U-Sport coaches to lead Canada’s National team programs this summer

The summer of 2018 promises to be a busy period for Canada’s National men’s team program with three groups hitting the spotlight fresh off the news that Canada is the #2 program in the FIBA Youth Men World Rankings as of early May, 2018.

Action begins later this month in Ottawa as our U-18 National team starts camp at Carleton University in preparation for the eight-team FIBA Americas world championship qualifying tournament to be held at the Meridian Center in St. Catharines beginning 10th June.  Head Coach Dave Smart (Carleton) will lead the coaching staff which includes Chris Cheng (Nipissing) and Jamie McNeilly, a long-time National program assistant who is a member of the Virginia Tech staff under Buzz Williams.  National team program veteran Michael Meeks will also work on the staff.

The 8 team FIBA Americas U18 qualifier tournament begins on 10th June with Canada slated in Group B with Ecuador, Chile and Argentina.  Group A consists of USA, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Panama.  Canada’s first game is Sunday, June 10th at 2:15 PM ET against Argentina.  Group A preliminary actions continues the following day Monday, June 11th as Canada meets Ecuador before closing the opening round on Tuesday, June 12th vs. Chile.

Quarter-finals are on Thursday, June 14th followed by semi-final on 15th and the Gold medal and Bronze medal games on Saturday, June 16th.

Followers are likely to recall that last summer, Canada qualified for the U-17 World Championships in Argentina with a silver medal at the FIBA Americas qualifier.  Last summer’s team, led by UVic’s Craig Beaucamp and assisted by Rob Smart Jr. (Carleton) and Patrick Tatham (McMaster), went a tidy 4-1, losing only to the USA in the gold medal game.

This summer’s U-17 team will be led by Manitoba’s Kirby Schepp with Tatham and newly-crowned U-Sports National championship Head Coach Dan Vanhooren (Calgary) part of Schepp’s staff.  The team is likely to return the core of their silver medal group from last summer led by 6’5″ Cashius McNeilly – son of U-19 Assistant Coach Jay McNeilly – 5’10” Shemar Rathan-Mayes (brother of National team and NBA prospect Xavier Rathan-Mayes), 6’1″ Taryn Todd, 6’4″ Luka Sakota, 6’6″ Malachi Ndur, 6’6″ Paris Shand (son of former Humber Hawk and Canadian National team player Kevin Shand) and 6’7″ Ben Kirkke.  6’6″ Addison Patterson who has zoomed up the charts in the class of 2020 rankings is among others also likely to be considered as a candidate for this group.

U-17’s gather in Toronto between June 10th and 17th for their camp and final team selection before heading to Mexico to represent Canada at the “Basketball Without Borders” event.  The FIBA U-17 World Championships, a 16 team event, begin on 30th June in Argentina with Canada slated in Group C with Montenegro, Egypt and New Zealand.  Canada’s first game is Saturday, June 30th against Montenegro in Rosario followed by matches against Egypt on Canada Day Sunday, July 1st and New Zealand on Tuesday, July 3rd.

Finally, Canada’s Senior Men’s National team has a pair of qualifying games on friendly soil this summer, continuing Group D action.  Canada currently sits at 3-1 with home games slated this early summer for Friday, June 29th in Toronto at the Ricoh Center against Dominican Republic and Monday, July 2nd in Ottawa at TD Place (Lansdowne Park) against U.S. Virgin Islands.  Recall Canada defeated U.S. Virgin Islands 118-89 in an earlier matchup.

Recall that Dominican Republic won the first game over Canada with a relatively easy 88-76 at home in the Dominican before a large, raucous crowd in Santiago as DR shot 49% from the floor, took a 14 point lead into halftime and got a game-high 25 points from 6’3″ Rigoberto Mendoza, a veteran of the DR pro league, including 4-6 from three to win comfortably.  6’3″ Phil Scrubb had 22 to lead Canada.  Expect a potentially even more formidable lineup for DR this summer including the possibility that rising 7’0″ star Karl Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves could suit up.  Note also that 6’9″ Boston Celtics star Al Horford and 6’7″ Luis Montero (waived by Detroit this past season and a D-League vet) are other possibilities in DR’s line-up.

U.S. Virgin Islands was most recently coached by ex-Raptors Head Coach Sam Mitchell with a roster dotted with several low-to-mid NCAA D1 veterans.

