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Khem Birch Steals the show at 2011 Mcdonald’s All-American Game

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Yes, we all know the story Canadian Basketball is on the rise. Tristan Thompson, Myck Kabongo, Cory Joseph, Andrew Nicholson, Kyle Witjer and of course the main event Montreal’s own and Pitt Panthers bound Khem Birch.

The 2011 McDonald’s All-American Game featured a star studded line-up and a record crowd on hand that most major sports owners would envy for.

The finale of the 2011 Burger game recorded its highest attendance in the history of the event with just over 20000 people in the building as the DRose and the Chicago Bulls hit the road and made way for the next generation of NBA stars to shine at the United Center.

Scouts, media, coaches and the hall-of-famers where all on hand to get a early glimpse of the next great one.

Canadian Basketball was well represented by a record setting three players who took to the hardwood to display their skills.

The game was exciting from the jump as both teams got up and down and scrapped for every possession and loose ball.

In the end the East squad pulled off a 101-96 victory over the West behind North Carolina bound James McAdoo and Kentucky Wildcats Michael Gilchrist 17-points.

The game featured 21 dunks and was the most successful since King James made his appearance and won the 2003 MVP award in his hometown of Cleveland.

Coming into the week a lot of buzz was on the three Canadian Basketball kids who made history.

Myck Kabongo, Kyle Wiltjer and Khem Birch all got their fair share of buzz through the event. All three players participate and faired well on the pre-game activities. Kyle Wiltjer was crowned three-point king despite his 6-10 frame, Myck Kabongo finished a not so distant second in the skills competition, while Khem Birch competed well in the dunk contest.

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The soft spoken and humble Birch promised a strong performance after taking it easy and cruising for much of the week due to an eye injury which occurred during practice.

Montreal native Khem Birch had the most impressive game out of the three Canadian Basketball Players.

Birch a 6-8 freak of nature is considered the top Canadian basketball prospect and sure enough he left many in awe after his near triple double of 15 points, 10 rebounds and 6 blocks in a losing effort.

Birch will most certainly be in consideration for the 2012 NCAA Freshmen of the year award and made a case for Mcdonalds Game MVP with his performance at the biggest stage.

His impact on the court is felt on both ends, his superior athletic ability and raw talent allow him to disrupt shots on the defensive end and cause nightmares for opposing bigs trying to keep him off the offensive glass.

In a game which featured 2011 player of the year Austin Rivers and  co-game-MVP recipients James McAdoo and Michael Gilchrist amongst other studs its worth noting that a Canadian stole the show. All by himself.

“I worked hard to get position and scored without any plays being called for me.” I got everything myself,” Birch said.

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NCAA

Carleton Ravens and Syracuse Orange set to tangle once again

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Carleton Ravens And Syracuse Orange Set To Tangle Once Again

Defending champions Carleton University Ravens will once again tangle with the Syracuse Orange in a marquee match-up between U Sports and NCAA powerhouses.

The Ravens will make their second trip to the Carrier Dome on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 to wrap-up another jammed-packed 2019-2020 exhibition schedule.

The two schools first played back on August 23rd 2013 in Ottawa with Syracuse winning a thrilling 69-65 overtime victory as part of Syracuse’s Canada tour and the debut of Canadian point guard Tyler Ennis

The Orange also got the best of the Ravens, pulling-off a 88-76 win on November 2nd 2014.

The 2019-2020 will mark the debut season for new Ravens head coach Taffe Charles who takes over for Dave Smart who surprised the entire college basketball landscape by announcing his sudden retirement.

Montreal’s freshman Quincy Guerrier alongside junior point guard Howard Washington (Buffalo/NY) are the latest Canadian’s to suite-up for legendary player, turned hall-of-hame coach Jim Boeheim, who has been at the helm since 1976.

Boeheim is the king of getting Canadians in the NBA — having single-handily responsible for overseeing the growth of Leo Rautins, Kris Joseph, Tyler Ennis, Andy Rautins, and now Oshae Brissett and if it all pans out — potentially Guerrier as well.

Under the guidance of their own legendary hall-of-fame coach Dave Smart the Ravens played a Canadian record 59 games against NCAA teams – earning a more than respectable 41-51 record from 1999-2018.

The Ravens boasted an unreal and never to be broken 37-24 winning record against NCAA teams on Canadian soil but mustered-up only one victory in the USA — beating Providence 77-67 in October 28, 2017.

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NCAA

James Naismith Classic NCAA triple-header to feature big names

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James Naismith Classic Toronto Ncaa Basketball

For the past 20 years NCAA basketball teams have been making the trip north of the border to take on Canadian U Sports teams in early August as part of the NCAA vs. U Sports exhibition series.

Now it looks like we are ready for the next step — regular season, non-conference games between NCAA schools on fertile Canadian basketball soil.

According to multiple reports, and now officially released a massive six-team, non-conference, regular-season triple-header clash is set for Saturday, November 16th, 2019 in Toronto at the Scotiabank Arena.

Sponsored by the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame — the St. Bonaventure Bonnies (A-10) will take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (Big 10). The Buffalo Bulls (MAC) will face the Harvard Crimson (Ivy) and the Tennessee Volunteers (SEC) will square off against the Pac 12 champions Washington Huskies.

Eugene South Carolina Rutgers Set To Clash In Toronto Ncaa Regular Season Game
Eugene Omoruyi set to clash with South Carolina Gamecocks in Toronto – Photo: Rutgers

A total of six Canadian’s could be featured in the marque homecoming event including, Rutgers’ Eugene Omoruyi (Rexdale, Ont.), Harvard’s Danilo Djuricic Brampton, Ont.), and Luka Sakota (Oakville, Ont.). The Crimson also features Ottawa, Ont. duo Noah Kirkwood and Corey Johnson. Buffalo’s Dominic Johnson (Windsor, Ont.) would round-out the potential list.

Omoruyi a 6’7″, 234-pound bruising senior forward is coming off of his best season — leading the Scarlet Knights in scoring and rebounds at a respective 13.8 and 7.2 per game.

Noah Kirkwood Harvard Basketball NCAA Triple Header Clash
Noah Kirkwood controls the pace against Georgetown Hoyas – Photo: Harvard Athletics

Noah Kirkwood (6’7, 215 lbs) guard had a productive freshman season with 11.1 rebounds, 4.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists as the Crimson (18-11, 10-4 Conf) just missed out on the 2019 NCAA March Madness tournament with a close loss to Yale in the conference title game.

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The Buffalo Bulls’ are coming off their most successful season in the program’s history with an outstanding 32-4, 16-2 record and a six-seed in the West region.†

Lamonte Turner Tennessee Volunteers Toronto NCAA Basketball Triple Header
Lamonte Turner & Tennessee Volunteers featured in Toronto NCAA Basketball Triple Header

The marquee match-up pits the Tennessee Volunteers against the Washington Huskies. Tennessee finished second in the SEC with a strong 31-6, 15-3 campaign for head coach Rick Barnes – bowing out to Purdue in the Sweet 16.

The Huskies, although not a traditional Canadian destination, will become the first NCAA men’s basketball team to make back-to-back trips to Canada.

In 2018 the Vancouver Showcase tipped off — bringing four NCAA men’s (Washington, Santa Clara, Minnesota, Texas A&M) and eight women’s basketball team’s to the west coast of Canada — marking the first time NCAA division one games played in Canada counted as non-conference records.

With Toronto continuously out-churning the mecca (New York City) and other traditional American powerhouses for quality NCAA and NBA basketball prospects — it makes more than dollars and cents — much like the Empire Classic — to ensure that the northern city that never sleeps has it’s annual NCAA regular season dosage.

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