Jude Kelly - 2005 Manitoba Hall of Fame inductee
- makes his picks for Top CIS Players.
I'd like to contribute to the discussion on the Top 25 Canadian
Players of All-Time.
Now I played for Brandon University from 1979-1983, an era that I feel produced some of the best
Canadian basketball of all time.
I know most of the top players these days head to the States to play NCAA ball, but
until the mid-80s, that route wasn't open to a lot of the better ballers in this country, who instead (thankfully) stayed
I was fortunate to play with and against some of the greatest players of all time, and saw many other play while
I was in high school or after I graduated university. With all the talent we've produced over the years, it's always a real
head-scratcher as to why we haven't won more medals in international play.
My list salutes Canadians who played in
the CIAU/CIS so in no particular order here goes:
Eli Pasquale, Victoria - best point guard to ever play in Canada
Riley, Manitoba - supremely tough point guard
Bob Croft - from my hometown of Hamilton and the first ever Canadian (I think)
drafted to the pros
Wayne Allison, Windsor - also from my hometown; had a Karl Malone-like game, tough, combative
Tillman, Calgary - Hard working, great shooter
Dave Zanatta, Lakehead - best shooting guard we've ever produced
Coulthard, York - Deadly shooter, incredible range
Gerald Kazanowski, Victoria - wonderful passer and scorer
Waterloo - there's a reason why the MVP trophy is named after him.
Pat Jebbison, Brandon - could easily have started -
and starred - for a major NCAA Division 1 squad
Ken Opalko, Winnipeg - Tremendous shooting range
Tom Cholak, Carlton
- excellent, mobile big man
Cheddi Warner, Brandon, Lakehead - simply dominated every guard he played against
Heany, the first of our star American imports who later made Canada his home
John Karpis, Toronto - could score in so many
Bo Pelech, York - most feared defensive player in the country
Doc Ryan, St. Francis Xavier - Smart, clever...
for the opportunity to submit!
Jude Kelly – Brandon University Bobcats, All-Canadian 1981-82 and 1982-83 ; Tournament
CIAU (CIS) All-Star 1982-83 ; GPAC All-Star 1980-81, 1981-82 and 1982-83
Coach Steve Konchalski: Here are some players that probably
should be on the comprehensive list Cory Hallas, Rob Wilson, Ken Larson, Trevor Williams, Ross Wedlake and Fred Perry. Billy
Robinson belongs on one of the top 2-3 all-time teams he was one of the greatest players to ever play for Canada in my time.
Coach Konchalski: bio
Editor note: Small world that it is - was coached at
summer camps by Ross Wedlake and played some senior ball with Ken Larson.
Robert Martin: I'm a 25 year old native
Canadian trying out for a pro team in the ABA. my name is robert martin and im from the ghetto of north end of Winnipeg. Ii
have played against current Team Canada players and pro's from the CBA, WBL and NBA. I even make the trip down to NYC and
attend the EBC tournament and check that out. I played in the 97 Canada Games, 96 Canadian Junoir Nationals, but havent gotten
the opportunity to showcase my whole talents as a whole on a national or international level. Now I have the opportunity with
the ABA's native america and with that, I will try-out for coach JT's canadian senoir mens national team once given that chance.
I look to be the first native canadian on the senoir mens national basketball team. I pray everynight that Canada will qualify
for the 2008 Olympic games. I play basketball here day and night, working on drills and watching tapes of players like Dr.
J, the Iceman George Gervin, "The Worm" Dennis Rodman, and MJ. Latest I stay out is about 3am on the street courts, 10:30pm
at the local YMCA, all times CST. I picked up a basketball at the age of 14 and never dropped it since. I'm the only Native
Canadian in my city who is fully committed to the game, day and night. Why is that you never notice one single Native Canadian
or American in the NBA making a salary? My people say its all politics and that they see only whats on the outside rather
then whats on the inside. I got the heart and tools to play, but lack the stage to showcase my talents to the Native Canadian
or Native American communities. Upon making a pro team or the national team can you regard me as one of the top 100 or put
me on the inspiration players page."
Scott Taylor, former Winnipeg Free Press
columnist: Should add Peter Mizikowicz, Chris Coulthard, Henry Vandenburg, Sam Kaknevicius, Steve Ignatavicius, Paul Armstrong,
Rick Watts, Greg Daniels,Ken Olynyk, Ted Stoesz, Angus Burr, Phil Schlote, Tom Kieswetter. Otherwise, that's a good list.
Editor Note: Have known Scott Taylor for
more than 25 years. A truly great Canadian journalist who at one time was Executive Director of Manitoba Amateur Basketball.
Also, Angus Burr coached editor in high school to a provincial hoop title and Rick Watts briefly in JV University.
