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🐐 🇯🇲🔥🇯🇲🇯🇲🔥 Sam Mitchell tells TSN radio hosts about Toronto native Steven Conville. 🔥 “He doesn’t pay attention to foolishness.” #thatsaquote 🇯🇲 #sammitchellnba #stevenconville #TSN @sammitchellnba @tsn_official @tsn1050 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 #6ixgod #drake #imthegoat #lavarball #nba #wethenorth #raptors #acc #tsn1050
By RON FANFAIR
Averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds in Grade Nine and being one of the tallest kids on the Richmond Hill High School team offered Steven Conville a glimmer of hope that perhaps he could play in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
When the scoring and rebounding averages plummeted to four points and two rebounds two years later and he realized he was the team’s shortest player, reality took over and Conville concentrated on playing the saxophone at Bayview Secondary School where he completed Grade 12.
However, the former band leader remained a big basketball fan, becoming a Toronto Raptors season ticket holder 12 years ago.
It was at courtside at the Air Canada centre that he met new National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC) commissioner Andre Levingston nearly eight years ago and the two basketball aficionados remained in contact.
In 2007, Levingston – who moved to Toronto in 1999 and was involved in several business ventures including a high-end car detailing outfit with former Raptors forward Morris Peterson – became the president and chief executive officer of the Halifax Rainmen which was Atlantic Canada’s only professional sports franchise at the time.
When Levingston was considering forming a new league in Canada after his Rainmen and other teams severed ties with the Premier Basketball League last year over concerns about the league’s officiating, he called Conville.
“He asked if I would be interested in owning a team because he knew I loved the sport,” said 38-year-old Conville who is vice-president and portfolio manager with Macquarie Private Wealth. “I jumped at the opportunity because I am a big fan of the game.”
When a proposal to take a team to Kingston’s K-Rock Centre fell through in the summer after the city felt there was insufficient time to consider the opportunity for this season, Conville turned his attention to Moncton which welcomed him with open arms as the owner of the city’s new basketball franchise.
The married father of three said Moncton appealed to him because it’s among the fastest growing urban regions east of Toronto, it’s a close knit and small grassroots community and there’s considerable interest in basketball.
“Participation in the sport is among the highest in North America in terms of the population,” said Conville who has spent the last 19 years in the financial services industry. “Even though I had never been to Moncton prior to getting involved as the owner, I visited Halifax and Prince Edward Island on business and was able to understand the East Coast philosophy. So when I did my research on Moncton, I found out how much they loved basketball out there.”
Though the city’s linguistic majority is English, there is an active French-speaking Acadian minority population. Nine years ago, Moncton became Canada’s first officially bilingual city.
Conville – identified as gifted in the arts and sciences in Grade Three – admits his French is brutal, but he made up for that deficiency by hiring a coach who is fluent in the language.
Norris “Bo” Bell, who runs a successful academy in his Atlanta hometown, played nine seasons in France during a 13-year professional career in Europe.
“The community is very happy that I took that kind of consideration with my franchise,” said Conville, who relinquished his Raptors season ticket at the end of the 2010-11 season because he was unhappy with the team’s direction. “There is a grassroots component to what we are doing and I want my coach to be out in the community working with young people and families. When I saw how patient Norris was and combined that with his ability to speak French, I knew he was my guy.
“He’s in charge and as long as he’s doing the best he can in the best interest of the team, I am fine. I promise I will not interfere because I am not a micro manager. The only time I will be hands-on is when I am greeting fans and fielding compliments and criticism. I will be cheering and dancing with the fans, but when it comes to coaching and operation of the team, Norris in the man.”
Asked about his expectations for the Moncton Miracles, Conville’s only wish is that the team play hard every game.
“I don’t know if we will win a game, but if the players reflect their owner’s personality, we are going to fight to the last minute and be competitive in every game,” promises the Urban Financial Services Coalition advisory board member and volunteer with the SaMarc Dream and Achieve Foundation which was started by his friend and former Raptors coach Sam Mitchell and American entrepreneur Marc Upshaw. “There is no quit in me and there will no quit with my team. I promise that.”
Conville’s business acumen and humility are rooted in his upbringing by parents Dr. Vincent Conville – a former Toronto District School Board educator – and his wife Fay who are active members of the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) and scholarship donors, and his interaction with community elders including the late Dr. John Brooks.
He’s among several young leaders – others include Faithe Holder who is one of the few Black Bay Street law partners; Aon Canada Inc. chief counsel Terrie-Lynne Devonish who was two years ago recognized as one of Canada’s Top-40 Under-40 lawyers and Dr. Gary Miller who was the first Black to enter the University of Toronto’s ophthalmology residency program – who have benefitted from Dr. Brooks’ scholarships and wisdom.
