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2013 Canadian Junior Men’s National Team roster finalized + players analysis & more

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Toronto, ON – (BasketballBuzz) – Head Coach Roy Rana and his staff have announced the names of the final twelve young Canadians that will be tasked with the responsibility of bringing home a medal at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic.

Led by 2014 Top prospect Trey Lyles and Syracuse Orange Freshmen Tyler Ennis, the 2013 Canadian Junior Men’s National team has the potential to come out of a tough Group A, where it will play Spain, Korea, Croatia and potentially challenge for a medal.

The finalized roster is well rounded with talent at the point guard position, multiple options on the wing, that can attack, shoot it, and get at it defensively. The forwards offer up an interchangeable group that features enough finesse, athleticism and raw talent to clean up the boards and compete with world’s more experienced teams.

You would be hard pressed to find a better staff to lead this group of players. Head Coach <b>Roy Rana</b> is amongst, if not, the hottest coach in Canada right now, and with his Ryerson Rams (CIS) program on the rise and his growing international experience, there’s little doubt that he is the right man for the job.

Assisting Rana will be Jamie McNeilly, Student-Athlete Development Specialist at Marquette University and Scott Morrison of the 2013 CIS Men’s Basketball finalist, Lakehead Thunderwolves. Mentoring this extremely talented group of young coaches is Steve Kolchalski, Canada’s Coach “K” and former Head Coach of the Senior Men’s National Team.

Below is an individual look at each member of the roster, broken down by their respective positions including some additional insights regarding the exemption of a CIS based players.

2013 Canadian Junior Men’s National Team Final Roster

Point Guards

Tyler Ennis – (Guard/6-2, 180lbs, Brampton, ON – Freshman, Syracuse Orange)
Pure point guard with natural instincts, Ennis has played at the highest level of American High School basketball and has been throwing lobs to Andrew Wiggins for the past two years on the AAU circuit.  Solid rebounder with the necessary vision to find the open man on the break or take it to the tin for tough baskets.

Kaza Keane – (Guard/6-2, 185lbs, Ajax, ON – Sophomore, Illinois State Redbirds)
Keane will be the first logical choice off the bench to replace Ennis at the point guard spot. Keane comes from basketball family and his natural flair for the game and a pass first mentality is evident. Look for Keane to run the offense when Ennis is out or in foul trouble. Solid PG who will play more minutes this upcoming season with the Redbirds.

Guards

Duane Notice – (Guard/6-3, 195lbs, Woodbridge, ON – Freshman, South Carolina Gamecocks)
Proven player at all levels of play. Tremendous energy with the ability to impact the game on the defensive side of the ball. Notice was the MVP of the Red &amp; White game with 16 points and eight rebounds and should challenge for most minutes played each night.

Xavier Rathan-Mayes – (Wing/6-4, 180lbs, Scarborough, ON – Freshman, Florida State Seminoles)
Rathan-Mayes is a volume shooter that can change the outcome of a game with his shooting, leave him open and he will knock it down, eventually. Like Tyler Ennis, Rathan-Mayes has gone against the best in the AAU circuit and played alongside Wiggins at Huntington Prep in West Virginia.

Manroop Clair – (Guard/6-2,170lbs, Vancouver, BC – Sophomore, Seattle RedHawks)
The best pure shooter on the roster, Clair is the only west coast selection and will be called upon to shoot the ball, where his unlimited range could be a key asset in the international game. Needs to improve physically and show more commitment on the defensive end, but overall, a guy like Clair is a must have for this type of competition.

Wings

Joe De Ciman – (Wing/6-5, 190lbs, Regina, SK – Sophomore, Colorado State Rams)
A physical specimen of the Wing, De Ciman should challenge for a starting spot, and should be in the mix and play a significant role for Canada, specially when Coach Rona decides to go to a smaller defensive oriented united unit. De Ciman was amongst the standouts in the Red &amp; White Game12 points and five rebounds.

Mikyle McIntosh – (Wing/6-6, 230lbs, Pickering, ON – Freshman – Illinois State Redbirds)
Talented wing player who loves to get to the rim and is not afraid of contact. McIntosh will most likely have to show his improved shooting touch against FIBA rules and could be a solid contributor for the Canadians specially against less athletic teams in the preliminary rounds.

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Forwards

Trey Lyles – (Forward/6-10, 210lbs, Saskatoon, SK –  Senior, Arsenal Technical HS)
Mr. Indiana basketball player of the year in 2012 will anchor the Canadians both inside and out. Lyles is currently one of the most highly recruited players in the Class of 2014, and for good reason. At 6-10 he has the finesse to hit the mid-range jumper and has the athleticism to get to the rack from the elbow as well. He put up 13 points and 9 rebounds in intra-squad scrimmage and was right up there with the best players in the world at the U18 championships where he and Wiggins help Canada qualify for the event.