Skouson Harker who has played in the Pac-10 for the Oregon Ducks, Led tiny Raymond High School to 3 straight 4A silver
medals while going for 27 pts 13 rebs 5 blocks and 5 assist per. He was also All-conference, All-state, and All-region at
NJCAA power McCook, NE leading them to a 29-2 record with 9 future HIGH MAJOR NCAA D1 players on the team. After Oregon he
went on to play in the NABL for the Akron Wingfoots, was drafted by Huron of the MBA-XBA, played for the Frontier City River
Dogz 12 ppg 7 rpg while starting along side former Phoenix Suns' Richard Dumas. He the went on to put up 30.7ppg 16.2
Rpg and 4 apg at TS Goppingen in the German Regionalliga in 2003-2004. This season he is doing his thing in the top UK league
the BBL he is scoring 13ppg and 7 rpg after just 3 games but look for much better numbers. He is my boy and he has been overlooked
HUGELY on the Canadian scene. Last I checked the 2 guys that put up comparable numbers in the BBL were Andrew Mavis and Greg
Melrum (Both Canadian Nats) and Novell Thomas didn't do NEARLY as much as Harker in the MBA. If Harker did not have 2 surgeries
in College I wouldn't be telling you this, but not trying to hate but come on some of these guys on the list Harker did as
much or more than them in High School and is a pro. Some of these young cats have not proven anything and are living in hype.
O ya Harker is '6 8'' 235 and plays the 2-3 for the Birmingham Bullets all Canadian politics aside he can ball just because
he didn't go to Simon Fraser or is from Toronto he won't be overlooked much longer. He deserve to be on the list in
the top 150 no doubt. Guys like Danny Balderson were good against small slow defenders but he is 6'4'' and slow he would not
even see the floor at a level such as the BBL of US minor leagues think about that. Hype can only take you so far as Danny
found out, Henry Bekkering will see this as well sure he jumps but do you really thing this will carry him...NO.
a dime a dozen south of the border. DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE. The truth will come, he may put up DECENT numbers in weak ass
big sky but as you saw when he gets on a international stage with the jun. nats. he shows very little. This is beside the
point Skouson Harker deserve some props he is on of few Canadians playing in the premier league in any European country
Follow up e-mail from Skouson Harker
Sorry if my boy came off a little harsh about the lack of
props I have been
getting but he is not lying about my game. If you check the BBL website you
will see on that I gave
Greg Meldrum (member of Canada's 2002 World Champ squad in Indy) a real workout. I scored 31 points on Saturday and held him
to 8. He can not go by me and he sure can't get his sweet stroke up over me. He is a good player but politics got him on the
2002 Canadian Team. We lost 2 games on the weekend both by 1 point but don't sleep on the Bullets. We could be 5-1 instead
of 1-5. Our pg (Ervin Murray) started with Josh Howard and Darius Songaila at Wake Forest our 2 guard (Mikey Marshall) started
3 years at Texas Tech for Bobby Knight and our 4 man (Deg Erskin) started alongside T.J. Ford at Texas and played in the Final
Four and I'm not to bad at the 3 spot. We just need to get some W's under our belt and believe me we will. I want to
know what '6 8'' 235 Canadian can play any position on the floor? I don't want to sound cocky but give me Andrew Kwiakowksi
or Denham Brown for 40 minutes and see what happens. You can post this as well I really don't mind. I will let my game speak
for itself. It is just a shame to see politics, but it is part of the game especially on a national level. I hope the new
coach will look past whether or not a player is from B.C. or T.O. or if he went to Simon Fraser. There are a lot of legit
Canadians out there we just need to find the right combination and get back in the 2008 Oly's. Thanks, keep up the good work
on the sight it is interesting to see.Chris Tenant: What about Ken Murray from Brock, is Brock all time leading scorer
and average 30 and 17 one season. Never got recognzed because back then teams that did poorly wernt even given credit
at all. Also tried out for the Bulls and Bullets.
Larry Lebasco: Great website!!! I had the chance to watch
Travis Stel play at North Idaho College and then followed him a bit when he went on to play at Fresno State. I thought he
was one of the most talented Canadians to come through Coeur' d'Alene. He could run the floor really well and was physically
very strong.Do you have any idea what he is up to now? Thanks and keep up the good work. Larry
Matt Bains: Two players that should defenitely be on your
list of top 100 players are actually brothers from Magrath, Alberta. Danny Balderson high school ball in Magrath and
followed that with a stellar career at the Univeristy of Lethbridge. Anybody who knows anything about basketball in
Canada would know this guy. Also.....Danny's younger brother Jimmy also had an amazing career at Magrath High School
and went on to play NCAA Div 1 ball at BYU. He is currently on a mission for his church in Guam and returns in August
and will return to play at BYU.
John Randa: In my opinion Jay Triano should be on the first
team of the greatest Canadians of all time. Jay had no weaknesses to his game and was a great scorer and was a very unselfish
player when it came to distributing the ball to his teammates.What many people fail to realize is that when Jay graduated
from university there were not a lot of teams like there is today. Expansion in the NBA has created more opportunities for
todays players.If Jay was playing in todays game he would probably have a 10-year NBA career. I also believe Lars Hansen would
have had a 10-year career in the NBA if he was playing in todays game.
