Basketball: Doornekamp sucker-punched during friendly

So much for the term "friendly."

Recent Carleton grad Aaron Doornekamp was on the end of an inexcusable act by Italy's Stefano Mancinelli, who sucker-punched the former Raven with about 12 seconds left during Canada's game in Treviso on Saturday, causing the benches to clear. Striking another player is beyond the pale in basketball. As the clip shows, Doornekamp did not have enough time to raise his hands in self-defence.

(Update, 9 p.m. Aug. 3: Sun Media's Mike Koreen talked to Doornekamp for a follow-up, for any readers who are interested. The gist of it is that Doornekamp was not hurt and it was a chippy game.)

The Italian media reports, as best can be discerned from doing some Babelfishing, seemed to be saying Doornekamp elbowed Mancinelli. Apparently, it was a chippy game between the teams, who were playing for the second time in a week and the referees might have lost control of the contest. It is unclear if that reference to an elbow refers to a previous play or when the two came together when Doornekamp thrust out his arm after Mancinelli popped out to try and intercept a pass.

(Update: Coach Leo Rautins told Sun Media "It's all good ... no big deal" and added Doornekamp was uninjured. It was a lead item at

What a way to learn rissa is the Italian word for "brawl."

There is no illusion that Aaron Doornekamp is an angel on the court. It is hard to become a key cog in four national championship teams in five years while playing nice. Like any forward whom you would want on your basketball team, he plays with some edge, no quarter asked, none given. His style drove a lot of opponents to frustration over his five seasons with the Ravens. Perhaps this is a well, duh statement, but you know some knucklehead, perhaps a current CIS student-athlete, will say he had it coming. No one has that coming. Anyone who would say that needs to be disabused. Considering the damage a punch thrown by a 6-foot-8 man, it's fortunate there was not a serious injury.

As a larger story, this is kind of awkward. The Toronto Raptors' Andrea Bargnani and Marco Belinelli play for Italy. Raptors TV analyst Leo Rautins is Canada's coach and Maurizio Gherardini is heavily involved with the senior men's national team.

Bargnani did try to play peacemaker. Canadian forward Jesse Young seemed very agitated and Bargnani put an arm around him and said something, which seemed to calm Young down. Former Carleton guard Ryan Bell can also be seen stepping in front of a teammate to keep him from getting involved. It was ugly and there likely will be some fallout. For now, the feeling should just be a sigh of relief it was not worse.

There is plenty of coverage from Italian media here, here, here, here and here.
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  1. From watching Aaron play the last five years at Carleton, I can't be too surprised with what happened.
    "Sneaky dirty" is a term I have often heard used to describe Aaron's play.
    He is a master of engaging an opponent and then flopping so that it looks like he was worked more often then not.
    He'd get under the skin of many of his opponents including the likes of Dan Eves, Jordan Foebel and especially Dax Dessureault whom he nearly got into an altercation with one time.
    So it isn't all that shocking to see he's royally PO'ed a hot tempered Italian player.
    Good thing his old man Hank wasn't there or there really would have been an international incident.

  2. "Sneaky dirty" kind of has more than one meaning, eh? It might not be entirely negative.

    This is me talking as a fan, not a player. There should be little mirth for stuff that can put other players at risk of injury, such as Bruce Bowen's trick of putting his feet out to trip a player as he comes down after taking a jump shot. That's not cool, especially at the amateur level. It also has no purpose.

    Gulling the ref into calling the foul on the other player, playing up tight on an opposing post player so it is hard for her or him to move quickly, that is part of the game.

    Not to be too Don Cherry about it, especially not knowing the degree of Doornekamp's injury, but there is almost a perverse sense of pride about that flinty Eastern Ontario toughness causing Mancinelli to flip his lid. That is not entirely logical or rational, but neither are sports on many days.

  3. One of my vivid memories of watching Aaron Doorenkamp play five years of CIS basketball is of him diving to the floor for a loose ball,placing a forearm on an opponents neck and head and pressing it down hard, while recovering the loose ball with his other hand. No foul was called and the opponent did not confront him.

    If you look carefully at the very beginning of video clip of the Canada-Italy game on U Tube, you can see that Aaron, as he has a habbit of doing, extended his forearm and elbow into the opponent's throat and head, in an effort to keep him from getting to the basketball.
    Canada scores a lay-up on the play, no foul is called on Aaron and I assume the Italian get's tossed. A great result for Canada and yes Don Cherry and Dave Smart would be proud.
    What does Leo have to say ?

    Where do you draw the line between tough and aggressive FIAB Basketball and "dirty" play ?

    Obviously, as we have seen here,international players from other countries are less likely to tolerate some of what opponents tolerated during Aaron's career in the CIS.
    Although the retaliation is usually more timely (later in the game) and more subtle
    (the official does not see it).

