Category: General

Observations from Canada Games

It’s been a great week of hoops. I’ve been helping with the Sr. Mini camp at UNBSJ, the 9th annual Armand Drummond was last weekend, attendance was up again at my weekly open gyms and on Wednesday afternoon I drove over to PEI  to watch the NB Summer Games teams compete.

Despite the late night drive home from Summerside, I really enjoyed the experience on Wednesday. For the cost of a $20 day pass, I was able to come and go as many times as I wanted between the two basketball venues and if I wanted to, I could have used the same pass to watch beach volleyball, soccer and rugby which were held on the same site. Plus the parking was free.

The first game was the NB men versus Ontario. The main reason I wanted to see this game was to watch the five Ontario players who competed for Canada’s U16 Cadet team earlier this summer in Argentina. I was especially curious to see how much better (if at all) they were than our top U16 player, Adam Spurrell.

For those who don’t know, each regional Centre for Performance was represented on the National U16 Cadet Team. The male player selected from Atlantic Canada was Fergus Duke of Halifax. A number of other players from the national depth chart were invited to tryout for the remaining spots.To my surprise, Adam was not selected as one of these “at large” players either.

The Ontario players from the Cadet team are Kevin Pangos (6’0” Guard), Anthony Bennett (6’5” Forward), Negus Webster-Chan (6’6” Forward), Nicholas Lewis (6’1” Guard) and Jonathan Alexander-Guillaume (6’5” Forward).

My first impressions watching the game was that Kevin Pangos was the one player who was clearly better than anyone from NB. His court presence and passing abilities were definitely superior. In fact, when Pangos left the floor, the NB team was able to get more stops on defence and slowly close the gap. Anthony Bennett was fun to watch as well, but more because of his size and athletic ability more so than his skills. Bennett only scored three baskets against NB but they were all dunks. All his dunks were setup by Pangos either off pick-and-roll or off dribble penetration.

The remaining Ontario players are very good but for the most part not that much different than the NB players. The major difference was they’re size and their ability to make shots. We have no control how tall our players will be, but we definitely can improve our shooting.

NB Men’s team  lost to BC by two while shooting only 23% (21 for 90 overall) which was the difference between playing Ontario versus Manitoba in the crossovers. When they ended up playing MB in the 5th place game they lost by four while shooting 21% (17 for 80 overall).

The story on the girls game was much the same. The game I saw on Wednesday was their round-robin game against Saskatchewan. In this game the NB girls were outsized, loosing the rebound battle 26-45, but they made up for it with extremely aggressive full court defence, great spacing on offense, and timely shot making in the 4th quarter. But looking at the two looses for the girls the same thing jumps off the page. They shot 26% against BC (Silver Medalist) and 25% against Alberta (Gold Medalist).

I’m sure there are a lot of factors why the shooting was off in these games and we must give the other teams some credit for playing good defence, but I’m sure every player on the two NB squads are coming away from the experience ready to re-dedicate themselves to becoming better shooters.

Silver Medal and Quick Trip to PEI

The Canadian Women’s U16 Cadet team had to settle for gold against a very powerful USA team. Following the same pattern as most of the games the USA played, the Canuck played it close for the first quarter but then the Americans pulled away winning 103-52 (game stats | game report).

Now Vanessa and several of her Canadian teammates fly to Moncton for a late night drive to PEI followed by a security check-in and a couple of hours sleep.

Drummond Tournament

This weekend marks the 9th Annual Armand Drummond Tournament. Like last year we’re holding the event at UNBJ again. Action begins at 6:00 p.m. tonight and continues all weekend.


