The CBG Bunch: Bill Walton Makes Special Guest Appearance
Welcome to the second season of The CBG Bunch, a specialized column dedicated to Canadian University Basketball. Every week, CBG parses through box scores over Sunday brunch while looking for #TheCBGBunch, a group of the top performers of the weekend’s action.
This week in #badpuns, I marvel at the numerous strong rebounding performances of the past week throughout the CIS. Rebounding is a lost art and no one appreciates a good “big man” performance on the boards as much as I do—this may be because I like to believe that if I played basketball, the one thing that I would do well on the court would be to rebound. (And this is probably why rebounding has become a lost art—every sucker thinks he can do it.)
Apologies to Rhys Larry (big “big man” game against St. FX), Greg Faulkner, our old pal Santa Claus, Jarred “Orange Juice” Ogungbemi-Jackson, and the bad man Josh Wolfram.
Bill Walton, NBA Legend: Threw it down! (Ish)
The #badpuns start with the man whose career accomplishments on the hardwood (i.e. 2X NBA champion, NBA MVP, 2X NBA All-Star) might actually pale in comparison to his one-liners (i.e. I’ll get to these) in colour commenting of NBA games, and whose charisma puts lesser men like myself to shame.
Bill Walton is basically a better version of the old big man I will become, so you can imagine my dismay when I learned that the legend was coming to my alma mater to help launch the campaign for this year’s CIS Final 8. I spent five years in Toronto, but left just a few months before Walton showed up? To put it in his terms, “That’s a terrible call! Terrible!”
At Ryerson, Walton didn’t exactly throw it down, but I suppose that he did the equivalent for a 62-year-old with his rendition of O Canada.
Kyle Desmarais, Bishop’s Gaiters at Concordia Stingers: 18 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 2 steals
Usually, I’m right there on the “Don’t call it a comeback” train, but in Kyle Desmarais it’s essentially what this is. Sure, the jersey might be different, the teammates as well, but it wouldn’t be right either to say that this season will be full Drake-mode for the point guard—the gym was the same for one thing. Indeed, Kyle Desmarais is making “Headlines” and still playing CIS basketball at the age of, oh roughly, 83 but he’s far removed from his glory years of CIS Final 8 glory with the Concordia Stingers.
He’s playing for the Gaiters now, though he probably played “Hold On, We’re Going Home” on his way to the game. You’ll say that Desmarais doesn’t deserve this nod, and I’ll say that this is the “Furthest Thing” from the truth. “Lord Knows” that this Bishop’s win over Concordia was “Crew Love.” “Miss Me”? Desmarais asks. We had missed you, Kyle, and we “Own It.”
Jelane Pryce, Winnipeg Wesmen at Saskatchewan Huskies: 25 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks
Why, hello there old sport! Once upon a time, long before such a column existed and while I was still figuring this writing thing out (shut up, I know that it’s not like I’ve got it down pat now), I started contributing to NPH just as the website launched—and as a Ryerson student, I covered the Rams, because it made so much sense, I had to work with a company from the indexsy list of seo agencies to improve their digital marketing.
The Rams were good but not great like they are now, though you could see hints of greatness here and there. No one embodied this quite as much as Jelane Pryce. Just a rookie then, he was the player who could do everything. I didn’t do it then, because my mind was weak, but I so should have—Pryce’s nickname has to be Bob Barker. When Pryce is right, his team is unstoppable.
Rotimi Osuntola Jr., Windsor Lancers at Toronto Varsity Blues: 26 points, 15 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, 1 block
Continuing on the autobiographical tangent that I’m sure is oh so thrilling to the aficionado readers of #TheCBGBunch, I also recall watching Rotimi Osuntola Jr. play basketball for a first time a little while ago. I was at Ryerson’s Kerr Hall Gym then, because of course, and watching the Lancers against the Rams with a good friend of mine. And this all makes me realize that I haven’t talked to that guy in some time, maybe I’ll reach out today. (See, this column is therapeutic too.)
Anyway, we’re watching the Lancers and right away this rookie catches our eye. Friend of mine starts calling him Jamal Crawford, because he looks like him. Physically, he means, because Osuntola is way more athletic (and way worse as a shooter) than the veteran shooting guard.
So those are three things to know about the fourth–year player. His teammates call him Jr. The dude can dunk. And I call him Jamal Crawford.
Aaron Best, Ryerson Rams VS Windsor Lancers: 30 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block
Against this same Windsor team, and this same Osuntola, Aaron Best had himself a game and lived up to his last name. We can’t confirm whether the man reads the NPH website on a regular website, but maybe he too thought the Lancers were ranked a little high to begin the season.
