Basketball: Doornekamp helps Canada qualify for worlds

It's not for nothing Aaron Doornekamp wears No. 11 for Team Canada.

The Carleton Ravens alumnus, to quote Spinal Tap, provided the extra push over the cliff by draining two three-pointers in the final quarter in Canada's near-heart-stopping 80-76 win over the Dominican Republic at the FIBA Americas qualifier on Friday. The first stretched the lead from three to six, and the second, with 1:26 left, opened a four-point edge, the final winning margin for Canada's cardiac kids. He also had something to do with Dominican forward Charlie Villanueva, the one-time Toronto Raptor, having a 7-for-20 shooting night.

The old theatre line about how there are no small roles comes to mind. This was all about monster efforts from Jermaine Anderson, Carl English, Andy Rautins, Jesse Young and Levon Kendall, first and foremost. Still, there is a little symbolism involved with a player from a Canadian university playing a big part in what hopefully was a watershed moment for Canada Basketball. There really is not a whole lot more to add. The tweets Charlie V. posted after the game also convey what a stomach-punch loss it was for the Dominicans, who have not been to the worlds since 1978.

Greater hoser hoops minds can better tell the broader story, presumably once they have been peeled off the ceiling. Doug Smith of the Toronto Star wrote, "The magnitude of the win cannot be overstated. With solid development programs at the under-19 and under-17 levels, Canada desperately needed to see some success at the senior level to give the teenagers something to aspire to."

Canada qualifies! (Mark Wacyk,
Odessa basketball star helps Canada qualify for world championship (Kingston Whig-Standard)
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  1. Great win for Canada, but wow, what a brutal tournament format.
    Canada has played eight games so far since Aug 26, and will play a semi today and a gold/bronze medal game tomorrow.
    That's 10 games in 12 days...that's more like a MLB sked than basketball.
    It's an insane way of doing things...but then again, it is FIBA, isn't it?
    Also, why does this tournament involve TWO continents?
    Africa, Asia, Europe and even Oceania have their own qualifying tournaments.
    Why are the two Americas lumped together?
    There should be two separate tournaments, IMO, with the top two from each advancing from each group.
    Each tournament could have 6 teams with two 3 team pools.
    Top 2 teams from each pool advance to a semi final round, with the semi final winners getting the FIBA Worlds berths.
    The semi final losers would get to play in a later qualifying tournament for the remaining berths.
    This way, 12 teams get to compete for the Worlds, instead of 10, but far fewer games are needed.
    If that format was followed, I bet you would get the same 4 teams going to Turkey next year without using a maratton tournament formula.

  2. Two qualifiers were from N. America (Canada and Puerto Rico) and two were from S. America (Argentina and Brazil). Funny how that happened! If the U.S. is spoken for, we would have a great shot being top 2 in a field of the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Mexico.

    The format convoluted as all get out, you are right. It also doesn't have to be, that's the kicker.

    I honestly had not thought about this much ... one wonders if all those qualifying tournaments are part of maintaining the status quo. In international sports, keeping the smaller countries onside is a very powerful tool. Look up a guy named Bunny Ahearne who ruled international hockey in the '50s, '60s and '70s ... he was able to ram his screw-Canada agenda through by getting IIHF members like Kuwait to vote with him.

    FIBA is eons behind their counterparts in footy, FIFA.

    A colleague pointed out that FIBA's coverage, compared to what you would get for a soccer tournament of similar magnitude, was pretty bush-league ... some disembodied voice talking over a video feed.

    They could do a lot better, for sure.

  3. Good points, for sure ... and guess what, Argentina and Brazil (2 from So. America) and Puerto Rico and Canada (2 from No. America) were the qualifiers.

    If the U.S. was already spoken for (i.e., defending Olympic or world champion), then I would like Canada's chances to be top-2 in a 6 team field with the likes of Puerto Rico, the DR, Mexico and US Virgin Islands.

    FIBA really seems behind the times compared to where FIFA (soccer) is in terms of marketing, promotion and organization. Soccer is the world's game and basketball is a distant No. 2.