Many expect Canada to field a formidable lineup with several NBA players likely to suit up this summer.  Although no formal announcements have been made, 6’10” Kelly Olynyk (Miami), 6’2″ Cory Joseph (Indiana), 6’9″ Tristan Thompson (Cleveland), 6’5″ Jamal Murray (Denver), 6’9″ Dwight Powell (Dallas), 6’9″ Khem Birch (Orlando), 6’1″ Tyler Ennis (L.A. Lakers) and 6’6″ Dillon Brooks (Memphis) are among the many players who have generally been loyal to the Canadian program over the years.  6’7″ R.J. Barrett, a potential generational talent who led Canada to the FIBA U-19 World Championship in Egypt last summer – Canada’s first Gold medal in a major FIBA competition – begins what is expected to be a “one-and-done” college season at Duke University with a likely trip to Canada in August with the program planned, which may preclude Barrett’s participation at any level for Canada this summer.

Unconfirmed, informal reports have several of the big name veterans of the program energized to play including Birch who says:  “I want to wear the Canadian jersey this summer !”

Another loyal Canadian is 6’6″ Melvin Ejim, a long-time glue guy with the program who is also anxious to represent this summer in front of the home crowds.

6’9″ Trey Lyles had a strong season at Denver but has not as of yet ever suited up for Canada’s Senior team and it has been three summers and counting since 6’8″ Andrew Wiggins played for Canada (2015 FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament).

Still in some apparent flux is the Head Coach situation for this summer.  German pro league mentor Gordie Herbert and Ryerson Head man Roy Rana have taken turns coaching Canada over the past 12 months and it appears that long-time coach Jay Triano, who completed this past season as interim coach in Phoenix with the Suns, remains available after not being chosen as the Suns next Head Coach.

Regardless of who shows up and/or who is coaching, Canada has an opportunity to field a much better team than the #23 standing our country currently has in the latest FIBA Men’s rankings.




Voyageurs to make Costa Rica trip again

For the second consecutive summer, Head Coach Shawn Swords will take his Laurentian Voyageurs to the beautiful Central American country of Costa Rica for a series of games against NCAA Division 1 opponents.  Recall Vees went 1-3 last summer in Costa Rica including a 76-67 victory over Montana.  The D1 Grizzlies ended up going 26-8 this past season, capturing the Mountain West tournament championship before losing to eventual NCAA championship game participant Michigan in the first round of the NCAA tournament.  Vees also lost by 2 to Kent State and by 6 to Western Kentucky during last season’s trip.  Laurentian finished 16-7 in fourth place in OUA East this past season, losing in the OUA quarter-final at Carleton.

This summer Laurentian will face off against D1 opponents Troy Trojans (16-17 last season in Sun Belt Conference; Troy, Alabama), Eastern Kentucky (11-20 last season in Ohio Valley conference; Richmond, Kentucky) and San Diego Toreros (20-14 last season in West Coast Conference).

Swords returns Moser Award winner Kadre Gray who led Laurentian to their most successful season in several years before breaking his foot late in the season.  Vees must replace starters 6’3″ David Aromolaran and 6’5″ William Yengue plus part-time starter 6’7″ Joe Sykes and key 6’3″ reserve O.J. Watson.  Expect Swords to name his most recent recruiting class in the coming weeks.

UBC-Okanagan looking for a Lead Assistant Coach

POSITION NUMBER:     00045216
BUSINESS TITLE:     Lead Assistant Coach, Men’s Basketball
EMPLOYMENT GROUP:     Management&Professional (AAPS)
JOB FAMILY:     Unassigned Athletic Coaches
JOB CODE:     188012 – Assistant Basketball Coach
VP/FACULTY:     UBCO – AVP Students
DEPARTMENT:     UBCO – Athletics & Recreation
PAY GRADE:     Unassigned



Under direct supervision of the Head Coach, assists with coaching, management and coordination of the specified varsity team, operating under applicable athletics association operating bylaws/policies/procedures, university policies and philosophy and the objectives of the varsity program and athletic department. The primary objective being the provision of high quality competitive opportunities for athletically talented student-athletes as a vehicle to develop these student athletes to their fullest potential.


The Lead Assistant Coach reports to the Head Coach who reports to the Director of Athletics & Recreation.
The Director outlines expectations & direction through departmental meetings, handbooks, rules, regulations and policies that apply to all aspects of the intercollegiate operations.
The Lead Assistant Coach works directly with and under the Head Coach who determines the scope of work. The Head Coach may delegate to the Lead Assistant certain aspects of team/group/individual practices, game preparation/management, and/or other program responsibilities (e.g., recruit identification, etc.).


