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Toronto NCAA basketball triple-header to feature big names

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Aj Lawson South Carolina Rutgers Set To Clash In Toronto Ncaa Regular Season Game
A.J Lawson - South Carolina Gamecocks

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.

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According to multiple reports, 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 South Carolina Gamecocks (SEC) 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 seven Canadian’s could be featured in the marque homecoming event including, South Carolina’s standout freshman A.J. Lawson (Toronto), 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.

Lawson a 6’6″ 172 lbs guard is currently testing the NBA Draft process after averaging 13.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game for head coach Frank Martin.

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.

South Carolina had it’s up’s and down’s with a 16-16, 11-7 SEC conference record — Rutgers’ is looking to improve from their 14-17 record, 7-13 in Big 10.

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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NCAA

The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina Ionescu

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The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina Ionescu
The Duck Stays Here...

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’.

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“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.

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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.

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NCAA

R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson make All-America First Team

Canada’s most-hyped recruit makes history.

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R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson make All-America First Team

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.

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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.

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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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