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(MIKE STONE)
(MIKE STONE)

Count the basket for The Score Add to ...

For those of you with memories or lives too short to remember what it was like to be a basketball fan before the existence of 24-hour sports television, let me remind you, or tell you: It sucked.

Very few games to watch, minimal hi-light packages etc. etc.

The advent of TSN and then Sportsnet (though their basketball coverage has obviously been reduced) helped the cause considerably. As a single-ish young man my weekends often went like so, provided I wasn't finding new ways to abuse my liver: Watch the Raptors game Friday night (didn't cover'em back then) followed by whatever late game TSN was showing from the West Coast, get up Saturday morning, play in my pickup game, go for greasy breakfast and talk about the Raptors game.

Then came the Internet, also a good thing, basketball wise.

But the development that has really moved the needle lately has been The Score's commitment to basketball coverage. As a grown up with a mortgage and who now spends his free time driving kids around, I'm pretty confident I'm not their demographic.

But I'm a basketball fan, so in that respect, I absolutely am. I still shake my head in admiration about The Score's decision to broadcast the national team's Olympic qualifying games from Greece a couple of summers back.

Court surfing? That's just a wicked show that didn't exist before. They hired Scott Carefoot, the original Raptors blogger to do something digital which I don't quite understand, also Holly Mackenzie, who previously was scribing for Slam, and just recently added bloggers/podcasters/twitterers The Basketball Jones to their line-up. There's always Cabbie loving Kobe. They dropped the CIS Final Eight (picked up by TSN), but do have this thing called March Madness.

And I mention all of this because tonight they're showing the McDonald's All-American game live at 8 p.m. which is just ….awesome.

It's the granddaddy of US high school all-star games, but has always been kind of theory compared to fact for Canadian hoops fans (though I seem to remember one of From Deep's Original Seven™ sending me a photo he took of the Hump playing in the AAG with LeBron).

But this year it was particularly relevant because of Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson, a pair of Canadian kids - Cory's from Pickering, Tristan's from Brampton - who have been dominating at the top level of US high school basketball all year and earned selections to the McDonald's game.

I was fortunate enough to see them play (um, they're both really good) for their high school team outside Las Vegas earlier this year, which I did in advance of a couple of stories I wrote about them and about the exodus of top high school talent from Canada to the US, particularly from the Toronto area.

There are a lot of points of views on that particular issue, and I certainly have mine, but they're not really germaine at the moment.

What matters is that here are a pair of remarkably talented basketball players, each with legitimate prospects of playing in the NBA - though that is a high a standard and far from a sure thing - who for one night get to metaphorically shout from the rooftops that they've made it; they have arrived at a significant and hard to attain intermediary step along their athletic destiny.

There are pitfalls to avoid and much, much steeper hills to climb, but for now it's worth celebrating those achievements.

And thanks to The Score, Canadian basketball fans can share in the moment.

I'll be at work, covering the Raptors-Clippers, but can be sure I'll have the PVR ready to go at home, and you know what channel it will be on.

 

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