Basketball in Canada has grown tremendously over the last few years. With its popularity being at an all-time high it is fair to say that basketball in Canada has reached it’s prime. The Toronto Raptors could certainly take credit for the Nations view on basketball with it’s “We The North” campaign. This slogan has taken Canadians by storm. So much that the NBA has set a new D-League team in the GTA area, a Raptors affiliation called ‘Toronto 905’. The Raptors have taken advantage of the ‘buzz’ they have going on by adding two Toronto natives, a former NBA champion Cory Joseph and Anthony Bennett the first Canadian to be picked first overall in an NBA draft. This has got people believing that Tristan Thompson & Andrew Wiggins, both Toronto natives, will eventually join the Raptors as well.
This new regime in Canadian basketball translated to Canada coming out on fire at the 2015 FIBA Americas but unfortunately fell short of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil as they finished with the bronze medal. All these accomplishments and recognition has paved the way for Canadian basketball players to be driven and motivated more than ever. Having the opportunity to go to open try-outs for the 905’s D-League team, also the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC) who will be going into their 5th season. For years Canadian basketball players felt that most leagues favorite Americans due to their experiences. Those who lacked the funds of going to America had slim chances of making any professional basketball league. But it seems that all of that has changed. Luckily for Canadians the NBL Canada regulates a rule which every roster should have a minimum of 4 Canadian players even though most teams have actually carried up to 7. This rule has helped many talented Canadian players earn spots on rosters. Owners and managers continue on making NBL Canada a recognized league not only around the world, but also are taking greater strides by attempting to ‘canadianize’ the league from the ownership level down to the players. One team who has some NBL Canada affiliation that stood out the most the past year as an emerging and unique Canadian force in basketball was the Toronto 3D team.
Toronto 3D is a premier basketball club in Toronto that has gained quite the name for themselves since their inception only a year and a half ago. With all the professional teams in Toronto, 3D still managed to gain some respect. Four core athletes who play on the Toronto 3D have even been invited to private Raptor’s workouts. 3D creates a balanced program that allows Canadian basketball players to develop their talents, play semi-professional basketball and gain exposure all while transitioning into the real ‘work’ world after their college/university or pro-careers. Anything that becomes after that is just a bonus: such as players landing professional basketball contracts. For a program that has launched less than two years ago, it has accomplished a lot. They represented Canada in China in May in a tournament hosted by Beijing’s ATLAS Sports and the Chinese Basketball association where they played representatives of the NBA D-League’s IOWA Energy, Cairns Taipans the Australians NBL 1st place team and the Chinese National B team. Toronto 3D has also played against teams from the IBA, CBA, participated in the Toronto’s Pro-Am games, and went undefeated with a 13-0 record in the North Border Basketball League of 2014. The action did not stop there this summer for 3D as they even had 4 players representing them during a Pan-am game scrimmage against Brazil’s National Basketball team playing alongside Toronto Raptor’s James Johnson.
This program is starting to gain recognition and is up and coming as one of the most emerging basketball programs in Canada. Its success has landed a handful of player’s professional basketball contracts. Point guard Greg Carter out of Ottawa and a former 3X CIS Defensive player of the year received a contract with the NBL Canada Niagara River Lions. Toronto Guard Tramar Sutherland out of Toronto who played Div.1 for Little Rock Arkansas also earned himself a contract with Niagara River Lions. Denny McDonald out of Mississauga and a former Sheridan college & Trinity Western University player received a professional contract with NBL Canada’s Saint John Millrats. Shamar Coombs out of Toronto received a professional contract with the Caldas De Manizales a professional basketball club in Colombia. Overall the Toronto 3D has taken advantage of the uprising basketball opportunities in Canada and ran with it. To close the year they will have a mini tour in the United States where they will be playing against NCAA schools and semi-pro teams. With the determining goal of creating disciplined motivation, the 3D aims to help its dedicated players achieve their dreams. One things for sure is that the Toronto 3D’s future is looking bright!
Dominicana barks back defeats Canada in AmeriCup 2021 OT qualifying thriller
Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team (SMNT) shock-off a slow start, forced overtime before losing a controversial, yet thrilling 88-84 overtime road game to the Dominican Republic at the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers in Santo Domingo.
Multiple ties and a total of twelve lead changes turned up the energy as both teams exchanged jabs in an exciting fourth-quarter. Trailing 75-73 with five seconds remaining in regulation — after the Dominican Republic failed to ice the game at the free-throw line, Canada appeared to have won the contest with a walk-off game-winning three-point shot by Conor Morgan that sent the entire team running off into the tunnel for a jubilant locker-room celebration.
The euphoria quickly ended and the celebration halted as the referees reviewed the shot and confirmed it as a two pointer — overturning a correct call that sent the game into overtime after a 75-75, 40-minute deadlock.
The referee, standing within three-feet of Morgan, and with clear 2020 vision lifted her hand to signal a three-point shot, but for some odd reason changed her call. Further video evidence shot by a fan sitting courtside clearly showed, and confirmed that the Canadian player was indeed behind the three-point line, albeit being extremely close.
Canada failed to match the Dominican Republic’s intensity early on and trailed 18-9 with 2:01 to play in a physical, foul-plagued, slow-moving first-quarter that finished with the home team ahead 22-16 after 10 minutes. Overall the Canadian’s shot just 3-for-12, turned the ball over six times but stayed within striking distance thanks to 9-of-12 free-throws.
