Saturday, September 01, 2007


Notes from the Carleton Ravens' exhibition opener, a 74-72 overtime loss vs. the Illinois Fighting Illini (and Jeff Jordan, Michael Jordan's kid):
  • Given that this is a blog, not national media, it only seemed right to focus on the other freshmen playing their first collegiate games, the ones in Ravens uniforms.

    Six-foot-eight post Aaron Chapman -- who's wearing the former No. 43 of Oz Jeanty -- got into it right away, getting 6-foot-10 Illinois senior centre Shaun Pruitt off his feet and gliding in for a layup in the first half. He ended playing the most of the Ravens' frosh trio that also includes guard Elliott Thompson (11 minutes) and 6-6 forward Cole Hobin (seven), totalling eight points and five boards in 20 minutes.

    "Some good things happened to him early," Smart said of Chapman. "He's talented kid, he's got a chance to be an all-Canadian, he's got a chance to be an Aaron Doornekamp-type, but he doesn't have the same confidence level that Aaron had at the same age, but he's got similar talent."

    Smart also noted that he figures Thompson will play right away. "He's a pretty hard-nosed player and I think he's at the point where he's not going to hurt us as a freshman. He's going to be like a Rob Saunders who can maybe shoot the ball even better."
  • How was Jeff Jordan, whom the Chicago Sun-Times' Carol Slezak has called "perhaps the most famous walk-on in college basketball history," received? He had the media swarm around him afterward -- with a lot of fans snapping pics with camera phones, but after the opening tip, there was only traces that this was any different from past games against U.S. teams.

    A buzz ran through the Ravens' Nest about six minutes into the game when he removed his warmup shirt to reveal his No. 13 before checking in. There was a short "Michael's better!" chant from a group sitting behind the Illinois bench when he had his only miss (he was 3-for-4 for six points in 19 minutes), but it was half-hearted.

    In overtime, when Carleton's Stu Turnbull went to the line for two free throws, the P.A announcer said, "Going to the line is our number 13, Stu Turnbull." Really, that was about it.

    All three Canadian sports networks sent reporters and The Globe & Mail's David Naylor was also there for a glimpse of Jordan Jr., but honestly, it didn't feel that much different from a regular game.
  • Smart got back from Canada missing 12 free throws in the FIBA Americas loss to Puerto Rico in Las Vegas to see the Ravens miss 13, including six of eight in the overtime. That's well below anyone's standard and Smart said what needed to be said afterward, but "it is August, it's summer. We shoot a lot of shots compared to other teams. It's still the end of the summer and we're in a good spot (with free throw shooting) compared to other teams."

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