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Ottawa Basketball – 2013-2014 Season Preview

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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-calibre 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-calibre 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-calibre 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.

Must Read:  Carleton Ravens go undefeated in Can-Am Shootout

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.

Men

Highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide Return To Canada

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Alabama Crimson Tide Avery Johnson Return To Canada

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.

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Men

Calgary Dinos Thomas Cooper Senior Highlights

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Calgary Dinos Thomas Cooper Senior Highlights

Calgary Dinos senior guard Thomas Cooper had himself and impressive CIS/Usports career to say the least. The Chattanooga, Tenn. native, a 6-5, 200 lbs guard earned himself two first team All-Canadian awards while leading Dinos back to the championship game for the first time since 1966.

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Men

No. 1 Carleton Ravens 81-40 lock-up rivals No. 2 Ottawa Gee-Gees

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Eddie Ekiyor Carleton Ravens Vs.Ottawa Gee Gees USports Basketball
Photo - Valerie Wutti

Ottawa, ON – The twelve-time defending CIS/USports National Basketball Champions and No.1 Carleton Ravens went into Monpetit Hall and completely dominated the No. 2 ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees, locking up their Bytown rivals with a blistering 81-40 win.

The Ravens, the top defensive unit in the country, allowing an incredible low of only 60 points to opponents, dominated every aspect of the much anticipated game holding Ottawa to four points in the first-quarter and thirteen in the second for a grand total of seventeen first-half points and 35-17 half-time lead.

The first-quarter ended with Ravens leading 11-4 as both teams slugged it out in front of a jam packed standing room only Monpetit Hall which hasn’t seen the Gee-Gees get dismantled like this on their home floor in 32-game OUA conference games – snapping home winning streak which dated back to 2012.

Fifth-year senior Guard Connor Wood caught fire in the second-quarter after a cold start scoring all but 14 of the teams 24 points in the quarter and finished with 16 in the half and game-high 19 points. Starting point guard Kaza Kajami-Keane added 10 points, six rebounds in just 19 minutes.

The Gee-Gees were limited to 6-of-32 (18.8%) shooting, 3-of-17 from the outside in the opening 20 minutes and managed to only connect on 12-56 (21.4%) of their field goal attempts for the entire game and only 6-of-26 from the outside.

Carleton shot 50% in the second-half and finished 31-68 from the floor and 13-of-28 from downtown while turning the ball over 9 times compared to the Gee-Gees 18.

Must Read:  Carleton Ravens defensive pressure too much for Memphis Tigers

The 40 points allowed by the Ravens is their lowest against the Gee-Gees since a 74-34 smack-down in January 18th, 2012 at the Sixth Annual Capital Hoops Classic.

Carleton Ravens 6’10” freshman Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, ON) and senior forward Ryan Ejim (Toronto, ON) finished one point shy of double-doubles with 9 points and 8 rebounds respectively, and shutdown the Gee-Gees dynamic duo of Caleb Agada (12 points, 4 rebounds) and former Ravens Jean Emmanuel Pierre (7 points, 6 rebounds). Gee-Gees Guard Brandon Robinson had a team-high 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting, 3-of-4 triples.

Carleton’s record  stays unblemished at a perfect 10-0, 16-0 against Canadian competition and 22-2 overall with the only losses coming from two NCAA opponents on the road in Rhode Island – Providence Friars 87-69 and in Philadelphia against LaSalle Explorers 79-73.

Both teams will meet again in just over two weeks (Feb 3rd) at the 2017 Capital Hoops Classic at the ScotiaBank Centre.

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