Denzell Taylor – (Forward/6-9, 215lbs, Brampton, ON – Freshman, Old Dominion Monarchs)<
Hardworking forward who quietly goes about his business. Taylor fits in nicely with this group and will be counted upon to be active on both ends of the floor.

Agunwa Okolie – (Foward/6-8, 205lbs, Ajax, ON – Sophomore, Harvard Crimison Tide)
Okolie played sparingly for Harvard during his freshmen season and will look to take his NCAA March Madness experience and high basketball IQ to Prague in hopes that it will pay dividends for Canada. Great shot blocking ability for his size.

Marko Pirovic – (Forward/6-7, 215 lbs, Bolton, ON – Freshman, Maine Blackbears)
Pirovic has the ability to knock down the outside shot which will be key for a Canada as they space the floor and allow Lyles to operate inside. The Maine BlackBears freshmen can also contribute on the glass thanks to his wide frame but will be in a tough battle for minutes at the forward position.

Chris Egi – (Foward/6-8, 205lbs, Markham, ON – Junior, St. Andrews College, HS)
The youngest selection, at only 15-years of age Chris Egi won’t just be going to these games to watch. Egi is raw, as expected, but plays with hunger and intensity which will earn him the opportunity to further develop his skills and cash in on a few more NCAA scholarship offers.

Potential Starters
PG – Tyler Ennis
SG – Xavier Rathan Mayes
SF – Duane Notice
PF – Mikyle MacIntosh
C – Trey Lyles

2013 FIBA U19 World Championship Schedule
Canada opens up the championships against Spain on June 27th, Croatia on the 28th &amp; Korea on the 29th.

Surprises
No CIS representation?

Does this clearly state that Canadian University Basketball (CIS) players aren’t good enough to play at this level? Specially, when you have two of the countries top Canadian University coaches making the calls?

With all the NCAA Canadian talent in the pipeline, will we ever see a CIS player on the Canadian Junior National Team?

A closer look at 2013 CIS Men’s Basketball Freshmen Awards list reveals only two names which perhaps would at the very least warrant an invite, <b>Shaquille Keith</b> (13.3 points 3.3 assists/Cape Breton Capers); 2013 Freshmen of the Year, <b>Deontay Smith</b> who averaged 17.7 rebounds, 7 rebounds and 4.4 assists for the UPEI Panthers.

Regardless, if they we were both invited to training camp they wouldn’t have made the team. Specially when you have <b>Andrew Wiggins</b>opting not to play and the 2012-13 ACC Freshmen of the Year <b>Olivier Hanlan</b> also not in the mix as he decided to focus on school.

Overall Thoughts
Canada will need a top three finish in Group A in order to advance to quarter-finals. In order to accomplish this it will most likely need to beat Spain and/or Croatia. The game against Korea won’t be easy but should go Canada’s way.

The keys for the Canadians will be how well they control the defensive boards and their limitation off turnovers. Outside shooting will definitely be a deciding factor as well.

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FIBA

Canada draws tough group for 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifier

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canada draws tough group for 2020 fiba olympic qualifier
Khem Birch and Team Canada to face stiff competition at FIBAOQT - Photo: FIBA

Canada’s Senior Men’s National Basketball (SMNT) faces a tough road to the 2020 Olympic tournament after drawing stiff competition at the official qualifying draw in Switzerland.

No. 21 Canada will play in tough group A in Victoria, British Columbia against No. 7 ranked Greece and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Team Canada will also face rising No. 24 China. Group B features No. 43 Uruguay, No. 10 Czech Republic, No. 15 Turkey.

Canada will need to win the last minute Olympic qualifying tournament at home to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic games.

The top two teams in each group advance to the semi-finals in a crossover game. The tournament runs from July 23-28. The top four teams from each tournament will advance to Tokyo and will join an already impressive field that includes hosts Japan, Argentina, Australia, France, Spain, Iran, Nigeria and the United States.

2020 fiba olympic qualifying tournaments
2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

The Czech Republic finished in sixth-place at the recently completed 32-team World Cup in China with a record of 4-4 — with losses coming to the USA 88-67, Greece (84-77), Australia (82-70) and Serbia (90-81). Greece missed out on a top 10 finish after a disappointing 3-2 showing. Turkey showed flashes of brilliance finishing a spot below Canada at 22 with a 2-3 record — losing a close 93-92 group game against the USA.

China also finished with a 2-3 record dropping close games to Poland (79-76), Venezuela (72-59) and Nigeria 86-73. Uruguay, the lowest ranked team of the six is the only team that didn’t qualify for the World Cup.

greece giannis antetokounmpo 2019 fiba world cup basketball
Hellas’ Giannis Antetokounmpo is coming to Canada for the 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament – Photo: FIBA

The six teams coming to Victoria this summer all feature proven NBA star-power, headlined by the Hellas’ Giannis Antekonmpo. The Czech Republic has crafty Chicago Bulls point guard Tomas Satoranksy and Turkey also boasts power forward Ersan Ilyasova of the Milwaukee Bucks, point guard Ceidi Osman of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Furkan Korkmaz of the Philadelphia 76ers.

