Coach made in Canada

JODY VANCE -- 24 Hours Toronto

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

The first Canadian born coach in the NBA, when hired by the Raptors in 2002, Jay Triano certainly did not take the path of least resistance to that post. Reaching the historic milestone was hard earned.

It is fitting that this builder of Canadian Basketball finds himself so excited about how a few guys from across the Atlantic, rather than south of the border, might change the Toronto Raptor's fortunes this season.

Recently I ran into Jay in the hallway at the Air Canada Centre, always one to stop and talk hoops, he gushed about how different the culture is on the club with the influx of ... well ... culture.

I found myself being schooled on how the signing of Euros, Andrea Bargnani from Italy and a pair of Spaniards in Jose Calderone and Jorge Garbajosa, has already impacted the Raps.

It seems players trained in Europe are all about a team game unlike North Americans who seem to be more about personal stats and numbers. Triano used a hockey analogy to explain it to me, "these Europeans are great for making 'the Gretzky pass' rather than trying to go through a wall of guys in the paint -- or pass into the double team. They pass it to the open man who can then get it to the guy underneath and forfeit the assist stat."

(Picture Jay explaining this while miming every move).

He grinned when he said, "Our guys are getting the fact that the best pass to make for the score might not involve an assist for the guy who makes that 'Gretzky pass' ... it's a team thing and that's a nice change."

Triano knows all about sacrifice. He missed out on certain glory, not to mention money, when he turned down numerous offers from US Colleges and stayed here at home.

Being the best player in the History of SFU in BC is nothing to sneeze at -- but this guy is a team builder and the poster man for a very unselfish brand of basketball.

Jody Vance is a longtime sportscaster and personality with Leafs TV. Her column appears Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours. jody.vance@tor.sunpub.com

Canadian born coach in the NBA, when hired by the Raptors in 2002, Jay Triano certainly did not take the path of least resistance to that post. Reaching the historic milestone was hard earned.

It is fitting that this builder of Canadian Basketball finds himself so excited about how a few guys from across the Atlantic, rather than south of the border, might change the Toronto Raptor's fortunes this season.

Recently I ran into Jay in the hallway at the Air Canada Centre, always one to stop and talk hoops, he gushed about how different the culture is on the club with the influx of ... well ... culture.

I found myself being schooled on how the signing of Euros, Andrea Bargnani from Italy and a pair of Spaniards in Jose Calderone and Jorge Garbajosa, has already impacted the Raps.

It seems players trained in Europe are all about a team game unlike North Americans who seem to be more about personal stats and numbers. Triano used a hockey analogy to explain it to me, "these Europeans are great for making 'the Gretzky pass' rather than trying to go through a wall of guys in the paint -- or pass into the double team. They pass it to the open man who can then get it to the guy underneath and forfeit the assist stat."

(Picture Jay explaining this while miming every move).

He grinned when he said, "Our guys are getting the fact that the best pass to make for the score might not involve an assist for the guy who makes that 'Gretzky pass' ... it's a team thing and that's a nice change."

Triano knows all about sacrifice. He missed out on certain glory, not to mention money, when he turned down numerous offers from US Colleges and stayed here at home.

Being the best player in the History of SFU in BC is nothing to sneeze at -- but this guy is a team builder and the poster man for a very unselfish brand of basketball.

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Jody Vance is a longtime sportscaster and personality with Leafs TV. Her column appears Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours. jody.vance@tor.sunpub.com


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