Canada hoops, some soccer and, of course, Biancamania

Kind of all over the map here today, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

Maybe it’ll help everyone come down from Biancamania and an emotionally-exhausting Saturday.

And a reminder that I might have misremembered the time of Monday’s Canada-Germany game to finish their run at the World Cup. It’s at 8 a.m. ET which a darn stretch better than 4 a.m.

Q: FIBA seeding
Watching the Senegal / Canada match, I snapped to attention when Shona pointed out that every other Americas team had advanced to the next round, which means that the qualification process that ended with a road win in Brazil was meaningless in terms of world cup seeding. Is there any benign explanation for Canada’s grouping with two medal contenders? And I realize I’m whining.

Going forward, optimism is preferable so I am hoping this disappointing result will catch the attention of the players. At least Murray came to camp so I hope that means something. 

The next time you see Cory Joseph (and Olynyk too), please communicate my appreciation for his dedication to the national team program. Ditto to all the players on this team. And thanks for a very tough-minded column.

James A., Victoria


A: The FIBA ranking/seeding system is flawed, no question about it. But the world body tends to more heavily weight world events and the fact of the matter it was 17 years between Canadian wins on the global stage. And in that time, the United States and Argentina won Olympic gold medals, Brazil, Puerto Rico and Venezuela all competed at either world championships or Olympics. I get that Canada went through this qualification process at 10-2 and were good at the FIBA Americas in 2015 and maybe they need to weight things differently but if you’re talking the combination of world competition and regional representation, Canada wasn’t that short-changed.

Q: Hey Doug:
Well, WOW! That was pretty incredible tennis. A US Open win just a week short of the Raptors’ championship win, and both against legendary winners.
Since you focus mainly on basketball, a couple of tennis/basketball questions.
If you had to compare Bianca to an NBA player, who comes to mind? In some respects, she reminds of Kyle Lowry, she is as fearless and relentless. But she also as cool as Kawhi. Who would you pick?
Do you know if any of the Raptors play tennis, or are tennis fans? Several play golf, some also are big NFL fans – hello, Kyle again – but tennis anyone?
Appreciated as always

A: It’s hard, and probably unfair, to compare athletes in one sport to others because the games and the needs of the games are so different. But I’d say more Lowry than Lowry and Kawhi, the “Come on!!!” screams are the kind of blatant feistiness we didn’t see much of in Leonard.

And, to be truthful, I don’t know a lot of basketball players who are big tennis fans. Maybe fans of big tennis moments and events but not the games. Golf and football seem to dominate.

Q: Hi Doug,
Will your paper be following the Mann Cup lacrosse championship in Victoria?
It begins tomorrow and the Peterborough Lakers will be representing the Ontario teams,( MSL)  verses Victoria in the west.
I feel that lacrosse coverage gets put on the back burner when it comes to this Canadian championship, as I am a big lacrosse fan who was born and raised in the Peterborough area.
Please get back to me re my concerns, and try to convince your sports people/ editor, to follow these guys who are putting all they have ,into the trying to win the Mann Cup for a third year in a row.
Thank you
Kathy Burns
A true fan of our national sport! ???

A: This is about the only way I have to get back to you – replying from the address doesn’t work – and I know it’s late but forgive me.

I’m sorry, but we can’t be all things to all people at the paper, there are deadline and space and staffing considerations. And while we can run what we get from the wire services on our website, that’s about the best we can do.

Sorry, it’s just the way it is.

And as much as I truly appreciate athletes “putting all they have into trying to win” that’s not exclusive to lacrosse.

Trust me, my bosses and their bosses hear concerns far more often than I do but I will pass on this note.

Q: Hi Doug,

 I’ve got a couple of NBA rule changes that I would love to get your feedback on.  I’ll get right into it.

 Rule change #1

I know that they have somewhat addressed the intentional foul on fast breaks with the clear path rule, but I think they can take it a step further.  I saw quite a few times this year when the defence gets a steal in the half court, on their own end, usually the offensive team will just commit a quick foul to avoid an odd man break (3 on 2 or 2 on 1).  They avoid the clear path foul because technically there is a defender in front of the ball.  But my question is wouldn’t basketball fans rather see an odd man break that usually ends up with an ally oop or transition three? As opposed to a whistle and inbounds which essentially stops the excitement.  My rule would be to implement a sort of hockey penalty situation where if the ref sees an intentional foul on the play that I just described, he would raise his arm but not blow the whistle.  The play would continue and if the team that stole the ball makes a basket on that possession then they get 1 free throw, if they don’t make a basket then they get 2 free throws.  The purpose of the rule is to discourage the intentional foul in the first place and just let the play continue and try to get back and play defence.  I get so frustrated when a team turns the ball over and then just fouls because it’s a benefit to do so.  It takes away from too much “possible” excitement.

Rule change #2

No live play timeouts!!  FIBA got it right when they made timeouts only available during a stoppage of play.  Drives me crazy when a defence successfully “gambles” and double teams a ball handler just to have said ball handler get bailed out by calling a timeout.

Rule change #3

When inbounding the ball you cannot call a timeout to avoid a 5 second violation.  Again this doesn’t reward good defence.  I would however be okay with extending it to a 6 or 7 count if we take away the ability to call a timeout.

Let me know your thoughts if you have the time.


Ryan M

A: Sorry, I cannot get behind No. 1 even though I think the current clear path rules need to be changed. Yours would cause too much on confusion on what any “advantage” would be lost, which is a factor in any break.