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Despite the growing global NBA player presence – it is Canada that features the most international players in the world’s best league. After a disappointing 2-3 showing at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Team Canada is expected to put together it’s best roster in years’ — already garnering early official social media commitments from two of Canada’s rising stars. Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray and OKC Thunder Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have officially announced their intentions. Dillon Brooks of the Memphis Grizzlies, Khem Birch of the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans’ guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker have also made it clearly evident that they will be on hand to help Canada end it’s 20-year summer Olympics drought that dates back to 2000.

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Canada will kick-off the tournament against Greece on June 23rd and will play China the next day with a rest day in-between — before the semi-finals on June 27.

2020 fiba olympic qualifying tournament competition format
2020 FIBA Victoria Olympic qualifying tournament competition format

One thing to keep in consideration is the proximity of the qualifying tournament to the NBA Finals. Game 1 on the 2020 NBA Finals is set for Thursday June 4th 2020 and if stretched the distance it will run until Sunday June 21st leaving only two days before the start of the crucial tournament. Both the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors are amongst the favorites to win the Eastern Conference and should they reach the NBA finals it will be interesting to see how it will affect player turnout and other last minute decisions.

Canada’s coaching staff is led by Raptors’ head coach Nick Nurse, Greece recently appointed former Kentucky Wildcats head coach Rick Pitino.

Canada failed to reach the 2016 Rio Olympics via the FIBA qualification tournament, falling to eventual fourth-place finisher France in a hard-fought 83-74 battle in Manila, Philippines.

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FIBA

Lance Stephenson Makin’ ‘Em Dance In China

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lance stephenson makes em dance in china
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Remade in China.

From playing with LeBron and the Lakers last season. To getting an early start in the Far East for this one. Getting in opponents faces like he used to do when he went up against the King. Blow in his face all you want…but its just hot air.

Lance Stephenson is back baby!

Like you’ve never seen him before. Running his town in China for the Liaoning Flying Leopards.

To quote Charlie Murphy talking about Prince in an infamous Hollywood stories episode of Dave’s ‘Chappelle Show’, “this cat can (still) ball man”!

GOOD!

To those who think a couple of strings have popped off Stephenson’s guitar then just watch him play and strum along. Lance is still makin’ ’em dance with the NBA’s most famous celebration…except the league just lost it and one of their premier performers and fondly favourite, cult celebrities in the amazing association of epic entertainment.

Turns out the Lakers should have held on to their veteran big name meme team a little longer. Although they did re-up with pure point Rondo running the show and the centre who should start in JaVale McGee. But in not keeping one of their biggest bench presence spark plugs of camaraderie and chemistry since the days of Rony Turiaf or even Mad Dog, Mark Madsen, this is almost as heart-breaking as losing all the kids in the Hollywood divorce for Anthony Davis. But we love reunions almost as much as we love redemption in this league and with BIG3 MVP Joe Johnson inking a deal with Detroit that is going to see the Motor City Pistons assembly line cut former Laker Michael Beasley. We may just see this fellow wild card, big contributing star head back to the Chinese league he finished out the season with like he hasn’t just flown home already. We know one Leopard who would welcome him with back open paws and any other player with a name beyond a meme, not caring if he never changes his spots.

Just when you thought Ice Cube’s inspired BIG3 was the only prescribed route for former NBA players to EA get back in the game like museum exits via the gift shop then check out this exhibit. You only have to check a FIBA feed and see how France French kissed the United States out said tournament a year before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan to see that this game is truly global. It’s far more than just the United States. It’s the whole wide, watching and welcoming world. And one of the biggest hubs like everything in this world from business, to commerce and innovation is in China. Now that’s some development even the G-League can’t give you old man.

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Coney Island’s own legend Stephon Marbury became an icon here, remaining after he retired…and this guy was a superstar under the Times Square, World’s Most Famous Arena lights of being a New York Knick in the Madison Square Garden of hallowed hoops Eden.

Are you listening Carmelo?

You too Dwight…give it a couple of months.

With 35 and 10, double decadence in the playoffs, Lance just put an end to San Miguel like last orders at the bar and now next rounds on him as he mime guitars until the fat lady falsettos in her stilettos to everyone raising a glass in toast.

Cheers!

The all dunking and big shot scoring player looks like he’s stepped into a rejuvenation machine…until you see just how much he afforded with his spare chance minutes last year on the biggest stage in Hollywood. He looks like he’s having a Swayze. And Chinese Basketball in turn the time of its life.

All Stephenson needed was another chance. And boy is he taking it right now. At this point Lance will be back in the league before you can say “it’s opening night at the STAPLES Center.” But at this point would he even want back, causing big trouble in a not so little China?

(As a matter of fact after press Lance Stephenson lead his Leopards over Seoul to win both the Terrific 12 and the tournament MVP…like Jay what more can we say?)

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