Attends all team practices and league/exhibition games
May be asked to step in for the Head Coach in case he/she is unable to fulfill duties
Attends meetings as requested
Participates in team/departmental fundraising activities and other activities (e.g. Rez Move-in Day, Athletics Awards Banquet, Athletics Scholarship Breakfast, Community Outreach, etc.
Works with the Head Coach to ensure the safety of team members
Assists Head Coach in organizing, preparing and conducting individual and team practices competition
Assists the Head Coach with advanced scouting and preparation of scouting reports
Assists the Head Coach with post game review and post-game analysis reports
Assists the Head Coach, as directed, in recruit identification and conducting initial recruitment of student-athletes in accordance with applicable athletics association rules and regulations
Assists, as appropriate, in planning and arranging team travel including coordination of transportation and accommodations as necessary
Assists the Head Coach in monitoring and assisting student-athletes with academic progress, and assists in ensuring participating student-athletes meet all necessary and required eligibility regulations as set out in the applicable athletics association rules and regulations
Performs administrative duties as requested including initiating correspondence and by assisting the Athletics Department with ordering and maintaining equipment
Assists the Head Coach with the organization and implementation of the UBC summer sport camps
Works with the UBC Athletics Development Office in support of alumni relations and team fundraising
Performs other job-related duties as assigned.


This position represents the UBC Okanagan Varsity Program, the students and the University. Incorrect decisions or lack of judgment will directly affect the Department and UBC’s reputation with the community at large. The program must be managed with the utmost of integrity so as to positively impact not only the University but also the alumni who are associated with the program. Given the direct contact with vommunity and students, is expected to comply with applicable athletics associations rules and regulations and with all UBC policies and procedures on inclusiveness. Is expected to operate with high level of judgement.


The Lead Assistant Coach reports directly to the Head Coach


Supervision is limited due to the nature of the position. May provide direction to external contractors hired by Athletics.


Grade 12 minimum
NCCP level(s) preferred
Basic level of First Aid Training required. Minimum of two years of experience coaching senior high school, senior club, college or university teams is preferable Specific abilities required in specialized fields or aptitudes such as technical or interpersonal skills.
Possession of strong communication, organizational, leadership and interpersonal skills.
Familiarity with the local and provincial sport-specific communities and athletics association(s) policies and procedures.
In depth knowledge of rules and regulations of the sport they are coaching.
Organizing and coordinating skills.
Demonstrated competitive coaching skills.
Knowledge of applicable athletics association eligibility and recruiting rules and regulations, as well as rules of the game.
Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
Ability to foster a cooperative work environment.
Strong interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work effectively with a wide range of constituencies in a diverse community.
A pleasant personality together with a positive attitude is essential.
A high level of integrity.



Ravens post opportunity for full-time Assistant Coach



The Carleton Ravens Men’s basketball program is looking for an assistant coach to join the coaching staff.   The team is coming off an impressive 23-0 regular season, an OUA Championship Banner and U Sports bronze medal.   To continue to build this success the Head Coach is looking for an assistant coach to assist in the areas of recruiting and community engagement.

Position Type:  Full time casual appointment (Range depending on experience: 30k – 50k)

Duties include:

  • Assisting coaching in practices and games
  • Weekly game day preparation
  • Proficiency in video editing
  • Recruiting:

o Traveling to events

o Attending assigned games, practices and tournaments

o Contacting coaches as appropriate

o Evaluating prospects and providing reports to the head coach

  • Organizing on campus recruiting visits with the Varsity administrator
  • Responsible for organizing and working with community outreach programs, including working with local clubs, Junior Ravens and summer camps
  • Assisting in any in-season and off season duties that may arise and as assigned by the Head Coach


Elite level coaching experience with a recruiting background is a preference.  A university degree and an understanding of U Sport and OUA policies and procedures.   An appreciation and understanding of the student-athlete experience.   Strong basketball technical skills including working knowledge of video editing and analysis.  Driver’s License is essential.

Police record check will be required.

Please forward your cover letter, resume and list of three references to Head Coach, Dave Smart at Carleton University by e-mail dave.smart@carleton.ca.  Only successful candidates will be contacted for an interview.   Closing date is May 21st, 2018.

Thank you for your interest.


Reports: Duke to make summer trip to Canada, likely to skip Ottawa

As previously alluded to, and now according to Montreal-based basketball newsman Peter Yannopoulos and the Duke Chronicle, Duke Blue Devils, fresh off signing 6’7″ Canadian R.J. Barrett, the nation’s #1 ranked recruit, are likely to make a summer trip to Toronto and Montreal in early August.  Duke Sports Information has yet to confirm the trip officially however several sources indicate plans are close to being finalized.


