Basketball: Perhaps the final Final 8 post

A couple notes now several hours after the championship game:
  • Saskatchewan guard Michael Linklater, who is an aboriginal Canadian, had a neat take when asked what it meant knowing he could walk down the street as a national champion. "I treat every game I play like a championship game so it doesn't feel that different ... what this really means to me is how big it is for aboriginal youth. They can look at me being an all-star and know what aboriginal youth can achieve. There have been many to come before me like Charlton Weaslehead (who starred at Brandon a decade ago), they paved the way for me."

  • Huskies Football Outsider has an amazing picture of Linklater and Showron Glover kissing the W.P. McGee Trophy.

  • Glover's folks were prescient when they gave him a name that begins with "Show." Everyone who was on press row might need plastic surgery to remove their smiles after hearing his interview. There is someone who deserves the world, you know?

  • Glover is the latest to pull off "the Brannagan," leading his team to the national title after being passed over as a player-of-the-year nominee.

  • Could UBC defer joining the NCAA until swingman Kamar Burke has played out his career? He's that needed in Canada.

  • About that ... UBC said 11 months ago it was deferring its decision on going D-2 to "at least 2010." University president Stephen J. Toope, who knows, could make his decision sooner rather than later.

    That would set off a chain reaction. For starters, CIS and Canada West might have to expedite UBC Okanagan's membership application so it can have six football teams in the West.

  • No doubt you heard: CBS' Gus Johnson, during the Syracuse-Gonzaga NCAA second-round game, said, "Leo Rautins, (Orange guard) Andy Rautins' father isn't here in Buffalo because he's in Canada broadcasting the Canadian national team's games."

    Scratch the obvious slip-ups. Why, pray tell, would our national team have a game scheduled when the NBA, NCAA tournament and most foreign pro leagues are going strong?

  • It was also a treat to see Saskatchewan Troy Gottselig (the Final 8 MVP) play in person.

    The limited media exposure of CIS hoops, especially among schools not with Streaming Sports Network Canada (dropping a hint to Huskie Athletics!) means sometimes players are a jersey number, height, weight, hometown and statline. It's very akin to the NCAA basketball culture of 1978-79 that Seth Davis described in When March Went Mad (there was a passage about how one Indiana State player's buddies didn't even realize Larry Bird was white until they saw him on TV).

    Gottselig just had that well-rounded big man's game, able to hit the three and finish inside.

  • There is a lot more right about the Thunderbirds than wrong, and a lot of admiration for coach Kevin Hanson having reached successive finals while playing three time zones from home. That being said, forward Kyle Watson sprinting down the tunnel after being ejected for his second unsportsmanlike foul ("I need to take a walk," he said) was just bizarre, even if was his last game.

    FIBA's unsportsmanlike foul, which is applied if a player fouls from behind on an opponent who has a clear path to the basket, doesn't fit with our North American understanding. People hear "flagrant foul" and think it's a hard foul.

    On Watson's first, he was diving for the ball as Showron Glover peeled away after a steal. It was physically harmless, but the refs were going by the book, I guess. Meantime, UBC's Graham Bath got thrown to the floor a couple times and it's just an off-the-ball foul.

  • Peter James of Canwest News Service tweeted that UBC players did not shake hands with Carleton athletic director Jennifer Brenning. A guy from a respectable media chain is not going to say that rashly.
  • Special thanks to Bengt Neathery, Matt Copeland, Mark Masters, Chris Messina and Joe Scanlon for doing a great job for Streaming Sports Network Canada. Also good to see Chris Kallan there doing a bang-up job blogging for the CIS website.

  • Bengt, who is a good friend (full disclosure), made a personal apology for the loss of the French-language videocast on SSN, even it TSN nixed the deal.
    "It basically happened after my interview with one of the leading newspapers. It apparently made (TSN president) Phil King's attention, and he was not happy.

    "TSN is a business and I can't blame them for protecting their rights and wanting to expand TSN2. I only wish everyone could remember that these are unpaid athletes who for many, this could be their last games. I think they deserve as much exposure as possible, if at least to expand the interest for future programs."
  • The two most-commented upon posts here in the last week were not about the games (would that they were). They were about the award selections and the tape-delay for the second semi-final, and people weren't happy.