Time Court #1 Center Court Court #3
6:00 pm Kate’s Breakers vs Deja Vu (Women’s Open) Joe Drummond Warriors vs LeBlanc’s Crush (Men’s Open) Lawrence & Sons vs Double N (Men’s Competitive)
7:00 pm All In vs Mike’s Mixed Ups (Masters Men’s) George Dixon – Halifax vs Aces Up (Masters Men) Long Shot vs The Unit (Men’s Open)
10:00 am Long Shots vs Hachey’s Hush (Men’s Open) Jocelyn’s Jokers vs Kate’s Breakers (Women’s Open)
11:00 am Joe Drummond Warriors vs PEI Islanders (Men’s Open) All In vs Aces Up (Masters Men) George Dixon – Halifax vs Mike’s Mixed Ups (Masters Men)
12:00 pm Hachey’s Hush vs The Unit (Men’s Open) Lawrence & Sons vs Triple T (Men’s Competitive) Jocelyn’s Jokers vs Deja Vu (Women’s Open)
1:00 pm

Opening Ceremonies

1:30 pm LeBlanc’s Crush vs PEI Islanders (Men’s Open) Aces Up vs Mixed Ups (Masters Men’s)
2:30 pm George Dixon – Halifax vs All In (Masters Men) Double N vs Triple T (Men’s Competitive)
3:30 pm 5th Place Men’s Open Crossovers – Men’s Open Crossovers – Men’s Open
4:30 pm Semi Finals – Men’s Competitive Semi Finals – Women’s Open
10:00 am Men’s Competitive Finals
11:30 am Masters Men Final
1:00 pm Women’s Open Finals
2:30 pm Men’s Open Finals

Going for Gold!

The ladies cadet team did it. They beat Argentina 66-59 tonight. This means they face the powerful USA team but more importantly, it means they qualify for next years U17 World Championships.

Once again Vanessa got good minutes despite struggling with her shot. But she’s not alone as the team only shot 33% from 2pt range and was only 1 for 6 (Vanessa had the only make) for 3pt land. The good part, the Canadian defense didn’t allow the Argentina women to shoot any better.

After some digging around I was able to find the web site broadcasting Live Stats. If you’re like me and are unable to read Spanish click on the icon of the British Flag in the top right corner for the English version. Hopefully they’ll broadcast tomorrow medal game to.

Canada moves into semi-finals

Team Canada moves on to the semi-final round at the FIBA Americas U16 Championships for Women by going undefeated (3-0) in round robin play. Canada beat Brazil 68-56, Guatemala 97-22 and Mexico 68-46. By finishing first the Canucks avoid the American team that won all their round robin games by 60 or more points.

Although it’s been difficult to follow the scores on the FIBA site, it appears Vanessa Pickard is getting good minutes, however, her shooting has cooled off since the first game. In the last game against Mexico Vanessa played 15 minutes while shooting 1-5 from 2 pt range. Considering she had 3 fouls and it was a lopsided with for her team, it’s probably safe to assume her minutes were inconsistent  which probably hurt her rhythm.

If the women’s coaches follow the same pattern as the U16 men’s coaches did last month, they’ll be shortening their rotations in the medal rounds. If that’s the case, after tonight’s game we’ll not only know where Canada stands (Argentina lost by 60+ to USA) but we’ll also know where Vanessa  is in the national depth chart.

The semi-final schedule for today (Aug 13, 2009) is as follows…

18:00 pm USA vs. Brazil
20:00 pm Canada vs. Argentina

* All times are Central

Canada’s U16 Team

Yesterday, Canada’s U16 Women’s cadet team started off the 2009 FIBA America U16 Championships with a 68-56 win over Brazil. In that game Vanessa Pickard of Riverview, NB scored 14 points in 22 minutes of court time.

For those not aware, Vanessa is in the middle of a very busy month. She left home over a week ago for a 3-day mini training camp in Toronto (Aug. 5-7) then headed to Mexico City where she will compete in the FIBA Americas tournament from August 10-14. Once the FIBA America’s tournament is over Vanessa will jump on a plane to get home to represent our province at the 2009 Jeux Canada Games in Prince Edward Island August 16-22.

To make matters worst, Vanessa arrives back home late Saturday evening (August 15) then has to be in Summerside the next morning (August 16) for New Brunswick’s 9:00 am game against Manitoba.

