The Alabama Crimson Tide led by former NBA Head Coach Avery Johnson, a 16-year veteran and NBA champion point-guard during his playing days will bring his highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide to Canada for series of games against Canada’s top university basketball programs.
The Crimson Tide will visit both Montreal and Ottawa for a three-game exhibition schedule against McGill Redmen (Mon Aug 7), Carleton Ravens (Wed Aug 9) and the Ottawa Gee-Gees (Thu Aug 10).
The Tide competed hard last year and took a step in the right direction with a 19-15 record, 10-8 SEC record and have NCAA March Madness tournament aspirations thanks to solid recruiting class which ranks amongst the nations best.
Led by a talented crop of returning guards, Dazon Ingram (10.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG), Riley Norris (9 PPG, 3 RPG), the coaches son Avery Johnson Jr. and forwards Braxton Key the Tide will be a handful for the it’s Canadian opposition.
Key a 6’8″, 220 lbs flirted with the 2017 NBA draft after a stellar freshman season, the Charlotte, NC native led ‘Bama in scoring with 12 point per game and was second in rebounding at 5.7 per game. The Tide will also welcome incoming red-shirt sophomore 6’10”, 240lbs Daniel Giddens to a line-up that returns four starters.
Alabama anchored by current NBA player Alonzo Gee (Denver Nuggets) last visited Canada back in 2007 and finished with a record of 4-1 against the same exact teams, dropping a tight 83-72 decision against the Carleton Ravens who have won seven straight Canadian titles including 13-of the-last-15 championships.
Carleton’s signature win over Alabama was only their second ever against a NCAA division one team after 16-game losing streak from 1999 to 2006. The Ravens current record against NCAA teams in Canada stands at an impressive 26-23 (.531%) record.
The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina Ionescu
There’s no business, like unfinished business.
Most great basketball stars take their smartphone penmanship to ‘The Players Tribune’ to announce a change of game and mind move to greener pastures, which seems to be the new trend like Kung Fu Kenny headbands. But not the green duck of Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu. In a pen drop moment she dropped the mic as she made a declaration like Leonardo DiCaprio staring at all that love in the boardroom in ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’.
“I’m not f##### leaving!”
O.K. she didn’t say it quite like that. Rather more eloquently in the form of a love letter to her state and basketball mind. She may have that Eurostep stop on a dime from downtown that puts in that change and pops the button like James Harden. She may have film broke down by the mamba mentality of the one and only Kobe Bryant. Or articles wrote about her by this writers’ writing inspiration Shea Serrano of The Ringer. She may have even gone number one if she put in her draft card this year.
But the WNBA can wait.
Green with envy and legendary shades she may be the next great of this game like the Storm of Sue Bird to Breanna Stewart. She’s the type of player that’s so good to watch she could even get away with taking more steps than ladders like most of those NBA folks. But no! An inspired Ionescu is doing things the right way. After being made by Baylor, the ducks will quack again. And they will do so with their top billing. Sabrina will return for one last run. She’s got the rest of her playing career to be a WNBA legend for whatever team from the Sparks to Mercury picks her. But the Pac-12 Wade trophy winner has only got one last chance at a Final Four dance after the madness that is March.
Just look at the above picture. She’s only got so long for this. To be a kid. She may be far from ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’, but this maturing talent is still young. To be that again, we should just be happy she still has that chance. One chance to make the Ducks mighty again. To have those best years of your life with the best friends you’ll ever meet. These are her memories. Her signed sneakers and scissored nets. Who are any of us to take that away. We can wait. As her parquet paths next year to the big leagues will be like this season’s road to Zion.
The two time Nancy Lieberman award winner will take her L ready 19.9 points, 8.2 assists and 7.4 rebounds averages to one last ride and stand in Oregon. Flying with the 18 record of the most career triple doubles in NCAA history. She won’t be in New York next month, but she’ll be writing in more history books next year as other teams bet it all on some bouncing balls. And if you think this game is all about the big league and the big payday, then this outstanding Oregon statement doesn’t give a duck.
“I won’t predict exactly how far we’re going to go….. but I’ll just say this. We have unfinished business. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.”
Time to get back to work and take everyone back to school.
R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson make All-America First Team
Canada’s most-hyped recruit makes history.
Canada’s R.J. Barrett has been named a first-team Associated Press All-American, and finished second in AP Player of the Year voting to teammate Zion Williamson.
Barrett and Williamson, who led Duke to the NCAA men’s basketball Elite Eight this season, are only the second set of freshmen teammates to make the AP First Team.
Kentucky’s John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins were the first to manage the feat in 2010.
Barrett (Mississauga, Ont.) was one of Duke’s most effective players, averaging 22.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.
He received two votes for AP Player of the Year, but Williamson — who electrified fans with his other-worldly athleticism — was the runaway winner.
Williamson, the projected No. 1 pick in this summer’s NBA Draft, received 59 of 64 votes for the award.
Murray State’s Ja Morant, Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter and Michigan State’s Cassius Winston were the only others players to receive votes, with one apiece.
Barrett is also a projected NBA lottery pick, and is the most-hyped Canadian recruit since Andrew Wiggins, who went No. 1 overall in 2014.
Wiggins has struggled to live up to the hype that surrounded him in high school, and Barrett has faced similarly colossal expectations.
Barrett entered Duke as the nation’s top recruit after winning a national U.S. high school championship with Florida’s Montverde Academy in 2018.
And there have been gripes about his perceived effectiveness in comparison to the media coverage he has received.
An anonymous survey of 110 U.S. college players by The Athletic this year named Barrett college basketball’s most overrated player.
But in the same poll Barrett also receive votes for “best player in the game,” and he was routinely praised for his performances Duke.
USA Today also named Barrett its 2019 national college player of the year.
“While Zion Williamson might beat Barrett for the No. 1 pick in June’s NBA draft, Barrett proved to be the more impressive college player,” USA Today wrote.
“The freshman carried the load when Williamson was hurt for six games, spearheading the Blue Devils to three wins in March that helped them become the NCAA tournament’s top overall seed.
“When Duke was at full strength, he gave the team a scorer who wanted the ball at the end of the game.”
Some have speculated Barrett’s ceiling as a pro will be similar to that of mid-level stars like DeMar DeRozan and Jimmy Butler.
He is still projected as a top-three pick in the NBA Draft, scheduled for June 20 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Barrett is the son of Canada Basketball general manager and former Olympian Rowan Barrett, and R.J. has been a fixture in Canada’s national program.
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