  • It was a lot of fun to cover the tournament in Ottawa these past three years in print, on SSN and on the blog. Downtown Halifax, though, is a lot of fun, speaking as a University of King's College alumnus (yes, degrees from Queen's and King's, stop laughing).

    The regret is not knowing how much great momentum for CIS men's basketball coming out of the Acadia-Carleton classic was lost due to institutional inertia.
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  1. Doesn't appear like UBC is going DII next year. In fact, the proposed Canada West basketball schedule actually looks very sane indeed.

    Now, if/when schools like UBC-O, UNBC, VIU, Mt. Royal and Grant MacEwan get into CIS then I could see UBC looking deeply into their options.

  2. Know why attendance was low? Maybe it had something to do with the Ottawa newspaper (Sun) that didn't run any articles until the day before the event and the person running this site who works there!!! Never cover the Final 8 again, Nate!

  3. A Raven Maniac3/22/2010 5:18 pm

    Oh come off it, anon 4;43, you can't possibly be serious.
    Neate...and it's Neate not Nate, one of the uber boosters of university sport in this town.
    Next to Wayne Kondro, I can't think of anyone else who has done as much in the print and cyber media than Neate.
    Blame Neate for attendance woes?
    Yeah, right.
    The Ottawa Citizen had been running ads in their paper for MONTHS.
    Look, either you are a basketball fan or not.
    If you are not, and you are not inclined to go, no amount of write ups or
    advance advertising is going to change your cotton pickin' mind, capiche?
    Laying the blame for poor attendance at the feet of Neate Sager
    is just about the lamest cop out I have ever heard.

  4. Thanks, Maniac ... my dad and mum always said just try to get a little better every day. Granted, all three us entered businesses (carpentry, teaching and journalism) where you're expected to start perfect and then get better!

  5. That Gus Johnson comment was so bad - it shouldn't be taken as just a slip up. I'm really not sure if he knows what Leo Rautins does. If Leo is the Canadian national team head coach, why would he be BROADCASTING those games? Not to mention your point about having games when the CIS, NCAA and NBA are still going on.

  6. Would you really expect a U.S. broadcaster to know that, let's be honest?

  7. (I meant know that about Leo, not know that I suck. Thanks for your support.)

  8. A Raven Maniac3/23/2010 9:52 am

    Anon 10:55...
    Gee, that must have felt good, didn't it?
    Yeah, I'm sure you typed insightful gems like Sager ef-fing sucks before and in bold capital letters, too.
    Point is, who cares what you think, anonymous guy?
    Every blog has a "you suck" idiot just like you.
    You know I bet you are the same type of clown who yells "in the hole"
    when a golfer hits his tee shot...on a par five.
    I just hope you're not somebody's dad.

  9. Can someone please explain the Jennifer Brenning comment? What is UBC's beef with Brenning?

  10. I asked and apparently it might have stemmed from Watson being upset over getting the heave-ho for the two unsportsmanlike fouls. Plus there might have been some confusion over protocol. Beyond that, there might not have been anything meant by it, and it wasn't the whole UBC team.

  11. Are the Huskies destined to become the Brock Badgers?
    Last year, Sask was a nondescript 10-12 with pretty much the
    same roster as this year with one glaring exception, Mike Linklater.
    Well, Linklater is gone and so is Troy Gottselig.
    Two huge holes to fill.
    Glover is coming back but will that be enough to keep the Huskies as contenders?
    Looks to me that UBC and Carleton still have plenty of
    returning players and will make another deep run.

  12. Darren Zary, Saskatoon StarPhoenix3/24/2010 6:23 pm

    Speaking of Mike Linklater, he showed up Tuesday at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon with the W.P. McGee Trophy and Huskie athletic director Basil Hughton to visit fallen Saskatoon StarPhoenix sports desk editor and news columnist Bob Florence, who was viciously attacked a few weeks ago while walking home from work and who had been in a coma until recently. This was quite the nice gesture by Linklater because he didn't even know who Bob was. Linklater was only told that the visit would mean a lot to the guy. Apparently, it put a big smile on Florence's face. I'm told that Linklater — who looks and plays tough on the basketball court — was all choked up and teary-eyed. He later told Hughton that winning a national championship finally sunk in after the hospital visit. Florence, by the way, has done more for amateur and university sport in Canada than anybody I know.