The 2013-2014 season promises to be exciting for Ottawa basketball fans. The introduction of professional basketball with the Ottawa SkyHawks, the return of the CIS Final 8 and Carleton University seeking their 10th CIS championship will all draw attention to basketball in Ottawa.
The Canadian Tire Centre’s newest tenant and NBL Canada’s newest franchise, the Ottawa SkyHawks have promised to deliver “a championship-caliber team to the nation’s capital and doing so with a strong Canadian presence”. Their first step towards delivering on that commitment, going all-Canadian in the draft, was to select Toronto-native Alex “Superman” Johnson first overall and followed-up by drafting two Ottawa natives, Manock Lual and Eric Kibi. In total 6 of the 12 players confirmed to attend the training camp is Canadian, all with NCAA division 1 or professional experience. Having delivered on the Canadian presence, the SkyHawks journey towards delivering a championship-caliber team will begin with their home and season opener against the Windsor Express on November 2nd in a city that is used to championship basketball.
The Carleton Ravens have built a legacy of high-caliber basketball in the nation’s capital. The 9-time national champions appear set to make it an even ten and made a clear statement in the pre-season defeating three Division 1 NCAA opponents, Towson, Texas Christian and Wisconsin. They fell just short of sweeping the series in a nail-biting overtime loss to the third ranked Syracuse Orange proving they’re ready to go toe-to-toe with the best.
The Ravens biggest challenge in obtaining their 10th title may come from their cross-town rivals the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees. The Gee-Gees were ranked third going into last season’s CIS finals, and took their first ever CIS medal winning the Bronze in an overtime thriller over the Acadia Axemen. If the team can build on last-season’s success, we could be looking at an all-Ottawa fight for CIS gold.
If the cross-town rivals do find themselves competing for the gold, they will do so at home at the Canadian Tire Centre that, once again, will host the CIS Men’s Final 8. The Gee-Gees and Ravens won’t be the only ones with their eyes on the championship. While Carleton is guaranteed a berth in the final 8 as the host team, Ottawa will need to earn their spot. Even if they do, 6 other teams will be competing to dethrone Carleton and claim the championship.
The CIS excitement doesn’t end there, as Carleton University and Ottawa University women’s teams earned Silver and Bronze respectively during last season’s OUA playoffs, earning both teams a trip to their CIS Final 8. Both teams faltered during the quarter-finals. The women at both schools will be looking to improve on those performances and earn medals of their own.
If professional basketball and CIS aren’t enough to feed your basketball cravings, youth basketball is alive and well in the capital with local clubs playing in the EOBA and OBA. High school basketball will be returning to full capacity after last season’s work action shutdown many basketball programs. Rounding out the youth basketball offerings, the Ottawa Guardsmen and Ottawa Youth Basketball Academy will participate in the Canadian Youth Basketball League’s inaugural season and Ottawa will host the CYBL championships in June.
As the Carleton Ravens thrive to assert their CIS dominance, the Ottawa SkyHawks will have to battle to win games and earn the fan following they will need to survive. With all these options, Ottawa basketball fans shouldn’t have any difficulty keeping themselves busy this season.
Carl English amazing 58-point effort sets NBL Canada scoring record
The return of long time fan favorite Carl English to Canada was definitely a moment not to be slept on.
English whose story is well chronicled has had an outstanding 15-year professional career across the top international leagues. A veteran member of Canada Senior Men’s National Team he decided to bring it full circle and concluded his storied career in his hometown province of St. Johns, Newfoundland.
When news broke that he was returning home it also meant that those same East Coast supporters who grew-up watching a young skinny grade ten kid would also get another opportunity to watch him once again showcase his game. English went from dropping 50-point games in high school to becoming only the third player from Newfoundland to play division one NCAA basketball.
On Saturday night, against the visiting Kitchen Waterloo Titans and with March Madness in full swing, the now 37 year-old English, delighted the fans once more with an incredible 58-point career-high performance to set the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC) scoring record. English connected on 17-of-33 shots, 13/14 free-throws and nailed an incredible 11-of-20 three-point attempts in 127-117 win at Mile One Centre.
The previous record was held by Moncton’s Devin Sweetney in 2013 against the defunct Montreal Jazz.
English currently leads the NBLC in scoring in scoring at 25 points per game, shooting 44% from the floor and 38.5 from the outside, he also averages 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and has the St. John Edge eyeing a deep playoff run and potential championship.
River Lions Springer-Williams Jr. buries 10-of-12 triples, one shy of NBL Canada record
Niagara River Lions guard Clinton Springer-Williams Jr. buried a career-best 10-of 12 triples on his way to a 38-point night in a 108-93 win over the Windsor Express. Springer-Williams Jr. impressive performance came-up just short of Omar’ Strong’s NBL Canada record eleven three-pointers.
Springer-Williams Jr. shot 10-of-15 from the field, including for 4-of-5 from the charity stripe, he’s averaging 10.7 points per game and a scorching hot 46% from downtown for the up-start River Lions.
Niagara River Lions Clinton Springer-Williams Nails Step-Back Home-Opener Game-Winner
Welcome to the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC).
The Niagara River Lions playing in the franchise’s first-ever home opener were treated to a buzzer beating shot from familiar player.
Former Brock Badgers and 2010 CIS Men’s Basketball Rookie of the Year drilled home a beautiful step-back three-pointer as the upstart Niagara River Lions coached by Ken Murray (Former Brock Badgers Head oach) defeated the London Lightning 106-104 in dramatic fashion in front of 2800 plus fan at Meridian Centre. in St. Catherines, Ontario. Clinton Springer-Williams finished the night with 15 points and eight rebounds as Niagara improved to 1-1 in their inaugural season.
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