Editor's Note: In the "About Me" section under Favourite
Things is my Favourite Team Ever Played On: John - who played at Easter Washington - and I were on the same senior men's team
- of which yours truly was captain. We dubbed it the "Dream Team" before there was a "Dream Team" as it featured the 6-foot-8
Randa (who is in our 300 player list); the late great Wes Herbert, U of Winnipeg & Lethbridge College;
Eric Skinner, Acadia; Terry Ayers, Alberta; Chris Kalnay, Ottawa and Algis Grajuaskas, Western to name a few.
Diana: "I just saw a game in Brantford in the new OPBA league,
and at 34 Martin Keane is a force to be reckoned with."
Carrie "Peter Guarasci is from my hometown of Niagara Falls.
He has been on our national team for many years and has also played professionally in Europe. He would be a good selection
for the Top 100."
Dave Wells: "I saw Ron Thorsen (in my mind a slashy 6'3"
guard) play for UBC when I was a kid and was so impressed! I don't really know how good he was (because at that age I didn't
have much to compare him to), but he must have been reasonable. I know he was drafted by the NBA in a supplemental draft around
1972/73 but haven't been able to find it on-line. As for additional players, I'm not sure if he's top-100, but Tim Tollestrup
was a significant national team starter too
Editors Note: Also read in Guest Book, Dave's valued
opinion on the rating or non rating of Phil Tollestrup not making the Top Five Canadian Teams.
Kyle Jessome: "Here is a centre, forward and guard for your
Top 100 list. Byron Tokarchuk (U of Saskatchewan), J.D. Jackson (U.B.C.) and Richard Bohne (Calgary). All three were university
all-stars and the best players in the country."
Brandon: "Hands down Henry Bekkering (now at Eastern Washington)
will be in the Top 5 (Canadians) in a few years. over. This white boy can dunk just as good as Vince Carter. Check out these
sick dunks. Check it out."
Frank: "Ryan Serravalle - Captain of the 2002 Holy Cross
Crusaders, (Worcester,MA) NCAA Division I, that won back to back Patriot League Championships, and nearly upsetting the no.
1 seed Kansas and Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. He was the 36th player in Patriot League History to
record over 1,000 career points, ranking 26th all time in Holy Cross History. 3rd all time in three point field goals made.
Provincial gold medalist under 18. Played professional basketball in both Division One Poland and A2 in Italy. Will currently
be playing in the OPBA league as well, and in Europe next season.
Black Bill Walton: "How come Phil Dixon is not up there?
He was an outstanding player at Bathurst Heights and at Utah playing 4 years for Rick Majerus."
Leonard S: "Hard job coming up with the 100 best wish you
luck. A great addition is Peter Savich CIAU player of the year 1984-5 from Waterloo."
Editors Note: Thanks to John Grasso of Guilford New York
who sent me an amazing historical persepective of the Canadian Olympian teams over the years and added many members, too many
to mention, to the Top 100 list. For the past few years he has been working on the daunting task of gathering info on
each and every team - not only Canada but all men's and ladies hoop teams - that have competed in the Olympics! If you
have any scores, player stats for Canada for the 1936, 1948, 1956 and 1960 Olympics sent them to me and I will forward..
AK$ - I know i havent seen a lot of these fellas play....but what about some consideration for Pete Morris out in BC. He
played at St FX i think and had a few NBA looks. The dude must be like 80 now (kidding) and still rips it.
Aquemini: How about Joey Vickery? Played at Brandon and could
flat-out stroke it......also played on the national team for many years. You gotta get Henry Bekkering off there too. Guy
didn't even play last year...maybe wait on the end of his career to decide that one
Minute Maid: Pasha Bains:CIS Player of the Year. Greatest
high school career in BC ever and played at Clemson. Olu Famutimi moved from Ontario but moved down to Michigan to play high
school basketball and was a McDonalds All American. Pasha for sure deserves to be on the list, but Olu is arguable
John Sutherland: I don't know the exact year but Ritchie
Spears was drafted back in the early sixties. I think Steve Konchalski may have been drafted as well. Richie Spears, Brian
Heaney, and Steve Konchalski all played for Acadia around that period and I have seen all of them playing. Although they've
been fixtures on the Canadian basketball scene for many years, both Heaney and Konchalski are Americans originally from New
York state. Brian was from Far Rockaway Beach and I can't remember Steve's hometown. Richie is Canadian from New Waterford,
NS. Other possibilities somewhere on or just below your top 100 list would be John Cassidy from Ottawa (played at St. Mary's
and Dalhousie) who was on the Canadian national team for quite a while and Warren Sutton (Acadia I believe) from Montreal.
James Gillingham and Jerome Robinson (Bradley), Romuald Augustin (Providence/Bryant), Velimir Radinovic (Ohio State), Juan
Mendez (Niagara), Jesse Young from Peterborough (George Mason). and Jon Kijonek (Iona) should be considered as well. There
are a number of current NCAA D1 players who are likely to make the list in the future.
Editor's Note: Found info on Spears being drafted in NBA. Check .
