Ottawa, Ontario Here are some tidbits on Kansas University's Labor Day weekend exhibition basketball opponents: McGill University of Montreal, Carleton University of Ottawa as well as the University of Ottawa:
McGill University (10 a.m. today, Montpetit Hall, University of Ottawa):
McGill is the alma mater of James Naismith - yes Kansas University's James Naismith - the inventor of basketball.
Naismith, who was born in Almonte, Ontario, Canada, was a gymnast, lacrosse player and football player at McGill, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Physical Education in 1887.
The current caretaker of the program is fifth-year coach Craig Norman, whose Redmen went 15-16 a year ago.
Top returning players are seniors Sean Anthony and Moustafa El Zanaty, who played well in Labor Day weekend losses to Alabama (97-88) and Illinois (107-103) a year ago.
Anthony, a 6-foot-4, 204-pound forward from Vancouver, scored 19 points and grabbed four rebounds against the Crimson Tide. One of the top defensive players in Canada, he had 20 points and 10 rebounds versus Illinois.
El Zanaty, a 6-4, 195-pound guard from Montreal, scored 16 points against Alabama and had 18 points and five boards versus the Illini. He has attended several schools, including North Dakota State College of Science, Adelphi University and Fresno Pacific University.
Anthony told the McGill Tribune that upon graduating, he'd like to play professional basketball in the Philippines.
El Zanaty figures to earn a starting spot after producing off the bench a year ago.
Also back is Matthew Thornhill, a 6-4, 210 pound third-year guard from Ile Bizard, Quebec, who scored 18 points against Illinois. Nobody on the roster stands taller than 6-7 Greg Gause and Nicholas Moise.
McGill plays a wide-open brand of basketball, evidenced by the Redmen hitting 11 of 33 three-pointers in the two-overtime loss to Illinois.
McGill hasn't defeated an NCAA Div. I team since stopping Maine, 86-80, in October of 1985. The Redmen will also play Maine and Northeastern this weekend.
Carleton University (6 p.m., today, Scotiabank Place):
You may not be aware of this, but Carleton University is a hoops powerhouse.
During the past nine seasons under coach Dave Smart, the Ravens have compiled a 213-24 record including five straight national titles (2003-07). Smart's Ravens won 87 consecutive games from 2003 to '06.
The Ravens return their top player off last year's 26-1 squad. He's Aaron Doornekamp, a 6-7, 210-pound senior forward from Odessa, Ontario, who is a member of the Canadian National Team.
Doornekamp, whose uncle is the head coach, averaged 15.6 points and 8.3 boards a year ago. He's played for three of Carleton's national title teams. Doornekamp scored 10 points in an 83-72 victory over Alabama last Labor Day weekend in Ottawa. He had 30 of the Ravens' 46 points in a 61-46 loss to Villanova and totaled 20 points and eight boards in a 74-72 overtime loss to Illinois.
Other returning players include Stuart Turnbull, a 6-2, 195-pound guard from Kingston, Ontario, who had 11 points versus Alabama; Kevin McCleary, a 6-7 forward from Nepean, Ontario, who scored 11 versus the Illini and Rob Saunders, 6-3 guard from Kingston, Ontario, who had six points against Nova.
The Ravens traveled to the U.S. for exhibition games last November, losing at Louisville, 82-49, at Providence, 86-72, and at Boston College, 72-47. Doornekamp scored 25 versus Providence and 11 against Louisville.
University of Ottawa (6 p.m., Sunday, Montpetit Hall, University of Ottawa):
It'll be the Jayhawks versus the Gee-Gees Sunday night in Ottawa. It begs the question: What's a Gee-Gee?
In horse racing, a Gee-Gee is the first horse out of the starting gate. The name GGs also describes the university colors, garnet and grey.
The school boasts a perennial power in women's soccer and is accomplished in hoops as well.
Ottawa returns four starters and eight returning players from a 24-10 team.
Josh Gibson-Bascombe, a 6-4 point guard from Toronto, exploded for 30 points in a pair of losses to Villanova (103-72) and Alabama (88-64) last Labor Day weekend.
Dax Dessureault, a 6-8 power forward and last year's conference defender of the year, had 12 points in a 73-56 loss to Illinois. Donnie Gibson, a 6-3 guard, scored 18 in a 104-80 loss to Alabama.
Gibson-Bascombe averaged 18.6 points a game last year. He helped Canada to a bronze medal at the 2007 FISU Summer Games in Bangkok, Thailand. He will play for Canada at the 2009 FISU Summer Games in Belgrade, Serbia.
Coach Dave DeAverio will serve as assistant coach at the event. DeAverio is 95-59 over seven seasons as Ottawa head coach. He also served as an assistant for the Canadian National Junior Team at the FIBA Americas Under 18 championships this summer in Argentina.