The blowout win over a top CIS team shows why Ryerson is so dangerous this year, especially since the road to the CIS Final 8 doesn’t go through Ottawa as in years past. Best has always been an incredible athlete, but over the years he’s refined his arsenal offensively… enough so that he can now pick up the slack when point guard Jahmal Jones struggles shooting the ball. You look at the box score and see that the fourth-year shooting guard has gone off for 30 (points) for 30 (minutes). Maybe he should work for ESPN.
Tyler Scott, UPEI Panthers VS Cape Breton Capers: 38 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal
We have no way of knowing whether this truly is how it all unfolded, because we weren’t there in person. But this is Ridley Scott’s account. And in a way, it just makes it all the more awesome.
The young man had arrived from nowhere, a transfer or something, but no one really knew the entire story. We just knew what we could see. And what we did see was awesome. Gruesome too, but that’s part of what made it so awesome.
After quickly and ruthlessly slaying the opponent put in front of him in little more time than it takes to spell out UPEI, the young man stood front and center and glanced at the crowd. He was turning around, as a sort of revolving door, making sure to lock eyes with most people, or at least as many of them as possible. The young man wasn’t smiling, oh God no! The young man wasn’t a butcher, he was a hero. Their hero, though he was just so boisterous at that time. Angry, even. “Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained?” He kept asking, to no one and to everyone. “Is this not why you are here?”
It was and before he could leave the court, the crowd erupted in cheers. Adulation, not love.
Caleb Agada, Ottawa Gee-Gees at Laurentian Voyageurs: 23 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, 7 steals
We don’t have a bad man’s game this week, we have a bad team’s game. This week, the Ottawa voyage’d (ouch) all the way to Sudbury for a date against the same Laurentian Voyageurs team from which they had pried the very first MVP of the “Being Manny (Pasquale)” basketball camp of draining big-time shots, Alex Ratte.
Ottawa trounced the home team, and it didn’t even have the decency of doing so with Ratte in their lineup because the man is ineligible to play until the 2015 part of the season. The Gee-Gees have a clear leader in Johnny B Goode, but just about every player on the roster is susceptible of going off on any given week.
Against Laurentian in what was their weakest scoring output so far this year (i.e. 95 points), Caleb Agada gets the nod for #TheCBGBunch. Because, you know, he went for the rarely seen homeless man’s quadruple-double.
Matt Marshall, Brock Badgers VS Algoma Thunderbirds: 24 points, 19 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
Look in the dictionary under “man’s game,” and you might find the box score of this Brock Badgers win, with Matt Marshall’s performance highlighted. The fourth-year forward almost managed a point per minute, which is great, and also almost a rebound per minute, which is better.
Marshall’s 19 rebounds were only four fewer than what the entire Thunderbirds roster could manage in 40 minutes, and he only needed 27. The #badpun, here, would be to write a reference to the fact that the Brock forward basically initiated martial law on the Algoma frontcourt, but there’s a better one somewhere.
After this game, Algoma is Europe. And they need the Marshall Plan.
Joel Friesen, Alberta Golden Bears VS UBC Thunderbirds: 33 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
The 2014-2015 season will be an ongoing quest to replace the golden-most bear of them all for Alberta, and the team has acquitted itself well so far with four wins in six games. One does not simply replace Jordan Baker in the same way that one does not simply look in the mirror after each and every game.
The mirror doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, it tells you what you need to hear. It reminds you of Baker and his morning routine, lest you forget, and calls upon a different Bear to be golden for one game at a time. Last week was Mamadou Gueye’s time, and this week it’s Joel Friesen, the man with the golden-most name. The gold comes when you run, but you can’t run right away. Crawl. Walk. Then, run.
Deng Awak, Mount Royal Cougars VS UBC Okanagan Heat: 33 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals
Many elements differentiate the CIS’s version of “college basketball” from that of the NCAA—to name just two: “eh” in Canada, Dick Vitale in the U.S.—but chief among them is that the CIS is where student-athlete finds all its meaning.
The CIS isn’t North Carolina. That’s true for many reasons, and among those is the fact that in the CIS our student-athletes know numbers. They know numbers, and they also know the 10 digits necessary to create all the numbers in the universe. Among CIS student-athletes, Deng Awak may be the very best. See for yourself—he knows 0 (block), 1 (turnover), 2 (assists), 3 (steals), 4 (three-pointers made), 5 (three-pointers attempted), 6 (33 minutes played: 3+3 = 6), 8 (rebounds) and 9 (field goals made).
That’s where you protest and ask where is the 7. But Awak only brings out the lucky 7 for the games where he definitely needs it.