Notably, Coach K and program apparently will not be travelling to our nation’s capital where Canada’s consensus top program over the past two decades Carleton Ravens and perennial Nationals contender Ottawa Gee-Gees have hosted numerous teams over the years.  Our Nations’ Capital has been a tough place for top D1 teams to visit over the years and the young Devils, with another deep, top-ranked recruiting class, may have had that in mind when planning this apparent trip.

Tentative plans have the Devils going to Toronto in and around 13th August to face Ryerson Rams and then making their way to Montreal to meet McGill, likely at Place Bell on 20th August.  Place Bell is the recently-built home of Montreal Canadians AHL affiliate.  Expect some controlled scrimmages and other activities around the visit.  We may even see more games against other teams.  Exciting news for Canadian basketball fans.

NCAA games this summer: A quick, first look

While no tours or specific schedules have been officially announced, we are being told by multiple sources that plans are being made for the next wave of NCAA Division 1 teams to make their way north of the border for games this summer against U-Sports programs.  Expect at least five teams – likely more – to start their seasons with games in Canada.  Among the teams we are hearing that could visit:

Cincinnati… Bearcats Head Coach Mick Cronin has been taking his teams to Canada since the early 2000’s when he and his Associate Head Coach Darren Savino coached at Murray State; Racers visited Ottawa in 2005.  This would be the third time a Cronin-coached team would visit Canada, most recently when the Bearcats came in September, 2010.  Recall the Cincinnati/Carleton game drew about 5,000 fans to Scotiabank Place in Kanata and Cincinnati won 87-70.  Bearcats come off arguably the best overall season in the Cronin era with a school-record 30+ wins, the American Athletic Conference championship and their highest ever Cronin era seed (#2) in the NCAA tournament.  Cronin coached under Rick Pitino and Savino was high school teammates with both Bobby Hurley Jr. (Arizona State Head Coach) and Danny Hurley (new Head Coach at UConn) under the legendary Bobby Hurley Sr. at Jersey City St. Anthony’s Friars where they won what was then the mythical USA High School championship in 1989.  Cincinnati blew a 23 point lead, losing their second game of this past season’s Tournament in dramatic fashion to Nevada.

Ole Miss… The Rebels compete in the always-tough SEC (Southeast Conference) and would be making their first-ever trip to Canada.  Ole Miss (12-20, 5-13) struggled through a coaching change this past season as Andy Kennedy, the winningest coach in program in Oxford, resigned on February 18, 2018. On March 15, 2018, the school hired former Middle Tennessee head coach Kermit Davis as the new head coach.  Rebels currently have at least four Eastern European players on their roster.

South Dakota State… The Jackrabbits, the three-time defending Summit League champions and NCAA tournament participants last visited Canada in 2010 playing a series of games against Manitoba and Winnipeg.  SDSU was a 12 seed this past season losing their first NCAA tournament game to #5 Ohio State 81-73.  The Jackrabbits could again feature exciting 6’10” Mike Daum, who nearly singlehandidly authored an upset against the Buckeyes in this past season’s NCAA tournament.  Daum, a rising senior who was a walk-on at SDSU, has put his name into this summer’s NBA draft but has not hired an agent.

Maryland Eastern Shore… Hawks would also be making their first-ever trip to Canada under interim coach Clifford Reed.  Maryland Eastern Shore, which finished 7-25 this past season, competes in the Mid-Eastern Athletic conference which in past years has had teams including Morgan State and Florida A&M visit Canada.  Just about three weeks ago, on March 27, 2018, Maryland Eastern Shore announced that Reed, who was an Assistant on recently dismissed Bobby Collins‘ staff, would serve as the interim head coach for the 2018-19 season, after which the school will conduct a national search when the season ends.

We hope to have more as more official announcements are made.


Australia spoils Canada’s Gold Medal Dreams with lopsided win

Australia 87, Canada 47… The Boomers blew the game wide open with a 16-0 run bridging the first and second quarters, holding Canada scoreless for over 7 minutes and went on to route the upstart Canadians in the Gold Medal game at the 2018 Commonwealth Games men’s basketball tournament.  All twelve Australians who dressed saw action and all hit the scoreboard in a very comfortable win against Canada, coming off a dramatic upset of New Zealand in the semi-finals.  Canada will bring home a silver medal from this event.

6’0″ Munis Tutu was the only Canadian in double figures with 10 points as Canada shot just 6 for 26 from three and 27% from the floor overall in a dominant defensive effort from the Boomers.

Congratulations to all the Canadian players led by Head Coach Kirby Schepp who, despite fielding by far the youngest side in the tournament, finished 3-3 highlighted by a wonderful victory over New Zealand in the semi-finals, illustrating the depth of players and coaching we are fortunate to have developed here in Canada.