The whistles kept on coming, the fouls started to pile-up and the pace turned to a snails’ race as both teams struggled to get anything going in the second-quarter. Canada’s Aaron Best acrobatic layup and thunderous inbounds alley-oop energized Team Canada. A late Dominican Republic triple maintained their six-point cushion with a 39-33 half-time lead in a evenly played 17-17 quarter.
The late arriving home crowd continued to fill the Palacio de los Desportes arena just in time to see the local team extend the lead to a game-high 10-points with the scoreboard showing 50-40 with 3:09 to play in the third-quarter.
Philip Scrubb (Richmond, BC) quickly shifted the momentum in Canada’s favour with a personal 9-0 run on back-to-back triples and an old-fashioned hoop plus the harm three-point play forcing a Dominican timeout. Canada extended the run to 12-0, contributed by poor-fouling shooting by the Dominican Republic to take a 52-50 lead.
With the game hanging in the balance in the extra session Luis Montero drilled a clutch spot-up baseline three-pointer to give the Dominican Republic a 86-82 edge as they hung on for the thrilling overtime win.
Scrubb finished with a game-high 26 points on 6-of-13 field goals, 4-of-9 triples and 10-of-13 free-throws. The CD Estudiantes guard of the Spanish Liga ACD added 6 assists, 2 rebounds in nearly 40 minutes of game action. Kaza Kajami-Keane (Ajax, Ont.) hit some big shots and finished with 15 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds and Aaron Best (Toronto, Ont.) was great with 15 points, 3 rebounds on 6-of-11 field-goals and 3-of-7 triples before fouling out.
Andrew Nicholson failed to find any consistency and fouled out in the three-quarter with 7 points and 6 rebounds. In total four Canadian players were disqualified as Canada was called for a total 32 team-fouls.
Eloy Vargas once again was the top player for the Dominican Republic with 16 points and 5 rebounds. The veteran 6’11 forward and former Kentucky Wildcat had and outstanding showing in the opening window of the 2021 FIBA Americas qualifiers. Rigoberto Mendoza added 12 points, 4 rebounds and Gelvis Salon stuffed the statsheet with 10 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds.
The Dominican connected on 31-of-72 (43.1%) field goals, including 9-of-27 (33%) from downtown and a sub-par 17-of-31 (54.8%) from the foul-line. Team Canada finished 25-of-65 (38.5%) from the floor, 11-of-32 (34.4%) from three-point land and slightly improved free-throw shooting 23/33 (69.7%).
Canada (1-1) will resume the FIBA 2021 AmeriCup qualifiers on November 26, 2020 with a game against Cuba (1-1).
Canada romps Dominican Republic in opener of FIBA AmeriCup 2021 qualifiers
Canada kicked-off the 2021 FIBA AmeriCup qualifiers with a lopsided 89-72 home win over the visiting Dominican Republic at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre (CRWC) in Oshawa, Ontario.
Trailing 40-35 at half-time Team Canada outscored the opposition 54-32 in the second-half to pull away for the double-digit 17-point win. Canada outscored the Dominican 30-18 in the third-quarter and further limited the Caribbean nation to only 14 points in the final 10 minutes.
Andrew Nicholson (Mississauga, Ont.) playing in his first game for Canada since 2017, paced four players in double-figures with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. A key figure on offense for Canada, the 6’10’ former NBA bigmen connected on 7-17 shots and threw-down several dunks — including a big time one-hander that got the standing room crowd to it’s feet.
Philip Scrubb (Richmond, BC) continued to prove his worth with 14 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists on 3-of-7 three-pointers. Kaza Kajami-Keane (Ajax, Ont.) sliced and diced his way to 12 points, a game-high 8 assists and 3 rebounds. Former Ryerson Rams’ guard Aaron Best (Scarborough, Ont.) rounded out the top scorers in the starting line-up with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists.
Trae Bell-Haynes (Toronto, Ont.) played well in his national team debut with 9 points, 4 assists and MiKyle McIntosh (Toronto, Ont.) 9 points, 5 assists helped Canada’s bench outscore the Dominican Republic 32-12. All 12 Canadian players got in the game and 11 scored at 3 points.
Canada, ranked 21st in the FIBA world rankings knocked down 32-of-61 (52.5%) field goals and hit on 13-of-34 triples. The foul-shooting on the other hand was pretty poor, with Team Canada findin the bottom of the net on just 12-of-21 (57.1%) attempts.
Canada’s defensive pressure forced the Dominican’s into 20 turnovers — leading to 29 points off of those mistakes for the Canadian’s.
No. 19 Dominican Republic, returned eight players from the 2019 World Cup. Victor Liz the team’s leading scorer in China had a game-high 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Eloy Vargas was next in line with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists and Angel Delgado finished with a near double-double with 12 points and 8 rebounds.
Unforeseen last minute technicalities forced the game to be moved from the Tribute Communities Centre to Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre — the beautiful new home of the Durham College Lords and University of Ontario Tech Ridgebacks.
The two teams will play again on Monday in the Dominican Republic. A road victory in hostile territory would put Team Canada in good shape to win Group C with upcoming games against No. 50 ranked Virgin Islands and No. 64 Cuba in the two remaining qualification windows.