough three-point play by Barrett Jr. to tie the game at 31-31 at the mid-point of the quarter. Canada’s 2-3 zone continued to frustrate the Americans, forcing the Americans to miss contested jump shots while riding the hot hand of their young phenom who poured 14 more points in the quarter, increasing his half-time total to 23 as Canada led 45-42 at break.
Canada scored the first two-points of the third-quarter on a beautiful back-door cut dunk by Barrett Jr. to put the Canadians up 47-42, from there the USA had one last strong push taking a short-lived lead at 53-52 on three made foul shots. The game of basketball is a game of runs and much like their second-quarter run Canada put together another game changing 13-4 spurt to close the quarter with 66-59 lead and 10 minutes away from making history.
Barrett Jr. added 7 in the quarter and Canada’s bench stepped up providing a much needed spark when it matter most.
The Canadian lead reach double-figures at 72-82 on a made jumper by Grant Sheppard and game-high 12 points in the late stages of the game as Barrett Jr. fouled out with Canada ahead 89-78 with 2:55 remaining.
Canada controlled the game after the first quarter outscoring the Americans 28-19 in the 2nd, 21-17 in the 3rd and 33-28 in the fourth helping maintain a lead for 23:49 minutes ahead of USA’s 13:13 minutes.
“What an incredible moment for Canadian basketball, for these kids, for this team. Great win, now we’ve got to move on and get ready to play for – as unbelievable as it sounds – a world championship.” – Roy Rana, Head Coach
Abu Kigab (St. Catherines, ON) continued his stellar tournament with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists. Grant Shephard (Kelowna, BC) once again elevated his game and had his second straight solid outing delivering 12 points and five rebounds. Nate Darling (Sackville, NS) added 13 points, three rebounds and three assists in Canada’s historic win.
P.J Washington paced five USA players in double-digits with a 17 point, 11-rebound double-double, but shot only 9/16 from the line. Austin Miller pulled down a game-high 17-rebounds to go alongside his 13 points. United States won the battle underneath the glass with a 62-53 margin.
The loss was the United States first defeat since the 2011 U19 World Cup where it finished fifth, falling to Russia 79-75 in the quarter-finals. For comparisons purposes the USA beat Canada 83-54 in the round-of-16 by a wide 29 points margin. Canada finished in 11th-place with a 3-5 record. Canada’s roster featured Phil Scrubb, Kevin Pangos, Olivier Hanlan and others.
Canada draws tough group for 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifier
Canada’s Senior Men’s National Basketball (SMNT) faces a tough road to the 2020 Olympic tournament after drawing stiff competition at the official qualifying draw in Switzerland.
No. 21 Canada will play in tough group A in Victoria, British Columbia against No. 7 ranked Greece and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Team Canada will also face rising No. 24 China. Group B features No. 43 Uruguay, No. 10 Czech Republic, No. 15 Turkey.
Canada will need to win the last minute Olympic qualifying tournament at home to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic games.
The top two teams in each group advance to the semi-finals in a crossover game. The tournament runs from July 23-28. The top four teams from each tournament will advance to Tokyo and will join an already impressive field that includes hosts Japan, Argentina, Australia, France, Spain, Iran, Nigeria and the United States.
The Czech Republic finished in sixth-place at the recently completed 32-team World Cup in China with a record of 4-4 — with losses coming to the USA 88-67, Greece (84-77), Australia (82-70) and Serbia (90-81). Greece missed out on a top 10 finish after a disappointing 3-2 showing. Turkey showed flashes of brilliance finishing a spot below Canada at 22 with a 2-3 record — losing a close 93-92 group game against the USA.
China also finished with a 2-3 record dropping close games to Poland (79-76), Venezuela (72-59) and Nigeria 86-73. Uruguay, the lowest ranked team of the six is the only team that didn’t qualify for the World Cup.
The six teams coming to Victoria this summer all feature proven NBA star-power, headlined by the Hellas’ Giannis Antekonmpo. The Czech Republic has crafty Chicago Bulls point guard Tomas Satoranksy and Turkey also boasts power forward Ersan Ilyasova of the Milwaukee Bucks, point guard Ceidi Osman of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Furkan Korkmaz of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Despite the growing global NBA player presence – it is Canada that features the most international players in the world’s best league. After a disappointing 2-3 showing at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Team Canada is expected to put together it’s best roster in years’ — already garnering early official social media commitments from two of Canada’s rising stars. Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray and OKC Thunder Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have officially announced their intentions. Dillon Brooks of the Memphis Grizzlies, Khem Birch of the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans’ guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker have also made it clearly evident that they will be on hand to help Canada end it’s 20-year summer Olympics drought that dates back to 2000.
