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The Northern Touch…Round One

Posted on 21. Mar, 2010 by Tariq Sbiet in Tournaments, nba-draft

Welcome to the madness everyone, Canadian style. In this year’s NCAA tournament, there are 31 Canadian players representing their respective squads and hometown cities. Some are starters, some role players; I will be covering these specific teams, providing analysis on each Canuck and the role that they have played in their team’s success thus far. Here we go…


11 Minnesota vs. 6 Xavier

On Minnesota we have Devoe Joseph, the Pickering, Ontario native who has picked up his play since he was integrated into the starting line up in late January. DJ has been learning on the go and improving his game at the point which was evident in this game!

Game Analysis:

Joseph only showed glimpses of his growth, taking charge and finding his teammates for open shots.  Devoe Showed his improved court vision finding Westbroook with a skip pass in the corner halfway through the first half.  Defensively, Minnesota was sensational and showed why they led the Big 10 in blocks, (5.7) and steals (7.8).  Colton Iverson was a man inside, anchoring the Gophers stingy defence with 5 blocks. Minnesota had 11 swats as a team.  The dribbling ability of Joseph has also shown improvements as he grabbed a rebound at the 17-minute mark in the second half and went coast to coast to draw the foul. His handle definitely still needs work though.

Jordan Crawford, A.K.A the dude that crowned the king, Lebron James, was sensational scoring everywhere on the court including a sick scoop shot in transition over Joseph. Crawford is a terror in the open floor with the ability to come at you full speed and weave his way past defenders.

It was not Devoe’s night offensively, only scoring 4 points on 1/6 shooting, 5.4 point under his season average of 9.4 per game. However, DJ did hand out 4 dimes, most which came in the first half.  Joseph’s decision making needs to improve if he wants to take sole rights of that PG spot. At this point, he will panic after opposing teams build large leads. Instead of controlling tempo and organizing his unit, Joseph looks to answer by forcing up a quick shot, still playing with a scorer’s mentality.

In the end, it was too much Jordan Crawford who really looked like a solid NBA prospect posting 28,6 and 5 assists. Unfortunately for Minny, Crawford was lights out shooting 11-21 FG and sending the Gophers packing early.


8 Gonzaga vs. 9 Florida State

The Zags are a very interesting team when it comes to Canadian recruits, suiting up four in Rob Sacre, (North Vancouver, BC) Kelly Olynyk, (South Kamloops, BC) Bol Kong (Vancouver, BC) and Mangisto Arop (Edmonton, AB) All four have played great, especially Sacre who is a starter. The other three have been providing nice production off the bench.

Game Analysis:

Rob Sacre was solid inside for the Zags, posting 13 points and 9 boards. This sophomore has been a pleasant surprise all year and has come out of his shell, averaging 10.1 ppg, 5.3 ppg and 1.9 blocks.

I was unable to catch the bulldogs in full as I was covering the Raptors/Thunder game last night. However, since it was a sleeper with Oklahoma City running all over the Raps, I decided to tune in to an online stream when I witness Sacre score a hook shot inside, plus the foul. The big man was pumped after this play and gushed out with emotion while flexing his stuff.

The three rookies in Olynyk, Kong and Arop (injured) didn’t see much action in the first round of the tournament which is understandable. As a coach, you put your trust in the veterans as there is little room for error and that’s what he did.

However, these three henchman provide a little bit of everything for this Gonzaga squad and have been a huge part of Few’s bench production this season, combining for 12ppg, 2.1 apg and 8 rpg. At first glance it may not look like much but once you consider their freshman status along with the other 5 players coming off the bench only posting 7.5 ppg, 2apg and 5.5 rpg, you begin to understand the importance of these Canadian’s role this season and for years to come.

The starting line up scored all 67 points in the Zags victory, led by Matt Bouldin and Steven Grey, who managed 17 and 15 points respectively.

Gonzaga built a comfortable first half lead and held off a late Florida State rally to win 67-60 and continue marching.


Tariq Sbiet - Canadian Recruiting Analyst

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