Canada earns a silver medal against all odds !

Fox Sports recap of Boomers victory

Guardian coverage of the Gold medal game


Gueye buzzer-beater lifts Canada to Gold Medal game tonight

Canada 88, New Zealand 86…  6’7″ Mamadou Gueye banked in a buzzer-beating three off an in-bounds play to lift Canada to an unlikely semi-final win over New Zealand, pushing the Canadian squad into today’s Gold medal game against the host Australians.  Kiwis had defeated Canada by 22 points in the preliminary round.

Kiwis had rallied from a large fourth quarter deficit to lead by one after 6’1″ Shea Ili hit 1-2 free throws with 5 seconds remaining.  The foul call on Ili came off a scramble in transition and appeared very controversial with both Ili and Gueye diving for a loose ball and referees determining a foul against Canada – for evidence the following video should aptly illustrate how questionable the call was:

Earlier 6’5″ Ammanuel Diressa (22 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) had tied the game for Canada with just under a minute to play after 6’7″ Thomas Abercrombie had given New Zealand their first lead of the game at 85-83, capping a furious 24-6 Kiwi run.  But Gueye made good on a clutch shot after it appeared that Canada’s original play was taken away, commenting:  “It was a bit of a scramble, that’s not the play we drew up but the ball fell to me and I was confident as soon as the ball left my hands.”

Canada earned themselves a legitimate chance to win against a very strong international side with very efficient offense that forced the Kiwis into some less favorable matchups – Canada had a combined 9 for 15 from downtown effort from Diressa (22 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) and 6’1″ Munis Tutu (17 points, 6 assists before fouling out late) to lead by 20 at 75-55 by late in the third.  Diressa was especially clutch during a third quarter 30-13 run with three consecutive threes while Tutu had 8 points and several assists in the run.  6’9″ Conor Morgan had 7 of his 19 points during the run as Canada shot 12-28 from downtown (43%) overall.

Canada also cleaned some things up defensively after the preliminary game loss to New Zealand, especially in their middle ball screen defense which was a problem area in the first game but today limited Kiwis quality looks from three-point land.  But New Zealand upped the defensive pressure in the fourth quarter as the game got physical and Kiwis exerted their strength and experience inside, setting up the controversial but in the end tremendous finish for our young Canadian kids.

Canadian Head Coach Kirby Schepp was justifiably proud of his team after the win:  “We were much more solid defensively especially in the ball screen which resulted in them getting far less open looks from 3 and at the rim.”

On the game winning play:  “It was a broken play at the end a little bit.  I think they guarded it very, very well.  We ended up getting the ball into the hands of a guy who had been sitting a little bit in the second half and he just made a play at the end.  It was one of those ones where I thought we played phenomenal three quarters of basketball.  Give all the credit to New Zealand.  Those are maybe the toughest guys I’ve maybe ever seen.  They are just tough, tough guys.  Battled, battled, battled. And we basically just survived their fight at the end.”

On tomorrow’s Gold medal game:  “Being an international game for our guys who are somewhere between 18 and 23, at that level, against that quality of team… And now we have a chance to play Australia, in Australia, for gold.  Priceless opportunity.

Commonwealth semi-finals – including Canada/New Zealand – tonight in Australia

After several days of rest and preparation, the men’s basketball tournament at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia resumes tonight beginning at 8 PM ET (10 AM Saturday in Australia) with upstart Scotland taking on host Australia followed by Canada’s semi-final fixture against New Zealand.  Canada’s game is set to begin at 10:30 PM Eastern time.

The teams have moved from Cairns – located in the northeast part of Queensland – about 1,700 km. south down the shore to Gold Coast.  Semi-final games and Sunday’s Gold and Bronze medal games will take place at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Center which holds about 6,000 for basketball.

As previously noted, Kiwis roster features a deep array of top-end professionals that includes 6’6″ Thomas Abercrombie (Washington State ’08), a Kiwi National team program vet, 6’11” Robert Loe (St. Louis ’14) and burly 6’6″ 35-year old veteran Mika Vukona, another National team veteran.  6’0″ Shea Ili has been Kiwis best guard thus far at the Commonwealth Games.

Recall New Zealand used a 10-0 run off the start of the third quarter to break to a 19 point lead and defeat Canada 82-60 earlier this week.  Canada played without 6’0″ Munis Tutu in that game.

The game could be available on the official Games Channel however the schedule on the site does not specifically show this game.  According to Canada Basketball, the game will be shown on DAZN Canada which appears to be a subscription-based service.