Persons of Interest: Canada’s FIBA World Cup qualifier roster

On Friday Canada’s men’s basketball team will begin its quest to qualify for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China, a key step that will help determine qualifying nations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games basketball tournament.

Canada tips off against the Bahamas in Halifax Friday at about 7:15 p.m. ET and will then travel to play the Dominican Republic in Santiago de los Caballeros on Nov. 27 as part of the first phase of the round-robin stage of the qualifier. The second phase will take place in February where Canada will see the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Bahamas again.

This is a new qualification system that FIBA setup to try to not only more closely emulate it’s much-more popular soccer cousin’s system for the FIFA World Cup, but to also make it so fans have more opportunity to see their own national basketball team play on home soil.

A good idea for most countries, but for Canada, this new system has robbed the program of its best players because of the qualifier dates. There’s never been more Canadian talent in the NBA than now, but none of those guys can play Friday because they’re with their NBA club.

As a result, the team Canada Basketball has put together is comprised of a combination of mostly G-Leaguers and EuroLeague pros.

This isn’t to say this collection of players can’t get the job done, however, unless you’re the most hardcore Canadian hoops head, you’ve likely only heard of a handful of these players, so let’s get to know them a little better in advance of Friday’s game.

Joel Anthony

Position: Centre
Height: Six-foot-nine | Weight: 245 lbs
Age: 35
Hometown: Montreal, Que.
Current Team: Free Agent

The Skinny:
Anthony was a staple for Canada from 2008-2013 and then returned in 2016 for the last-chance Olympic qualifier tournament that the program ultimately came up short in.

He’s, unquestionably, the veteran leader of this current group and has pretty much seen it all with the national team with the exception of a true signature win.

A defensive force in his heyday when he won back-to-back NBA titles with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013, it’s unclear how much Anthony has left to give, but it’s guaranteed as long as there’s something still there he’ll lay it all out there on the court.

Anthony Bennett

Position: Forward
Height: Six-foot-eight | Weight: 245 lbs
Age: 24
Hometown: Toronto, Ont.
Current Team: Northern Arizona Suns (G-League)

The Skinny:
Probably the …read more

Source:: – Sports news

Playing games in Hawaii considered a boon to BYU’s recruiting efforts

HONOLULU — For about half a century, Hawaii has been fertile recruiting ground for the BYU football program.

And that’s one of the big reasons why the Cougars enjoy playing at Hawaii, as they will Saturday (7 p.m., MST, CBSSN) at Aloha Stadium — to maintain and strengthen their presence, and their recruiting foothold, here.

And recruiting is as important as ever, given BYU’s epic struggles this season.

“Whenever you get a chance to play in Hawaii, we’ll gain some fans,” said linebackers coach Steve Kaufusi. “Kids in junior high and high school will come watch the game and will get a chance to watch BYU play. They’ll feel something and off they go. It always helps with recruiting, that’s for sure. It’s great exposure and visibility in Hawaii.”

The Aloha State produces plenty of college and NFL talent, such as quarterback Marcus Mariota, the former Oregon star who became the first Hawaii-born player to win the Heisman Trophy, in 2014, and now plays for the Tennessee Titans.

“Recruiting Hawaii is huge,” said running backs coach Reno Mahe, who plans on remaining in the Aloha State after BYU’s game Saturday to recruit on the islands. “It’s one of those things where we’re pretty limited, recruiting-wise. Back in the day, BYU and coach (Ron McBride) from Utah had their niche in the islands. Now the secret’s out. You have tons of kids going all over the place. You still try to find your group of kids that can come here. It’s small. You’ve got to find them wherever you can that can come in and help us compete with the type of schedule that we have.”

BYU has numerous Polynesians on its coaching and support staffs, starting with head coach Kalani Sitake, who is the first-ever Tongan FBS head coach.

“When you have a Polynesian head coach and the type of staff we have, a lot of these kids can relate. You have a lot of different schools that make sure they have a Polynesian on their staff,” Mahe said. “You get kids who come to BYU and they’ll visit some of the biggest schools. But they feel like it’s not just one coach. It’s the program, it’s the culture here. I think that helps us with recruiting and Hawaii. At other places they might have one or two guys but here, half our floor has Polynesians. We can relate to them.”

BYU currently has 40 Polynesian players on …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

Police arrest Colorado Springs minister accused of sexually assaulting children

Romello Leach, 22.

Provided by El Paso County Sheriff’s OfficeRomello Leach, 22.

A minister associated with several churches that meet regularly at the Satellite Hotel in Colorado Springs was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of sexually assaulting children after a months-long investigation, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said.

Romello Leach, 22, is being held without bond in the El Paso County jail on multiple felony counts of sexual assault on a child, pattern of abuse. The investigation began in May, according to the news released from Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Jacqueline Kirby.

Through his association with the churches that met at the hotel at 411 Lakewood Circle, Leach has had access to an unknown number of children and teens, Kirby said.

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As of Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office was aware of one victim, she said. The agency is seeking information on anyone who may have been victimized by him in the past and not reported it.

Read the full story at

…read more

Source:: The Denver Post – News