Da Doc: What about players who played overseas? Deon George
was an honourable mention All-American while at St-Francis(NY) averaging 18pt 10reb a game his last 2 years. He plays in Switzerland
now. Jimmy Maniatis and Angelo Vourtzoumis were are arguably the best players MTL ever produced. Both were highly recruited
(ACC,Big East,Sec,etc.) yet decided to play pro ball in Greece.
Shawn 15: JJ Brade was also sick from Quebec he was almost
a McDonald's All American and at the time him and Steve Nash were the best players coming out of Canada and he signed with
the bigger school in George Washington they play in the Pac10
Warren Poncsak: Here are some candidates: Johnny Carson and
Jude Kelly, Brandon 80's; Gene Rizak; Glen Nelson, U of R (leads Chris Biegler in all categories!); Kevin Gilroy, U of R.
Editor's Note: Carson, a great player, was an American
import for Brandon.
Dale Mitchell: Let me give a vote
for "Double D" David Daniels (already on the list). He went to High School in Redmond Oregon, was a star player for Colorado
College and was a late cut cut from the Denver Nuggets. He went from there to be the starting point guard for Athletes in
Action for 9 years. He is a kick to watch as he will regularly strip the opponent point guard 4 or 5 times a game. I
watched him school a young Luke Ridenour at Oregon for 22 and then bust a 3 to win the game. He has been on the Canadian
National team several times and had the time of his life playing for Canada at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. This 5'9" burner
has played in every corner of the world and has some great stories of seeing the change that happens when we put God first
in our lives."
Lefteris: "Hello, 2 good choices with FIBA WC participation are
George Papadakos and Tom Kappos. Just curious who proposed Vourtzoumis or Maniatis? The above 2 Canadian-Greekshave far better
career, even without counting Greek ball experience."
Mike Milne Head Coach University of Western Ontario Women's Basketball:
"John Stiefalmeyer is arguable one of the greatest CIS players ever. Player of the Year, National Champion, OFSAA gold medallist.
Only a serious knee injury prevented a great national team/professional career."
Ibrahim: I've also gotta give props to Jason "J.J." Brade. He was
6-4, athletic, and was a natural scoring guard, not a forward. He also played back in the glory days of West Island basketball,
when we were running things even more than Sun Youth for awhile.
I wish there was more coverage of ball back then, so guys
like J could have gotten the props they deserved. Hey, check out QHoops.net in the next few weeks for Greatest Quebec 'Ballers
of All Time!
Paul Eberhardt: I believe you should add Brent Watson to your top
100 list. He was the two time MVP of the BC 'AAA' High School Championships in 1961 and 1962, with his team winning it all
in 1961. He went on to star at Washington State for three years. He is easily one of the best players ever to come out of
Shawna Gaborieau: I am very surprised and somewhat disappointed
that you have left these two gentlemen - Dan Becker and Ken Opalko - off your list. Their contributions to the
community alone should qualify them. Both of these gentlemen played for the national team (in Olympic years) as well
as developmental years. Dan Becker played his first year at St. Joseph's University before transferring to Colorado
to finish off a stellar career. He attended several training camps most notably with the Denver Nuggets and the Indiana
Pacers. He played overseas for many years and was a league all-star every year. He also played in the Maccabbi
games in Israel. He is currently coaching at U of M for Rick Suffield who is on sabbaticcal. Dan was the choreographer
and casting director for A Season On The Brink: The Bobby Knight Story. Ken Opalko, well is only the leading scorer
in the history of Canadian University basketball--BEFORE A THREE POINT LINE !!! Many observers of the game say (including
the late Carl Ridd) that if there had been a three point line Opalko's total would have been much more than it currently is,
about 3500 points. Opalko turned down countless offers to play in Europe. He remains here in the community teaching
at MBCI. His son Matthew currently wears a Wesmen uniform as Ken did also. Please consider these two players to
be added to your list. I assure you that they are more deserving of such an honor than the likes of Mustafa Cetin and
others who perhaps have not yet earned their place here. Thank you for your time."
Editor's Note: The editor played on the same high school team
as Ken Opalko for three years in high school starting at the forward opposite him when DMCI won the provincial title.
Red Sox: Consideration has to be given to David Zanatta from
Sault Ste. Marie. He played at Lakehead for 3 years I believe and is third on their all time scoring list. (Before
a three point line) Saw him play a number of times in S. Ont. Twice Jack Donahue was there looking at him.
I think if he had been a better acadamic he would of gone a long way nationally. This was at the same time as Eli Pasquale.
Saw them both, think Zanatta was better in the games I saw.
Taffe Charles: You should have Brian Leonard
on the list of the top 300. Carleton University and Simon Frasor and played with Student National Team is FISU games
Gerry Hug: How bout.Gary Edgers-won a national championship
for mal. Battled Steve Nash in high school and always got the best of him. If anyone asked Steve Nash who Gary Edgers
was he would tell you! Gene Wolff-simply the best all native basketball player right now present. Dont know one person that
can stop him whos native and also non-native. Willis Parnell-won a national championship at U Vic. I'm saying these native
basketball players because I dont see them on on your list. these few players here have accomplished a lot in there day."