Canada will kick-off the tournament against Greece on June 23rd and will play China the next day with a rest day in-between — before the semi-finals on June 27.
One thing to keep in consideration is the proximity of the qualifying tournament to the NBA Finals. Game 1 on the 2020 NBA Finals is set for Thursday June 4th 2020 and if stretched the distance it will run until Sunday June 21st leaving only two days before the start of the crucial tournament. Both the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors are amongst the favorites to win the Eastern Conference and should they reach the NBA finals it will be interesting to see how it will affect player turnout and other last minute decisions.
Canada’s coaching staff is led by Raptors’ head coach Nick Nurse, Greece recently appointed former Kentucky Wildcats head coach Rick Pitino.
Canada failed to reach the 2016 Rio Olympics via the FIBA qualification tournament, falling to eventual fourth-place finisher France in a hard-fought 83-74 battle in Manila, Philippines.
Lance Stephenson Makin’ ‘Em Dance In China
Remade in China.
From playing with LeBron and the Lakers last season. To getting an early start in the Far East for this one. Getting in opponents faces like he used to do when he went up against the King. Blow in his face all you want…but its just hot air.
Lance Stephenson is back baby!
Like you’ve never seen him before. Running his town in China for the Liaoning Flying Leopards.
To quote Charlie Murphy talking about Prince in an infamous Hollywood stories episode of Dave’s ‘Chappelle Show’, “this cat can (still) ball man”!
To those who think a couple of strings have popped off Stephenson’s guitar then just watch him play and strum along. Lance is still makin’ ’em dance with the NBA’s most famous celebration…except the league just lost it and one of their premier performers and fondly favourite, cult celebrities in the amazing association of epic entertainment.
Turns out the Lakers should have held on to their veteran big name meme team a little longer. Although they did re-up with pure point Rondo running the show and the centre who should start in JaVale McGee. But in not keeping one of their biggest bench presence spark plugs of camaraderie and chemistry since the days of Rony Turiaf or even Mad Dog, Mark Madsen, this is almost as heart-breaking as losing all the kids in the Hollywood divorce for Anthony Davis. But we love reunions almost as much as we love redemption in this league and with BIG3 MVP Joe Johnson inking a deal with Detroit that is going to see the Motor City Pistons assembly line cut former Laker Michael Beasley. We may just see this fellow wild card, big contributing star head back to the Chinese league he finished out the season with like he hasn’t just flown home already. We know one Leopard who would welcome him with back open paws and any other player with a name beyond a meme, not caring if he never changes his spots.
Just when you thought Ice Cube’s inspired BIG3 was the only prescribed route for former NBA players to EA get back in the game like museum exits via the gift shop then check out this exhibit. You only have to check a FIBA feed and see how France French kissed the United States out said tournament a year before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan to see that this game is truly global. It’s far more than just the United States. It’s the whole wide, watching and welcoming world. And one of the biggest hubs like everything in this world from business, to commerce and innovation is in China. Now that’s some development even the G-League can’t give you old man.
Coney Island’s own legend Stephon Marbury became an icon here, remaining after he retired…and this guy was a superstar under the Times Square, World’s Most Famous Arena lights of being a New York Knick in the Madison Square Garden of hallowed hoops Eden.
Are you listening Carmelo?
You too Dwight…give it a couple of months.
With 35 and 10, double decadence in the playoffs, Lance just put an end to San Miguel like last orders at the bar and now next rounds on him as he mime guitars until the fat lady falsettos in her stilettos to everyone raising a glass in toast.
The all dunking and big shot scoring player looks like he’s stepped into a rejuvenation machine…until you see just how much he afforded with his spare chance minutes last year on the biggest stage in Hollywood. He looks like he’s having a Swayze. And Chinese Basketball in turn the time of its life.
All Stephenson needed was another chance. And boy is he taking it right now. At this point Lance will be back in the league before you can say “it’s opening night at the STAPLES Center.” But at this point would he even want back, causing big trouble in a not so little China?
(As a matter of fact after press Lance Stephenson lead his Leopards over Seoul to win both the Terrific 12 and the tournament MVP…like Jay what more can we say?)
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