Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Basketball, Canadian Style...Sort Of

Over the weekend I was able to take in the Can Am Shootout at Scotiabank Place which saw a double header of the Ottawa Gee Gees vs. South Alabama Jaguars in the first game followed by The Carleton Ravens versus the defending NCAA National Champion Kansas Jayhawks. The turnout was decent, not packed but as far as basketball in Ottawa goes I’d say pretty impressive (announced a shade over 7,000, although that may be generous). The 2nd match was really why I was there. To see, effectively the top teams from each country, obviously Kansas lost a few players from last year that led the comeback against Memphis in the Tournament and Carleton was upset and its run of CIS championships have been halted but still probably the best program in the country, it was still a good bill.The first game live up to what it was...a warm up, the game had little flow, poor execution and just a parade to the free throw line.Even the announcer sounded 2nd rate, basketball was not his forte. It was like the guy from the epic Fresh Prince Episode and every time he spoke to announce a basket all I heard was “In your face Will Smith, it doesn’t get any better then this” and “In your face Markus Stokes, Bel Air Prep up by 1”. In the second game of the double header it was clear that I wasn’t the only one more geared for that tilt. It was night and day from the first contest. That game was fast, the shooting was good, plays and passes were crisp and executed and the ball movement... well there actually was some. Even just looking at the team Kansas looked better, the players just looked bigger carried themselves larger and had more of tat, lets say “swagger”. I am sure that the Jayhawks didn’t throw their #1 lineup out and it is still very early in the year for college basketball so it is more about learning and in some cases probably just making the team.I don’t put too much stock in that Carleton managed to only lose by 1 but it was still a good showing and they hug with he team they played.It is rare that a defending National Champion would be in Canada playing let alone in Ottawa so this was a must see event for me to see. The cost was great and the entertainment value was great. For that reason is why I would like to take in the World JR. Hockey Tournament. Local and something that won’t come around too often, if ever again especially so conveniently close.

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