Editor's Note: Editor spend this year coaching three days
a week on a reserve in Northern Alberta and also travels to various reserves in the north to coach hoops. Also read this story
on North America's first all First Nations pro basketball team ready to play in ABA.
Scott Walton: With some of the names on the list, I can't
help to think that Derek Welsh (Pitt Meadows, SFU) should be on there. BC high school MVP and at one point SFU all time
assists leader. Also, Aaron Mitchell(Terry Fox, Langara, Brandon) should be on there as well. Part of a dynasty
at Fox and put up huge numbers at Langara.
L. Cahill: Just came across your site and your Top 100.
I'd like to suggest a couple of outstanding players for consideration. Val Pozzan was the premier guard in Ontario College
with George Brown in the '70's and Wayne Allison as a Hall of Famer at Wooster, Ohio and the University of Windsor.
Coach: How about John Ryan and Dave Nutbrown for your list. Ryan played at UCCB for five years. Was an All-Canadian for
at least three of those five. Made two trips to CIS Nationals. Played with many of the players on your list in our national
program. Captain of the junior men's program. One of the best HS players the maritimes has ever seen. Held his own with anybody
in Canada. Nutbrown tore up the Maritimes way back in the late 60's and early 70's. Many people say he was one of the all
time greats. Good enough to be asked to tryout with the Knicks back when they were making their championship runs in the early
Rick Hunger - 6'10" big man from Montreal. Played at Providence
College, sevral years on the national team and pro ball in Europe.
Bobby Miller - 5'11" guard from Montreal, MVP
for 3 years at New Hampshire College (NCAA Div.2), played 1 year of pro ball in Lebanon
Glenn Campbell: Tom Cholock of Carleton 78-79 was the finest
big man I have ever seen at the college level. His stats over the two years he played
proved this. Six-foot eight of jump
shooting smoothness and a ferocious rebounder, he averaged close to thirty points per game his freshman year in the CIAU!
Tom lost his dream of becoming a member of the RCMP because of colour blindness and quit school.What a shame for all basketball
of the CIAU.
Mark Wacyk: Rocky and Cordell Llewellyn from Toronto George
Harvey in the 1980's. Rocky Lu played 4 years at St. Bonaventure and Bobby Lu played at 3 U.S. schools including Wake
J Michael Kenyon: It is, simply put, misleading to include
Bob Houbregs among a list of "Canadian" basketball players. Yes, he was born there -- but his father, John Houbregs, was a
notable hockey player of the '30s, who wound up playing his final years in Seattle. Thus raised from early childhood in a
U.S. city, Houbregs played high school ball (at now-defunct Queen Anne High School) in Seattle and went on to an All-American
career, locally, at the University of Washington, where he led his team to the Final Four (before it was called that) in 1953
(Houbregs fouled out against Kansas in the semifinal game -- questionable calls, incidentally, amid a decidedly pro-Jayhawk
crowd in Kansas City -- and the Huskies lost. But they swamped Bob Pettit and LSU in the consolation game -- remember those?
-- the next night.) Houbregs went on to a relatively brief pro career, largely impacted by two events: the early-season demise
of his original franchise, the Baltimore Bullets, and persistent back woes that finally sidelined him for good. Even so, he
had his moments, especially with the Fort Wayne Pistons during some of their salad days in the mid-'50s. He was a particular
favorite of the jovial Charlie Eckmann, who was the funniest man ever to coach an NBA team. While I am dishing out superlatives,
I will make Houbregs' claim to fame, as well: He was the greatest hook-shot artist in basketball history. This now-almost-extinct
maneuver was the 6-7 Houbregs' bread & butter (a center in college, he played forward as a pro) and those who never saw
him in action missed a guy who, had he played today, would have been regularly HOOKING in 3-pointers at both the collegiate
and pro distances. He was deadly at the art, from all around the perimeter of the key, but specially from the baseline, all
the way out to the corner of the floor. I mean, he made hook shots almost as spectacular as those that Tatum, Hall, Lemon
and Ausbie used as gag shots for the Trotters. (Houbregs influenced a number of hook shooters among Seattle prepsters who
followed him, most notably Bruno Boin, about five years behind him as a UW center, but -- proficient as Boin was at the graceful
hook shot -- he never approached Houbregs' level of profiency.) Today, in his early '70s, "Hooks" Houbregs continues to make
his home in the Seattle area and is a familiar figure at sporting events and charity golf tournaments. He had a long career
as a sporting goods rep (Converse, I believe) and even had a brief fling as an NBA front-office type, if I remember correctly.
Those long, arching hook shots, though, will forever be linked to his memory. P.S. -- Oh, by the way, if he really IS to be
considered Canadian, he pushes Nash for the top spot on the list.
Bruce Kitts: Bob Houbregs was born in Vancouver, B.C.,
but did he ever play basketball in Canada? His family moved to Seattle and he played high school basketball at Seattle's Queen
Anne High School before going to the University of Washington. Can you be one of the best Canadian basketball players of all
time without living or playing there?
