I have a great deal of passion and love for the Toronto Raptors. That being said, my passion for Canada to succeed internationally is likely more. There are lots of great folks that work hard to cover Canadians in B-Ball. Ray Bala at Raptors HQ does a fantastic job at it. From time to time I try to do some Canada Basketball talk here as well. Today is one of those days. Raptors wise I will be talking with Jack Armstrong tomorrow and that interview should be out late Tuesday or Wednesday.
I will start on the positive in that it sure was nice to see on Twitter that a lot of people were watching Canada playing in their first 2 games at the worlds. It did not turn into lots of people in the stands in exhibition games at the ACC which Canada won over France. But when the lights came on for the Worlds it was Canada losing to Lebanon 81-71. The next day against a much more talented team from Lituania who won 70-68. For Raptor fans Linas Keliza had 18 points and 10 rebounds in that game by the way.
Now granted this is a banged up group for Canada. That is what we are going to hear and it is fact. That being said Canada was life and death to make this tournament in the first place. While the program as a whole is having success, the senior Men's team has had limited success. Both Jr. programs won bronze medals earlier this summer. In terms of the men's team if they make it out of group play some would call that a success.
Canada has some real talent coming in the next few years and it is important that this team has a solid foundation to be ready for that. Andy Rautins no question belongs on team Canada. In fact you can say that he is the best offensive player they have and it would be hard to argue that point. That being said I am pretty sure he plays even if his dad is not the coach. Leo Rautins is just not the guy to lead this program to the next level. I give him a ton of credit for his efforts and his passion for the program. However his lack of ability to get top players into the fold is a concern. Why has he not been able to convince Canada's greatest basketball player to suit up for Canada? Why was he not able to come to a better conclusion with Sam Dalembert? Why did he even bother trying to recruit Jamal Maglorie?
Leo's lack of coaching experience is a concern and it shows in the lack of execution on both ends of the floor. Canada seems doomed to not make it out of group play now with the 2 losses on the weekend. It is time for a change, and a new coach to take this team to the next level and to try to floor a team in the Olympics in England.
Canada needs to get this right and start to produce in basketball. If you want to have the money to succeed you need to win. But the talent is there to produce and it is time to have the coaching match this level of talent.
So, I am back after a mini-break and back with Jack tomorrow or Wednesday.