It will be interesting to hear Vanessa’s viewpoints on the differences of competing for Canada versus participating in the Canada Games. She should also have some great stories to tell and if the crowds at the women’s tournament are anything like the Argentine fans at the men’s tournament.

Canada’s Round Robin Schedule. .

Date Time* Opponent
Aug. 10 2:00 pm Brazil
Aug. 11 6:00 pm Guatemala
Aug. 12 8:00 pm Mexico

*All times are Central


As you can see I have a new layout for my blog but I can’t believe how painful the process has been to get to here. My new service provider (ixWebHosting) has many of the services I’ve been looking for and my site is how much faster than the old GoDaddy version, but technical support has been very poor.

For the last three days I’ve been chasing the new folks about a problem that has crashed my site. When the trouble ticket finally got routed to the system administer he fixed the problem in less than 15 minutes. The problem was getting anyone on the support line to forward the ticket to the right person.

I have a bad feeling about this new service but I find myself hooked on these guys because their severs are so fast compared to what I had before. I’m like a drug addict who knows where this is headed but proceed anyway.

Where have you been?

Yes, it’s been awhile since my last post. Between home life, work, watching hoops, KVBA and BNB there been little time to even think about my blog. Don’t suspect many people (if any!!) read this anyway.

The U16 and U15 Dev teams have wrapped up for the season. Unfortunately while in Montreal I didn’t get a chance to see any of them play except for the U16 boys. The team played well losing to the Quebec U15 team by 12 in the semi-finals. Brad Van Steeg had the hot shooting hand all weekend while Ryan Vaughan had a strong tournament as well. Ryan’s scoring was off as compared to JV and Midget but he did contribute in other ways and his playing time reflected that. Overall a big thumbs up to Dave Tingley and Keith Comitz for a job well done.

UNBSJ has announced Jim Palmer as their new men’s coach. Jim had been around the NB coaching seen a number of years, especially out in the River Valley association and with his father in the BNB Midget boys program for several years.

This week the U17 and U15 boys teams is off to Nationals. Preliminary results look good for the U15 boys as the won their first game by beating Alberta 75-72. I’m sure this is extra nice for coach Langis who had to wait a full year to payback an Ablerta squad that ran up the score at last year’s tournament. Looking at the stats from the game it would appear Simon Gagnon had a strong game but was in foul trouble, while QMS standout Adam Spurrell started and logged a game high 32 minutes.

The U17 boys got off to a slow start losing to Quebec by 34 (77-43) but rebounded to beat Manitoba 81-68 the next day. Simon Marr appears to be putting up solid numbers and is getting lots of playing time. Brent Kingston was a starter in the first game but came off the bench in the second. Brent’s minutes seem to be down so far, hopefully his just having a slow start and isn’t hurt. Jared Mabey has seen action both games and has pulled down a few rebounds as well.

Ready to Go

Welcome to my blog.

I don’t pretend to be a writer nor do I have any aspirations of a journalism career (I’ll leave that to my brother) but I decided to start this site so I can post information and share my thoughts on basketball happenings in and around the city of Saint John.

So here we go…

Word out of KVHS is that Bill Mayberry has been selected the new girl’s varsity coach. Bill has a very impressive basketball resume and a long history both as a player and as a coach in the Kennebecasis Valley. Bill’s previous coaching gigs range from mini girls to Summer Games and every level in between. Most recently Bill has been coaching the BNB Girls Under-15 Development team and served as assistant coach in the CP Atlantic program. Bill inherits a strong program. Not only has the girl’s JV program at KVHS won back-to-back provincial championships the last two seasons under the guidance of Kevin Laskey, but this summer there are eight KVHS girls on a BNB Provincial teams. Congratulations, Bill.

Speaking of coaching vacancies, UNBSJ is also in search of a new men’s head basketball coach. Former NBIAA coach of the year, Greg Doyle, has had to step down after one year at the helm due to personal commitments. Search is underway for a replacement.