Smithford 3: Here's a few other Canadians to consider:
Norm Baker - BAA 46-47; Gino Sovran BAA 46-47; Bobby Croft ABA 70-71; Ron Crevier NBA 85-86; Dr. Ernie Vandeweghe NBA 49-56;
Jim Zoet NBA 82-83; Romel Raffin - 4 time Olympian 1976-88; Jay Triano - Olympic player and head coach; Brian Heaney - American-born
but played and coached in Canada - one year in NBA; Lars Hansen - Danish-born but grew up in Canada - one year in NBA.
Being Canadian, I do appreciate this question, but it is
a bit depressing. My brother and I used to always joke about Mike Smrek, or Mike 'Schmuck' as we used to call him. Like Bill
Wennington, and later Rick Fox, Smrek was in the right place at the right time. All three are good role players, but never
made much of an impact on a non-championship team. Rautins was a huge mistake as a first-round pick, and never did squat in
the NBA. He has, however, managed to live off his 'reputation' for years as an announcer and commentator here. Steve Nash,
though, is truly the first front-line Canadian player to make an impact on the game and he's a joy to watch. I love the fact
that he wore a 'No to war in Iraq' t-shirt to All-Star weekend. Can you imagine any of the big-name players like Jordan, McGrady,
Carter or Garnett doing anything similar? They'd be crucified by the media. But I'd have to say that the best Canadian basketball
player isn't on the list -- Dr. James Naismith. Sure, he didn't play much, but you might say he had an impact on the game.
Jed Tai: you want to add a comment for Meeks, you
could note that he's the all-time leading scorer for Canadian players in NCAA history (Division I). Wayne Smith of Duquesne
finished his career #2 last year.
Don Smith (Head coach at WLU from 1970-81) :How about Rod
Dean 6'3" GUARD from Waterloo Lutheran/Wilfrid Laurier. As a freshman he led his team to the 1971 Nationals and was first
team All Canadian. Went on to be an All Canadian for four years. Not many have done that. His records can be checked
in the OOAA.
Ryan Michalski: You have Richard Brenton on that list?.lol.
I played with him and against him in high school in Newfoundland and he's be hard pressed to make the top 50 coming out of
the province. Peter Benoite (All-Canadian from MUN) was 10 times better, as was Tim and Steve Beckett and for that matter,
I was and am a better player than him. I think it's great what you're doing by compiling a list of great Canadian ballers.
I just think it needs more rep from out East. There have been a ton of great ball players from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick
and Newfoundland. Ever hear of Glenn Normore, Ron Tobin, Glenn Taylor? Those guys tore it up for Acadia and MUN back in the
late 70s. You've got a lot of chumps on your list. I played ball in England for a year. I didn't play BBL, but division 2
and practiced with and watched the BBL teams. The ball is not that good and none of these Canadian dudes impressed me too
much. Anyway, keep it up man. Gotta get these people recognized one way or another.
Marcia Bucknor: Check out Jermaine Bucknor's credentials.
Lots of accomplishments including making the Canadian National Team.
Naomi Brinham: My husband, Doug Brinham is on your 300
list. I suppose it is because he is in the B.C. Basketball Hall of Fame. He played in the world basketball tournament
in Chili in the mid-fifties. He was also a member of the 1956 Olympic team.
Bonnie Miller: Tony Pomonis hands down the best dribbler
ever to come out
of Canada. He continues to put up big numbers in Europe every year.
Jim Mactaggart: I feel that Fred Murrell should get a look.
He was an excellent ball player as well as ending up an orthodontist. Also Joey Alexander from Eatern Commerce was awesome
and then played at Niagara U. Maybe not the two best but should be mentioned. I also forgot John Karpis who played in
Toronto and then at Syracuse. An excellent big man who would have been better without knee problems.
Comeau: I played with David Zanatta at Lakehead with his brother Johnny during the "Don Punch" era. Back then Brandon was
the power of GPAC. They had a 6'10 center by the name of Abernathy, and a guard named Freddy Lee, both recruited from New
York by Jerry Hemmings. That team stopped us every year and always went to the Nationals.We had a center named Harry Van Laar
from St. Kitts, about 6'5 tops. If we had a bit guy to poise a threat down low, Lakehead may have made it passed GPAC.
If that happened , David's exposure would have Increased. The National coach at that time was Donahue who ran a boring
one point guard offense. David Z. could have easily adopted to this but he was not given a chance. Donahue loved Eli.
Don't forget that when David went to Quebec, he took his college to the National final scoring about 40 points a game. He
was the team. I used to be a quick guard in my time, specializing in assists, and defense. David used to skunk me in one-on
one, squash, badminton, etc., he used to run 100 flights of stairs, skip 5000, then go work out. His fitness level was
bordering on bionic. He deserves another look. He also tried out for the Pistons and was a late cut. David told me he held
his own scoring and playing offense, but he had no vertical, which hurt him on defense. I did however beat him occasionally
in crib, and chess.