  4. Not taking it doesn't mean punching someone from behind, though.

    The line is pretty straightforward. If it's something has no bearing on helping your team win the game and can potentially injury another player (like Bowen, like a hard foul on a player about to go in for a breakaway layup instead of just grabbing on to her/him), that is dirty.

    On the other hand, if you put your arm out "in an effort to keep him from getting to the basketball," well, you are trying to help your team win — you are trying to get the ball. One wonders about intent, right? Sometimes with muscle memory you can develop a habit and without knowing.

    I also did note Doornekamp "thrust out his arm" and that might have been when the elbow occurred.

    Good question what Leo thinks. I do not know Leo Rautins, I am not on Canada Basketball's media list, let alone in any inner circle.

    Again, I'll defend Doornekamp to the death.

  5. In the cementhead, dirtbag culture of hockey, this incident would pass without comment.

  6. I don't know about that ... here is one instance of someone calling Mancinelli a "Todd Bertuzzi wannabe."

  7. To the anti-hockey've got it wrong.
    Had an incident like this occurred in an NHL or junior game it most certainly would have not gone unnoticed.
    In fact, it would probably be the lead story that night.
    The fact that this incident occurred involving a member of OUR national men's basketball team and precious few media outlets even bothered to mentioned it...well, shame on us.
    What it comes to publicity, be it good or bad, our national basketball teams can't get arrested...literally.

  8. Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician noted even Canada Basketball doesn't make mention of it on their website.

  9. Sager, at least try and hide your bias for the Ravens. Karma sucks Aaron. Just wish someone had of done this a long time ago. Looks good on him...

  10. Looks good on him?
    I'll tell you what looks good on him...those 4 CIS title rings.
    The fact you actually approve of someone sucker punching ANYONE from behind tells me a lot about you, pal.

  11. No doubt you are a better person than the comment might reflect.

    You have it upside-down and backwards with regard to bias. One should be open and honest about where her/his rooting interests lie and try to move forward amicably — have a full heart about your fave teams and players, but also have clear eyes.

    Like a former Carleton admin. told me in an e-mail exchange once, "I was OK with your love of some teams (Gael's haha) because you made it honest and friendly. It also showed a human side to the coverage. But I also felt that your coverage was fair and well-reasoned when making comparisons and rating others."

    Point being, a rooting interest has to be there or nothing happens. As a user of this site, you have
    made a choice you would rather get a take from someone who is trying to meld passion with professional writing ability. It's either that or subsist on scraps, where some (not all) newspapers only send a reporter who might not be too crazy about being there once or twice a year and rewrite press releases the rest of the time. (I would like to believe this is changing, but it is not; newspapers are getting desperate, that's why it's all hockey, all the time even in August when nothing is happening.)

    You're free to disagree. I do not mind people who opt for anonymity on here, but you should put a name behind it if you are attacking the writer and the subject of a post.

    It wasn't too long ago you didn't have anyone from CIS playing regular minutes on the senior men's national team. One would think that as supporters of university sport, we might have some consideration for a young man and a family who have done a lot for basketball.

    Your contention that you "wish someone had of "done this a long time ago" is also off. Any psychologist will tell you unchecked aggression does not work. If someone had decked Aaron during a high school game, CIS game, OBA game, it would not have turned him into an angel on the court. I'm also not sure anyone should aspire to be an angel on the court. Would you want to watch a game where everyone just conceded easy layups, never dove for a ball, never used his elbow to create rebounding position? Bor-ing.

    Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing, but you are wrong. I'm always honest that I have a soft spot for Carleton, but bias? Nope. I didn't go there and no one in my family graduated from Carleton. There's only one set of colours that I bleed, baby.

  12. I certainly do not condone that sucker punch. Having said that, I do not feel the least bit sorry for Doornekamp for reasons others have articulated.

    As for bias, the only bias on this otherwise fine site is the bias in presenting Queen's as somehow being a nationally competitive football team.


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  14. Hey, the Gaels can say they have beaten Laval. Thing is, it was 1997.

  15. From the video it does look like Aaron did hit the Italian player when they were both going for the ball (Purposely or not). Also it looks like Aaron was trying to trip him.
    Aaron does play with an edge but you have to be careful when you are throwing your limbs around.
    Did Kobe not get suspended for not controling his limbs?

    The response by the Italian player though is ridiculous.You do not retaliate right at that moment! Save it for another day.

  16. Hahahah i dont think i have ever heard someone call Doornekamp "sneaky and dirty" especially when refering to him in a sentence with Desserault and Eves. He blocked Mancinelli simple as that which led to the sucker punch not an elbow. And Karma?? for what? Dedication and hard work for the ravens 4 CIS championships? We can't all get in as the wildcard...