Brady Heslip's rainstorm of treys vs. Colorado Saturday has evoked some memories of another Canadian who once played in the NCAA Tournament by the name of Steve Nash.
Pairing the Burlington, Ont., native's 27-point performance for Baylor with Tristan
Thompson's NBA-career high 27 points and near career-high 12 boards Monday night against New Jersey got me thinking all nostalgic.
Prior to Heslip, here's the top three all-time performances by Canadians in the NCAA Tournament:
Steve Nash, Santa Clara, 1995-96
Against Arizona State in 1995, the kid from Victoria broke onto the U.S. national scene by hitting six free throws in the last 31 seconds, sealing a Santa Clara victory and a 15-2 shocker in the first round. A year later, Nash would score 28 in another 10-7 upset over Maryland, securing his place in the first round of the '96 NBA Draft (perhaps the best draft in history).Greg Francis, Fairfield, 1997
Until Heslip hit nine threes this weekend, the record for a Canuck behind the arc in the tourney was held by the Toronto native, who drained eight and single-handedly kept the small school in the game against No. 1 powerhouse North Carolina -- featuring Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison and Shammond Williams -- finishing with 26 points. After the game, legendary Tar Heels coach Dean Smith said "I had to find Francis after the game but I couldn't shake his hand because it was so hot."
Jamaal Magloire, Kentucky, 1998
While Magloire was never an offensive force in college or the pros, there was no doubting his defensive capabilities. While he started for Rick Pitino as a freshman in 1996-97, in his sophomore season under Tubby Smith he lost the spot to Nazr Mohammed. Regardless, in a Sweet 16 game against UCLA in 1998, Magloire registered six blocks (as did Mohammed), a mark that stood as a single-game Kentucky record until Anthony Davis broke it on Thursday with seven.
Turns out I was paying attention to the wrong basketball last Thursday. While Day 1 of March Madness failed to live up to 2011's incredibly high bar
, the NBA trade deadline, while not of blockbuster quality, still featured the trades of Nene, Marcus Camby, Gerald Wallace, Stephen Jackson, Ramon Sessions and Derek Fisher -- and the scorched earth approach of Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen.
When the Blazers were in Toronto in January, they stood at 9-6 and showed little of the locker room dysfunction that has consumed them the past month. The firing of coach Nate McMillan was surprising in part because he's a good coach, but not surprising given where the Blazers were -- along with the fact he lost that locker room.
Allen simply decided to burn the house down, a decision made easier in the NBA than in other sports. And given the Microsoft co-founder's propensity to treat his sports properties (the Blazers, the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders) like toys -- he fired two general managers, Kevin Pritchard and Rich Cho, in one year -- this should come as no surprise.
Add the fact nobody would want to take Raymond Felton in a trade, either he or McMillan had to go.
And with the official release of Greg Oden, it means the dawn of a new era in Portland.
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