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Six teams, Six weeks One crown!

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Notice a lack of energy last Friday? Well there was, and that was due to the Nike Crown league coming to an end. The hundreds of fans that’s been planning their Friday’s according to The Nike Crown League schedule will now have to find something new to entertain them for the rest of the summer. Let’s be real, that it is not happening. Nothing’s been more enjoyable than being a part of watching the 6 teams battling out for 6 weeks to be proclaimed as a royalty. Only one team however could’ve own the throne, and everyone will tell you it was a classical finale. With the usual 6 teams taking action on Fridays, the finale only included four teams, as the Northern Kings and 1LoveTo failed to qualify in this memorable finale. The showdown of the Nike Crown League finals started off just as entertaining as it could possibly be. Team 9Now took care of business to earn the 3rd spot after destroying the CIABounce team. But the action was only getting started as the last game was easily one of the best game of the whole tournament; the fans felt apart of the game & the players fed off the energy in the building. It was clear that team ACE was LOOKING FOR REVENGE – All Summer 16, after coming up short last summer they rectified that by beating team M.A.D.E in a classic battle to be throne royalty! A group of people who took the Summer 16 Revenge motto just as hard, or maybe even a little harder than team ACE was the Nike Crown League Staff. They took pride in giving fans and players the best possible place you can watch or play basketball in Canada during the summer. The Nike Crown league staff set standards for what excitement, organization, planning & fun looks like. They solidify that there has not been anything more enjoyable than Friday nights at Ryerson’s Kerr Hall Gymnasium during summer 16 (Sorry Caribana). What made this the highlight of the summer in Toronto was that it was the most consistent fun that kids, adults, players, media members had during the summer. After all it lasted 6 weeks! Proving to everyone that nothing represented the 6 any better!

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Like always, the line-up was extremely long at Ryerson University. People might think a game for 3rd place would not be hyped or entertaining. Well the first two team to take the court that night proved it to be false. It had the crowd on their feet from the start. Team 9Now controlled the game from the very beginning – to the end. Toronto 3D’s and CIS All-Star Greg Morrow started the game on fire finishing with a game-high 30 points. Christian Kabongo took the torch later on and ran with it, as he single handily managed to make the entire gym scream every time he got the ball as he went on a tare for about 3-5 minutes of the game with his scoring &  passing, while doing it in a spectacular way. Luckily for fans since the game was not close – the last couple minutes of the game the players gave each other space to do a dunk showdown for the fans.

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Christian Kabongo’s known as CK, took honors of winning MVP of the game as he finished with 22 points & 13 assist. Leading his team to a 98-74 win over CIA Bounce.

CK took the time to talk to BasketballBuzz after the game saying “ The game went well, I just let the game come to me. My teammates showed me mad love – we just played fun basketball and it just so happens that thanks to God I happened to be the best basketball player in tonight’s game. I’m grateful for this tournament, thanks to coach NiKo & Banana (OVO Members) for giving me a chance to play – there’s no words to describe how grateful I am. As far as Crown league I think it was a beautiful experience, I think it’s a beautiful league and I still feel a lot more pros should play, it would be nice for the city. ”

Must Read:  Brazil hands Canada fourth straight loss ahead of 2014 FIBA World Cup qualifiers

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The last game was by far the most full the gym has been. There was no more seats left, but fans kept coming. The more they came, the more it fuelled both team. Despite there only being 1 winner it’s been a joyful ride for both. But certainly for team ACE who was crown as the 2016 Nike Crown League champions. They’ve had the fans on their back since the very beginning, giving fans something to remember every Friday they got on the court; it also didn’t hurt that couple local stars like Tyrone Watson, Daniel Mullins, Myck Kabongo and many others played for them. This final game represented everything the Nike crown league stands for; it was fun, competitive & every fans energy in the building – was off the roof, Jamal Murray and others ballers even came to watch that classic final game. These Local Stars received a lot of buzz after the game from Basketball fans all over Canada! And all the hype that surrounded them was all well worth it

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Vikta Paulo tweeted about the MVP of the final game Daniel Mullings who finished with 14, 10, 10

Another men who had as much Buzz as anybody who came into the gym; yes even as much as NBA players who played this year, was Myck Kabongo. He took the time to speak to BasketballBuzz after his team won the championship.

“ Today it was a hard fought win, we came together as a team. We trailed a lot of the game, but we did it as a team, every guy on the team had a part in the run we did in the second half. God only knows what is next for me – I’m just bless, I get to do what I love everyday and that’s playing the game of basketball. But I am thankful to win this tournament especially in front of families and friends. There’s a lot of talent here in Toronto as you can see in the NBA with the Tristan’s, the Corey’s the Wiggins and it’s going to keep rising just as this tournament keeps rising. And there’s going to be a lot of spotlight for players out here.”

