Apologies to my family in Kentucky, but you just have to love this guy.
Christian Laettner’s NBA career-from Minnesota to Miami-may have amounted to as much as a former hot star, flaming out as a journeyman looking to collect as many boo’s as frequent flyer miles, but this kid was one of the greatest collegiate players of all-time. Even bitter, Michigan Fab Five rival Jalen Rose attests to this fact.
So in a March Madness, NBA rivaling, NCAA, top flight, commercial, televised college game this kind of technically makes him one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball. The Devil of Coach K’s Duke that left every opponent blue in a Cinderella pretender dress will even let you hear it.
Hate him now, but there’s a thin line between love and hate. To some it’s one and the same. And in this game and entertainment league of competitive sports you need this. Just hear him say it. Everybody loves the bad guy. The villain. From Reggie Miller to the Joker. Every Superman needs his Lex Luthor. Even if this Luthor is stomping and kicking around like a bully. Making gestures to the crowd with his chin, whilst wearing the victory, scissor cut down netting from the hoop of the Final Four round his neck, like he was a rapper rocking a gold chain. Laettner may have looked like a do-good, pretty campus boy, but he knew swag. He knew confidence. He knew cocky. They saw arrogance. They saw obnoxious.
Well now we can all see ‘I Hate Christian Laettner’. Like all those ‘I Still Hate Laettner’ t-shirts round the UK, with his ‘Love’ response and his now tongue-in-cheek sportsmanship shown from hilarious photo ops. Kicking it with rival fans, whilst cleaning up the Rupp Arena floor like he used to do as a player, but this time with a towel. Now all that’s thrown in, this ESPN documentary narrated by ‘West Wing’ actor, fellow 80’s pretty boy Rob Lowe looks back with nostalgic retrospect and keep your enemies closer respect.
In the classic ’30 For 30′ series which has offered us great documentaries from the Michigan ‘Fab Five’ to the Detroit Piston ‘Bad Boys’, this new episode that premiered aptly last weekend is one of the best. Even amongst the story of Magic’s announcement, Michael Jordan’s retirement to baseball and the moving eulogy to who could have been the next Celtic great in Len Bias. With inspired influence from Laettner himself and his Duke Blue Devil times from the fire to the prongs of what was at stake this right now could even rival the Showtime of Kobe Bryant’s ‘Muse’ as the two legendary, greatest competitors of all-time go head-to-head for new television ratings.
Now you hate me to say it, but that’s something everyone can love!
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.
James Naismith Classic NCAA triple-header to feature big names
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
According to multiple reports, and now
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.
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
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 (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.
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.
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.