I’ve long suggested FIBA timeout rules would be better but even they’ve added media timeouts. No live ball timeouts with the same number might be something to try in the G League.

I have no problem with current inbounding rules and it’s matter of “if it ain’t broke, don’t break it” as my guy Oak would say.

Q: Hi Doug,

I have enjoyed as many FIBA Basketball World Cup games as my already sleep deprived work and family life allow. 

I want to get your thoughts on how the NBA and FIBA styles of game evolved over the years and which one you prefer to watch today. 

I find the international game at the highest level free flowing with more motion offence. The NBA has more star power and with it comes more isolation plays and way too many high pick and rolls, for my liking. 

What do you think? Does the shorter three-point line have a material effect on the differences in style? Refereeing? Talent level? Let’s discount the fewer number of timeouts and the shorter game in FIBA. 


Roel Olay


A: I prefer, for the most part, the NBA game because of the overall level of talent, the fact it has evolved to take in many aspects of the FIBA game like a lot of drive and kick stuff, tons more dribble-handoff action than there has been and bigs who aren’t cemented to the block.

I do not like the overly physical nature of the FIBA game and the astounding number of illegal screens and flat body blocks that impede movement of the best players.

FIBA refereeing has not kept up to the improvement in play, that’s undeniable to me, and something has to be done about it. One of the main problems is FIBA seems too stuck on the notion that officials from one part of the world can’t work games involving countries from the same area. That may at time have been a concern, it no longer should be. The best officials should work regardless of who is playing.


And I like the NBA three-point line. The shorter FIBA one tends to allow teams to pack the paint too easily.

Q: Hi Doug. Horrible result in that North London Derby. Perhaps The Spurs would tale Xhaka off the Gunners in the next transfer window? Just wondering, are you able to get DAZN for ‘free’ courtesy of Mother Star at home because you need it for FIBA?

Mike K London

A: I gotta say, getting a road point in a Derby’s pretty good and it was a fantastic game either way. I haven’t done any expenses since filing post-Finals so I’m not sure what I might do with the one-month subscription I bought for the World Cup. Maybe my boss will read this and offer advice.





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And I think if you find it boring you may be in the minority and it may be presumptuous to suggest but DON’T WATCH IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT.

I also think you perhaps mean FIBA.

Q: My two cents worth re Pat Tabler and Buck Martinez.  I really enjoy them.  I have the Blue Jays games on almost every night.  Buck and Pat make a losing season interesting and entertaining.
Kirk Scott

A: I have no problem at all with your opinion, even though I don’t share it. Many do.

Q: Couldn’t agree more with your Monday Sept 2nd response that it all comes down to personal preference but we totally disagree with your assessment.  We really enjoy Pat and Buck together and find Dan Shulman totally over bearing! 

Happy Labour Day

Randy and Regina

A: Absolutely a matter of personal preference, we’ve obviously got different ones and there’s no problem with that.

Now, having seen maybe 5 outs of Youtube exclusive MLB games this year, I bet we all agree that show’s terrible.

Q: Hi Doug,

Bianca sure proved your point and the win to get in finals was something else. After writing once on the subject one thing came to mind – what is the cord she wears just above her elbow?? Looks like a telephone cord or maybe a key ring with no key?? I am curious. Man she sure got her s–t together LOL


A: I went right to the top level of all-knowing Canadian tennis superstars for this answer.

And Sportsnet’s Caroline Cameron reports it’s a hair elastic Andreescu wears for good luck.

So there you go.

Q: Sir: The return of the “Dino” jersey for the 25th season lead to a bit of a discussion about the future of the Red “North” jersey. Because of Kawhi’s shot and that, this is what the Raps were wearing when they won the championship, it has become the most iconic jersey in Raptors history IMO. If you were running the team, would you keep it in rotation forever or do you slowly retire it and bring it out for very special occasions?

Paul M

A: I can’t see any reason that it wouldn’t remain the primary road uniform for years and years.

I don’t go much for retiring numbers, let alone retiring entire jerseys. Except, of course, those camouflage abominations, every single one of which should be burned.

Q: Christine Sinclair has a stellar record and is close to a world record but her time has passed as seen when playing the world cup of soccer.
Every sports great experiences the difficulties in reaching training goals, in defending and attacking, in healing the injuries that come more often.

Yes, maybe now and then her faster teammates will set her up now and again. There is a should be a new wave of tall, strong and tactically very good 18 or 20 year old players who wish to join but will the establishment and sponsors allow it?
Jim R

A: I went to all my soccer expert friends to confirm what I thought and it seems the majority concur.

Perhaps Sinclair, who would be on a short list of the greatest women soccer players of all time, can’t go 90 minutes any more but she should play on Canada’s national team for as long as she wants. And they tend to agree with my theory that the young players coming up, and they are quite good, will only benefit from having a veteran of Sinclair’s status around.

Q: Hello friend! Was just reading the last column and see that the mailbag was “woefully” low.  So here’s my contribution. 

Your pal Liana

Actual question – I agreed to enter an NFL pool but don’t think I can rely on my jersey-colour strategy. What’s the easiest way to research my picks and make back my $ 10 bucks? What expert should I rely on?

A: This, folks, is a note from one of the all-time very greats and if you think I’ve got stories, my friend’s got stories. And fond memories, I’m sure, of The New VR.

My advice is late but I’d absolutely stick with jersey colours/combinations/favourite cities with good lobby bars. Or take the 10 bucks and buy yourself something frilly and have peaceful Sundays.

(It’s okay, folks. I can use “buy yourself something frilly” with my pal.


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