Joel Dart: Here are a few suggestions of people I played
against while at Acadia University, that were better than people on the list: Jan Trojanovski (2 time All-Canadian,
played professionally in Europe). Ted Byrne (Acadia) Kevin Venoit (Acadia) and Curtis Robinson (UPEI)
Terry Garrow: I would like to submit Alex Garrow as a name to be submitted into the group. He was a member
of the 1960 and 1964 Canadian National teams. He was All New York State first team in 1956 and earned a scholarship to the University of Alabama. He signed a contract in 1960 or there about with
The Washington franchise of the ABL which later became the ABA. This can be confirmed with Bob McKinnon former GM of the Buffalo Braves and
New York/Jersey Nets. My father passed away in 1997 returning from playing ball on the playgrounds in Buffalo. He was 60. My father was a North
American Indian and I firmly believe that he is the greatest First Nations Canadian basketball player of all time.
J.D. Jackson: Thanks for the nomination, a friend told me about the site. Ronn McMahon should be up there for sure.
Njoku and Crevier might be a stretch for the top five. I'd definately put Rowan Barrett ahead of them.
My first team picks
would be Nash, Fox, Triano, Wennington and Magloire. All the best.
James: Today was the first day time that I have visited
your website. I have to say that I was somewhat surprised to note the exclusion of Romel RAFFIN from your top
25 players of all time. RAFFIN's record speaks for itself, and like Tom BISHOP, their status was obviously diminished
by the Boycott of the Moscow Olympics. With that said RAFFIN was a National Team staple since 1976 when he made his
first Olympic team as an 18 year old, and continued with the team up until the 1988 Olympics. This was an amazing feat given
that during much of that tenure RAFFIN held a full time job as a school teacher in Calgary, coached numerous sports teams,
and had a family. I don't want to start to sling mud at the other people on your list but I attended tournaments RAFFIN
played in against some of your listed notables just prior to the 84 Olympics and he was every bit if not more of a player
than some of those listed. His longevity to the National program and overall contribution to Canadian Basketball
should not be ignored
Harry Piwerka: Where are players like O'Neil Kamaka, Mike
Piwerka and Isaac King. All of which should be on this list.
Mike Reimer: What about Perry Mirkovich?? Drafted by the
NBA, played in Olympic qualifying tournament but jipped out of the Olympics, and an amazing scorer at the U of L, in their
Hall of Fame? He was my art teacher in junior high so I thought that was cool, being a big bball fan!!
Shae O'Connor: Just wanted to vote for Richard Bohne in
the top 100. Fierce competitor, pure scorer and deserve to be on one of the best 5 teams ya got going here. No
doubt there are great players on here.
Bo Pelech -- Legendary high school career at Runnymede Collegiate in
Toronto under John Petrushchak. York University Yeomen (1977-81) under Bob Bain -- teamed with David Coulthard to win
three OUAA Championships and advanced to the CIAU Championships four times, producing some of the best b-ball even witnessed
in the Toronto area. Four time OUAA All-Star (1977-81) and named a CIAU All-Canadian (1981). Inducted into the
York Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. Played with the National team under Jack Kenyan and The Coach, Jack Donahue.
Multiple-year Senior Men's Canadian Champion with Estonia B.B.C., a team that featured Leo Rautins, Jay Triano, Jim Zoet,
among others. An outstanding two-way player, Bo was always a physical force on the court usually assigned to neutralize
the opponent's top players. He was also one of the top rebounders in the country. To verify and substantiate this
nomination, just ask Leo Rautins if Bo Pelech deserves to be on this list, so add!
my Uncle to this distinguished
Have just come across your website and find that when I
take a break I no longer play solitaire.
My Dad, Bill Rogin, is one of your top 100 players.
When he refereed, I watched
many games and saw many players mentioned in Frozen Hoops,as well as some not mentioned: e.g. Howie Triano, father of Jay,
when Howie played for Assumption College.
Although I personally would not qualify for mention, I played against many of
your honorees, such as Barry Howson, Gene Rizak and Steve Konchalski when I played for the Canadian Maccabiah team,in 1965,1966
and 1969 and the Windsor Alumni, when we won the Canadian Senior Men's championship in 1969.
Your website is a valuable
addition to Canadian basketball.
Good work signed STEVEN ROGIN
Ted C: Charles Rochelin. 6'7" jumping jack
from Toronto who played 4 years at UCLA (1985-89) in the late 80's after leading Eastern Commerce
too a provincial title. Played with Reggie Miller among others for the Bruins. Barry Bekkadam. 6'10"
forward from Picton Ont., who played his final 2 years of high school ball in Philadelphia and became a top 10 ranked
McDonald's high school All-American. He played 3 years at Villanova in the late 80's. He once blocked 7 shots in
a single game there.
Clint Vanatter: I'd
like to mention a couple of nominees that aren't yet on the list. First, Gary Durrant. He's of Jamaican descent, but I'm pretty
sure he was born in Canada. He's currently playing in Europe. I also want to nominate Kevin Massiah. He just signed a letter
of intent with the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and if he has properly rehabilitated his broken foot, he'll be alot
of fun to watch!!
John Karpis Wow, interesting
site. What an impressive list. I am not sure how my name got on there, but I will take it. I would like
to nominate someone to the list. After 35+ years of playing this game, I would like to nominate my favourite, all-time
With all due respect to Eli Pasquale, Norm Clarke, Paul
Jones, Dave Turcotte et al, the guy I looked forward to playing with the most was Enzo Spagnuolo.
