The 2013 FIBA Americas provided such promise for a young inexperienced Canadian squad to do the unthinkable but that quickly took a turn for the worst. Despite Canada being disqualified at the tournament in Caracas Venezuela a star emerged.
Twenty-two year old Cory Joseph rose to the challenge and matured before our very eyes. His on court demeanor is exemplified with his proven toughness and willingness to win as he left it all out on the court. When Canada’s hopes were hanging by the valiance it was do or die as they squared off against Argentina. Who was there to aid a team at its wits end? None other than the second year San Antonio Spurs guard, who exceeded all expectations finishing with 19 points, four rebounds and two assists despite the heart breaking defeat. He was resilient as he fought and clawed his way through the heart of Argentina’s defense. The 6’3” point guard never gave up on a play; it might explain why he led Team Canada on the scoresheet with 16.1 points (56% FG), 5.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists in seven games.
Nothing was ever handed to the rising Canadian star. He worked for everything, which is why there was never a dull moment inside the Joseph residence in Pickering, ON, the Toronto suburb where he grew-up. “It was serious competition for everything. Who dominated? I would say me. My mom, dad, brother would say otherwise.” Joseph grew up in an environment where playing the game of basketball was all he knew. Being well versed in the game became sort of like family tradition. “My dad played, my mom played and from a young age I played for the Scarborough Blues then I played for Pickering High and grew into the game of basketball.”
This home grown talent became an instant sensation at Pickering High School, leading the team to two Ontario championships and making himself a household name within his community. But for Cory’s final two years of high school he decided to make one of the biggest decisions of his life as he packed his bags for Vegas to play at one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country, Findlay Prep.
“It was the transition that I made to gain more exposure” he said. I went for a visit to the school to figure out the program.” At the beginning he thought, “It was kind of risky. A young kid going out there with no friends and family far away, may not do well.” But the sceptic of it all inevitably made Cory stronger. He stopped listening to the naysayers and fixated himself on perfecting his craft, playing with a chip on his shoulders to prove any doubters wrong.
It was a risk that paid dividends as he excelled and propelled his game to the next level. In his first year at Findlay Prep, Cory joined forces with Brampton native Tristan Thompson where they instantly became brothers on their way to the 2010 National High School Invitational Championship. There was no sense of homesickness for this youngster, as he felt right at home with his new teammates. “My other teammates made me feel welcome,” he said “We became a family on and off the court.”
Joseph was a highly touted guard in his final year with Findlay. He garnered plenty of attention from college scouts. The success he had as a McDonald’s All-American, made him a fan favourite after he won the 3-point contest. His stock then rose as he was ranked #7th by rivals.com in their 2010 recruiting class. Joseph credits Findlay Prep for preparing him for what was ahead.
“I feel like it went well,” he said “they prepare you for college. Everything you do and see prepares you for the next level. It was great, high intensity basketball. In the classroom it was great for me.“ From high school came the transition to college where he and Thompson decided to take their talents to the University of Texas. It was a comforting feeling for Cory to come to the arena and have his name heard on the PA system. In 36 games as a starter Cory averaged 10.4 points per game but prided himself on improving his defense.
Joseph took a huge leap of faith in opting to enter the 2011 NBA Draft. And with the 29th pick the San Antonio Spurs saw what we Canadians had seen in a point guard with so much promise. “The transition from College to the NBA was a little slow for me. I had to get used to the game especially as a point guard and the system that we run. But by the time I got drafted to now I feel like I made huge improvements. I feel like I can keep on playing and playing hard.”
As soon as Joseph came to the Spurs, coach Gregg Popovich suggested he be sent down to the NBA Development League to gain experience. Dawning the Austin Toros jersey was not something he thought twice about.
Just this past year Cory was called to be a backup to Tony Parker but unfortunately wasn’t getting the playing time one might like. He professed to coach Popovich he wanted to gain experience back in the D-League. That drove him to excelling in the 2013 NBA Finals – a moment all Canadians should be proud of.
“I just felt like at the time I talked to coach Pop I wasn’t getting an opportunity to play at that moment,” said Joseph. I said I rather be playing 5-on-5 as a point guard. It is better. Drills only do so much. I went down there.”
The NBA Finals made Cory Joseph into a true defensive minded floor general whose long range shooting molded him into a professional in crucial game situations.
“It was great and all the emotions you can think of were in the finals, happy and sad,” said Joseph. “Overall great experience I don’t regret anything. Ball didn’t fall our way. For me I was able to capitalize.“
Not only did he capitalize on his success from this previous 2012-13 NBA season but he also became a prominent figure within Canada’s basketball community. At a press conference held this past June, Steve Nash alluded to this being the “Golden” age of Canadian basketball. The question was posed to the young Spurs guard.
“I think it means to me that we have an incredible opportunity here with Canada basketball and we can’t take it lightly. We have very very very talented players. Everyone is doing well individually. As we come together as a team we can do great things and win.”
The young core gave it their all, facing some fierce competition. As much as the Americas tournament was a learning experience for the team it was also an eye opening experience for the guys getting themselves acclimated to the international style of play.
“It’s going to be fun said Joseph. We are a young team. We have lots of energy and we play hard. As long as we play hard and compete we will be fine.”
Cory became one of the lone bright spots for Canada, showcasing how much of an asset he is to the squad. From diving on the floor for loose balls to a developing repertoire to his game, the long range jumper.