 

Who knows if every Canadians in the Olympics are inspired by the basketball scene in the county, but they should be! The basketball scene has been doing somewhat of a re-lay of their own as programs & teams keep passing the torch to one another, making in sort for basketball to not slow down. From Raptors, to Toronto 3D, to Ovo Bounce, to the women’s national basketball team, to Crown League – basketball just does not take a break in Toronto. It’s clear that with the growth that Canada has done with it’s basketball scene and the help that Raptors Global Ambassador ‘Drake’ and his ovo members has done to help, it’s been clear that despite of starting from the bottom – we are now here, with our own summer league! The crown league showed that it is just as hype as Los Angeles’s Drew League, San Francisco & Seattle Pro-AM, New York’s Nike pro-city basketball etc.

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FIBA

Canada draws Group of Death 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup

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Cory Joseph Canada Basketball Draws Group Of Death 2019 Fiba World Cup

Canada’s path to a 2019 FIBA basketball World Cup medal and hopes of a 2020 Olympic berth took a serious blow prior to the start of the games as No. 23 Team Canada was drawn into the group of death — alongside global powerhouses No. 6 Lithuania, No. 11 Australia, and No. 37 Senegal.

2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup Groups

2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup Groups

For Canada to have a shot at getting to the podium they will have to finish in the top two spots of Group H to advance to second round of the tournament — where the top 16 teams will be split into four new groups (Groups I, J, K, L). If it reaches that stage Team Canada will once again have to finish in the top two to advance to the quarter-finals.

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Canada’s road to the 2020 Tokyo summer Olympics is a complex and tough process — given FIBA’s decision to make the World Cup apart of the qualification process. Seven spots are currently up for grabs at FIBA’s flagship event and with hosts Japan earning an automatic entry the room for error is minuscule.

To reach the Olympics, Canada will have to finish as one of the top two teams from the seven team America’s region that features the world’s number one squad in the United States of America alongside traditional mainstays Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Venezula and Puerto Rico.

If Canada is unable to secure a spot as one of the two top America’s region teams, they will hope to be amongst the top 16 teams at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup where they will be granted automatic qualification to a last chance tournament taking place next summer at a yet to be determined locations. If unable to finish in the top 16, Canada’s last hope would be one of the last eight countries that FIBA would invite for one of the last-chance qualifier tournaments.

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Therefore, if Canada has any hopes of qualifying for the 12-team 2020 Summer Olympics via the World Cup they will need to advance from Group H one as top two teams, failure to advance in the premilinary round will automatically put Canada’s hopes at the mercy FIBA via the invitation tournament only.

Should Canada reach the second-round they will be placed in the newly formed Group L, alongside Group G winner and runner-up — potentially setting up another group of death with No. 3 France, No. 11 Germany, No. 11 Australia or No. 6 Lithuania.

To make matters worse for the Canadians, they have been pooled on the same half of the draw as the United States — which would mean a potential quarter-finals match-up between the two neighbouring nations, if Canada can somehow get there.

If the Canadians can reach the quarter-finals there is a good chance they alongside the USA would be last two standing Americas teams — thus earning automatic berth to Tokyo 2020.

As evident, by the World Cup draw and given FIBA’s recent changes it’s clearly going to be a tough road for the Canadians to fullfill their 2020 vision of becoming a global basketball powerhouse.

Canada opens up the World Cup against Australia on Saturday August 31st and will take on Lithuania on two days rest on Monday September 2nd beforing concluding Group H action against Senegal on Wednesday September 4th, 2019. All of Canada’s preliminary round games will be played in Dongguan, China

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FIBA

Kia Nurse wins Australian pro championship

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Kia Nurse Wins Australian Pro Championship

Kia Nurse of Hamilton, Ont., finished second in MVP voting as she helped the University of Canberra to a WNBL Championship today in Australia.

Nurse, a six-foot guard, had 12 points and three assists in a 93-73 victory over the Adelaide Lightning in a series-clinching Game 3 at home in AIS Arena.

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“Thank you for giving me an opportunity to play with an amazing group of women,” Nurse said on Twitter after the win.

This was the latest in a series of high-profile achievements for the former University of Connecticut standout.

Nurse is coming off a solid rookie season in the WNBA, where she averaged 9.1 points per game with the New York Liberty.

New York finished out of the playoffs, and Nurse transitioned to the Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) during the offseason.

Many WNBA players spend the offseason in other pro leagues, in part because salaries are low.

The average WNBA player makes less than $72,000 according to the Canadian Press.

Nurse had a larger role with Canberra, roughly averaging 18 points, five rebounds and two assists per game.

Canberra’s 2-1 series win over Adelaide gave the club its eighth WNBL title.

Nurse finished second to Canberra captain Kelsey Griffin in voting for the Rachael Sporn Grand Final MVP award, according to CP.

At 22, Nurse is arguably Canada’s best-known women’s player, thanks in part to her long-running involvement with Team Canada at international tournaments.

She led Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and a seventh-place finish at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Must Read:  Team effort pushes Canada into 2014 FIBA Women's World Championship Quarter-Finals

Nurse also won two NCAA titles with UConn, where she was also American Athletic Conference (AAC) Freshman of the year in 2015.

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