“Dr. Brooks provided me with the chance to know that I could be successful,” said Conville who has a Bachelor of Arts degree from York University, an MBA in Finance from Wilfrid Laurier University and a post-graduate diploma in Investment Management from Concordia University. “The money wasn’t big and the scholarships and bursaries were not handed out in ritzy hotels, but those awards let me know that I could do anything that I put my mind to and that was the greatest gift John and his foundation presented to me. As for my parents, they are my rock. They still advise, guide and mentor me and they are my biggest fans. I love them dearly.”
The new seven-team Canadian league has an annual operating budget of close to $750,000 with a $150,000 player salary cap.
Though the money is nowhere close to the millions circulated in the NBA, Conville – who has adopted a school in Montego Bay through the Program for the Advancement of Childhood Education (PACE) – believes the league has a chance to grow and flourish.
“There is no shortage of young men in the world who have a dream of playing basketball at the highest level,” he said. “Our wages are not high, but if the players compete hard for their ownerships and fans, they will make more money. It is what it is right now, but I think the league definitely has a chance to be successful.”
The pre-season starts on October 14 and the regular season begins on October 29.
Conville’s Moncton Miracles visit the Greater Toronto Area on November 3 for the Oshawa Power home opener at General Motors Centre. The East Coast team returns to the Durham region on December 29 and February 2, 2012.
Source: Share News Magazine
VANCOUVER (CP) _ DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 99-94 victory over the Sacramento Kings in their pre-season opener as the NBA returned to Vancouver for a day.
Jonas Valanciunas and newcomer Lou Williams, a nine-year veteran acquired by Toronto in June, added 12 points apiece. Terrence Ross and Tyler Hansbrough finished with 11 points each in front of a sellout Rogers Arena crowd of 18,630 that included former Canucks star Trevor Linden and B.C. premier Christy Clark.
Ramon Sessions led the Kings with 14 points, while DeMarcus Cousins and Darren Collison had 13 points each, and Canadian Nik Stauskas had 12 in his NBA debut.
The Raptors trailed the Kings 75-68 heading into the fourth quarter, but an unlikely three-pointer by Tyler Hansbrough _ that brought the Toronto players off the bench in celebration __ tied the game 75-75.
Hansbrough connected on a pair of free throws with 1:40 to play to put Toronto up by one, then Lou Williams converted a three-point play and Toronto led by four with just over a minute to go, as the Raptors romped to victory.
The Raptors went a franchise-best 48-34 and made their first post-season appearance in six seasons. Their thrilling series against the Brooklyn Nets ended in a heartbreak _ a one-point loss in Game 7.
The Raptors hope to go into this season riding the wave of momentum established last season, and coach Dwane Casey said the goal Sunday was to establish a habit of playing.
“We don’t have everything in offensively and defensively, we just want to make sure we continue playing hard, continue to establish an identity as a defensive team,” Casey said.
The Raptors are trying to firmly entrench the squad as Canada’s team, and there was a real sense the team was in town this week with Raptors billboards overlooking downtown Vancouver streets and ads playing on TV screens.
“We The North” T-shirts and flags dotted Rogers Arena _ normally home to the Vancouver Canucks _ along with numerous teal Vancouver Grizzlies jerseys from the city’s old team that moved to Memphis in 2001.
One row of fans held a big “Vancouver Wants NBA” banner.
The game marked a decent debut for Stauskas. The 20-year-old shooting guard from Mississauga, Ont., picked No. 8 by the Kings in last summer’s NBA draft, played 26 minutes, connecting on his first shot attempt, a three-pointer.
Sim Bhullar, a seven-foot-five centre from Toronto, is in camp with the Kings, becoming the first player of Indian descent to sign an NBA contract. Bhullar subbed in for the final 19 seconds of the game.
The game capped the Raptors’ west coast training camp. The team had spent the better part of the week training at Fortius Sport & Health in Burnaby, B.C.
Casey went with last year’s starters _ Lowry, Ross, DeRozan, Amir Johnson and Valanciunas _ and the Raptors led 20-17 to end the first quarter.
Ross came off the bench to score eight points in the second _ treating the crowd to a thunderous dunk _ and the Raptors took a 47-42 into the halftime break.
Raptors rookies Bruno Caboclo, picked 20th overall in the draft last June, and Lucas Nogueira, didn’t play.
They’ll head to Sacramento to face the Kings again on Tuesday. They host the Boston Celtics at the Air Canada Centre on Friday. They’ll host Atlanta in their regular-season opener on Oct. 29.