Monday, July 28, 2008

Remember the name ... Junior Cadougan

It's a good idea to have a mental list of who would form the core group of that mythical future Canadian hoops squad that will qualify for some future Olympics, and maybe even contend for a medal. It's either that or hold out hope that 38-year-old Steve Nash will give 'er in 2012.

You're probably going to hear more in the years ahead about Point guard Junior Cadougan (pictured), a Toronto lad who's committed to play in the Big East in 2009 at Marquette, Dwyane Wade's old school.
"Last week, he helped lead his team, Grassroots Canada, to the U-17 championship at the prestigious adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas by averaging roughly 23.0 points, 6.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals in eight games.

"Cadougan came up big when it mattered most as well, scoring 22 points to lead Grassroots to an 88-79, double-overtime victory over the Compton Magic on Saturday night." -- Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
Cadougan's coach with Grassroots Canada, Ro Russell, told the J-S that, "Junior outplayed every point guard that he faced at the tournament, and maybe changed the minds of a lot of scouts who before were kind of saying, 'Well, he's good, but he's not one of the elite point guards in the country.' One guy in his last report specifically mentioned that he messed up in his ranking of Junior -- or his lack of ranking Junior -- and now Junior's separating himself from his peers and really raised his stock dramatically."

With Canada Basketball, typically it isn't a slam dunk that the best players eligible to play for Canada actually want to play for their country. A point guard with Cadougan's potential, well, that's one hell of a catalyst to make those days history.

(The junior women's national team, including Ottawa native Steph MacDonald, won silver at the FIBA Americas championship winning by 20 over Venezuela on Sunday. It's the same result as two years ago -- second to you-know-who -- but try not to be so cynical.

Update: Here's how it's different in the U.S. Tristan Thompson is one of the best basketball players in the Class of 2010 and he's virtually unknown in his own country, but in the States, recruiters are already making projections for 14-year-old Sydney Moss, Randy Moss' daughter. How crazy is that? How crazy is it that Randy Moss -- he's a month younger than me -- has a daughter who's starting high school?)

Catching up on Cadougan (Todd Rosiak, Golden Eagles Blog, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
Canadians' huge win raises profile for hoops program (USA Today)

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