He played for the great York U. teams with Bo Pelech, Davey Coulthard, Mark and Paul Jones and Ron Kaknevicius. I was
fortunate to play with Enzo on the Estonia senior men's team. No one, IMO, was faster foul
line to foul line with the ball or had better court vision. If you were willing to run the court and keep
your hands up, Enzo would find you. He could even make me look good. Enzo is my nomination to the top 100.
A little off topic. For those not
familiar with the Estonia teams on the 80's and 90's, some of my team mates over the years were Jay Triano, Jimmy Zoet, Norm
Clarke, Jamie Russell, Barry Mungar, George and Leo Rautins, Tony Simms, Danny Meagher, Rob Samuels, Seymour Hadwyn,
Paul Jones, Patrick Jebbison, Alex Urosovic, Wayne Yearwood, Wayne Allison, Bo Pelech, Dave Coulthard, Jude Kelly,
Peter Savich, Dave Turcotte and more who's names elude me or I didn't have the privilege of playing with. Say what
you want about Harry but you can't write the history of Senior basketball in Canada without giving Harry Liiv and his
teams a mention. Take care.
p.s. where is Jeff McKibbon?
Atie Waxman: You have more than
a few names on your list that I recognize. I'm an Alum from Concordia U and McGill U. I didn't play ball after CEGEP (Vanier
College), but I can tell you that you're definitely missing a number of names from Concordia University. You have Emerson
Thomas, but he was preceded by Nick Arvanitis (won the National Championship, was named MVP, All Canadian, etc.. and played
professionally in Greece on a team with Brad Sellers), and a host of others. You should really be in touch with John Dore,
the head coach at Concordia.. he would be able to give you a few names
My name is Paul Melnik, and I am the Head Coach at Father Henry Carr Catholic School, in Etobicoke, Ontario. I
wanted to make several suggestions for your list. I was formerly an Assistant Coach at Runnymede Collegiate Institute
in Toronto, Ontario. Runnymede has won more medals at the Ontario Provincial Championships than any other program (6
Gold, 5 Silver, 3 Bronze, if I remember correctly. Eastern Commerce just recently surpassed Runnymede's Gold Medal
count). I see Runnymede alumnus Bo Pelech (York University) on your list but your list is lacking in numerous other
tremendous Runnymede players including: Tom Forrester, University of Maine Mark Henry, Niagara University Kevin St Kitts,
Ryerson University, one of the first Canadian professionals overseas Wayne Robertson, New Hampshire College, Div 2 All American
on 2 occasions Tyrone Smith, Fort Hays State, Brandon University, CIS All Canadian, Canadian Student Team, Canadian
Goodwill Games Team These are just 5 I can recall off the top of my head that deserve to be on your list.
Aman R.: Think that you could add a couple of names to your all time Canadian basketball list. One would be Dean Labayen
who played at York University and was an all star every year and won All Canada Rookie of the Year. Another definite is Ammer
Askary who played along side Dean. This guy is all over the internet, always has an article on him on usbasket
site) is playing pro currently I believe or is about to. I would say he is probably one of the most under rated players (can
shoot the ball with the best of them)
Hope you can add these guys (WE DID) Thanks Great job on the site
love it.*** Check out Dave Wells with his picks for the Top 5 teams plus 3 bs
Brian Daly, Editor-in-chief of QHoops.net, a Quebec basketball
web site based out of Montreal, with his Top 10 of all time!
Sunday Eniojukan's pick for the Top 10 of all time. Sunday is a former national team member and listed on out top 300+
It's an interesting concept, and list. I do think you've
shortchanged Atanas (Nasko) Golomeev. Not only did he set a CIAU single season scoring record, he's rated as one of
FIBA's top 50 all-time players. He was the leading scorer at the European Championships, in 1973 and 1975. He was named First
Team All Europe in 1977. When he retired from the game, all of Europe's elite, including the likes Avydas Sabonis, turned
out to honor him. I covered basketball for the McGill Daily, and was the assistant coach at McGill from 1971-74.
I continued to follow the game, in Canada, until the early 1990s. I didn't see all the players on your list.
I did see quite a few, including Mickey Fox, and Brian Heaney and Nasko was better than any of those. Ira
P.S. Agree that your choice should and will be in the Top 100
Nowhere on any list did I find Jaan Laaniste.
We played for Harry Liiv on the Estonian men's team in Toronto before the cast of "all-stars" came. We played in the
Sunday Baltic league for many years against the Latvians and Lithuanians.
He was leading scorer for several years in
OWAA at Waterloo and also their MVP. After university he played for decades in the senior men's leagues and the Estonian
Surprised that his name isn't anywhere.
hi, I looked at the list and wondered why not all of the
starting 5 from the Waterloo Warriors did not make it? Just curious - that year Waterloo was 26-0 in Canada and also won the
nationals- Robinson, White and Briggs all received All Canadian honors... thanks - it is a great site and my kids love it...