Head coach Jay Triano’s motto coming to training camp has been “Strive to be great.” Cory has bought into the motto but stresses they are far from reaching it. “There are a lot of things we have to do to be considered great as a team, he said. If we get to a point where people are calling us great we can still improve.”
Look for this coachable point guard to build on his successes this past summer. He has some secrets to his arsenal that are just waiting to be revealed. Sky’s the limit for a man who’s not only embarking on a long journey in the NBA but also as gloried figure in Canadian basketball.
Canada vs. USA focal point of loaded Pre-FIBA World Cup series
Canada’s senior’s men’s basketball team will take on the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand and Nigeria in a loaded preseason FIBA World Cup schedule.
For many years Canadian’s have been waiting for the day that Canada’s golden basketball generation faced off against the mighty USA Dream Team.
Well, wait no longer, and bookmark Monday, August 26, 2019 your calendar.
Part of a five-game per-world cup series in Australia — Team Canada will wrap it’s six-game FIBA World Cup exhibition schedule with a much anticipated match-up against American’s.
“We’re excited to have the opportunity to compete and gain familiarity against some of the top teams in the world in preparation for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019,” said Rowan Barrett, Canada Basketball General Manager, Men’s High Performance. “The USA has been the gold standard in FIBA basketball for several years so this will be a great opportunity for our program. In addition, having the chance to play tough road games against Australia and New Zealand will be a valuable experience for our team on the road to the World Cup.”
Canada’s Senior Men’s National team (SMNT) will kick-off it’s pre-world cup festivities on home-soil, on Friday, August 9, 2019 against a rising Nigerian D’ Tigers (10-2, 1st place African Qualifiers) national side in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
From there it’s off to foreign territory as the Canadians get acquainted with the Australia Boomers — a 2019 FIBA World Cup Group of death foe and commonwealth member in a two-game series in Perth on August 16th and 17th.
Previously known for the their alternative nickname — “The Road Warriors” — for their lack of international FIBA home games — Team Canada will shift their attention to a familiar foe with a two-game series against the New Zealand Tall Blacks.
According to the FIBA World Cup draw and if everything works out as planed Canada vs. USA could also become a reality in a potential heavyweight quarter-finals match-up.
With World Cup medal aspirations on the line and a 2020 Tokyo summer Olympics bid up for grabs, Canada will look to field a studded 12-men roster not only capable of fulling the federations 2020 vision of becoming a global basketball powerhouse but eventually reminding our border neighbors and media pundits that “soft and basketball” will no longer be acceptable in the basketball sentence.
Not exactly considered the cream-of the crop international tournaments — Canada’s senior’s men’s basketball team last knocked-off the United States of America 111-108 at the 2015 Pan-Am games in Toronto.
A 2005 FIBA Americas Group A win — culminated by a dominated 28 point, 9-rebound performance from Denham Brown lifted Canada 92-76 past the USA on August, 25, in San Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Canada knocked off the Americans 85-77 in the semi-finals of 1983 Summer Universiade games in Edmonton — beating a star-studded USA (Karl Malone, Charles Barkley) team in the semi-finals.
Team Canada FIBA World Cup international exhibition series
- Canada Basketball vs. Nigeria D’ Tigers – August, 9th 2019 – MTS Place
- Canada Basketball vs. Australia Boomers – August 16, 2019 – RAC Arena, Perth
- Canada Basketball vs. Australia Boomers – August 17, 2019 – RAC Arena, Perth
- Canada Basketball vs. New Zealand Tall Blacks – August 20, 2019, Quaycentre, Sydney
- Canada Basketball vs. New Zealand Tall Blacks – August 21, 2019, Quaycentre, Sydney
- Canada Basketball vs. USA Basketball – August 26, 2019, Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
Triano steps aside as Canadian national team coach
Jay Triano has officially stepped down as the head coach of Canada’s senior men’s national team.
Canada Basketball made the announcement this morning, confirming media reports that circulated on Sunday.
“I can’t thank Jay enough for all he has done for basketball in Canada,” said Glen Grunwald, president and CEO of Canada Basketball, in a statement.
“As both a coach and player, Jay is a Canadian icon and has played a major role in the development of basketball within our country and we will forever be grateful for his contributions.
“After speaking with Jay, I’m hopeful we can find a role where he can continue to contribute to Canada Basketball in the future.”
Triano is the first Canadian-born and Canadian-trained coach to work in the NBA, starting as an assistant with the Toronto Raptors in 2002 and later promoted to head coach.
He is currently the lead assistant coach with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.
As head coach of Canada’s national team from 1998 to 2004, Triano led the team to a seventh-place finish at the 2000 Olympic Summer Games in Sydney, Australia.
Canada has not returned to the Olympics since then, but it figures to be a contender to play at the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
Triano returned as head coach in 2012, guiding the club to a pair of victories during the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers.
As a player, Triano served with Canada’s national team from 1977 to 1988 and was team captain for the final seven years of his tenure.
He was elected to the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.
Ryerson University head coach Roy Rana is among three other candidates being granted interviews to replace Triano, according to Sportsnet’s Michael Grange.
The other candidates are Gord Herbert, who played for Canada at the 1984 Olympics; and Ettore Messina, an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs.
A final decision is expected by March 31.
Multiple reports say Triano cited “personal reasons” for taking his name out of the running, but he did not elaborate.
Team Canada’s next major test will be the 2019 FIBA World Cup, starting Aug. 31 in China.
Triano steps aside at a high point in Canadian basketball, with dozens of players in the NBA and at elite NCAA schools, including Barrett’s son R.J. Barrett, a Duke University standout who is projected to be a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.