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2014 Canadian SMNT training camp starts with no official rosters

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2014 Canadian SMNT training camp starts with no official rosters

There’s is no doubt Canada Basketball has come a long way from the days of players not wanting to rock the Red and White to having improved it’s communication, web and media strategy to win loyal fans and media like and help raise the excitement and profile of their National teams. Over the past few months many Canadian basketball fans have been salivating over the announcement of the Senior Men’s National Team that would assemble in Toronto for their 2014 training camp which would lead-up to an 11-game European tour starting July 24, 2014

Earlier this week, many fans eagerly awaited the release of the training camp roster and nothing, then Sunday came and the official Canada basketball twitter account start circulating photos from the start of the training camp with GM Steve Nash running drills. Only problem, no official training camp roster was ever released or made available for the media and nothing was communicated either.

And by the looks of it, many fans, where left to social media to try and piece together who was present at Training camp.

I reached out to Canada basketball via twitter to find out if there was an official or temporary roster release and the answer I got didn’t make sense at all, in fact, it left me more perplexed and wondering why something like this can still happen in 2014.

BasketballBuzz @basketballbuzz
Hey Canada Basketball any news release on the players invited to camp?

Canada Basketball @CanBball
Not today. We will issue a roster release prior to the European games. The first game is July 24.

Alright, a bit odd! Shouldn’t their be training camp roster and then an official roster for European series?

It’s not like we see USA Basketball or other FIBA organizations committing these same mistakes? In fact Team USA released their roster on July 14, well ahead of their training camp for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

Now, I understand that putting together a national team roster is more than just releasing a press release, specially since 90/100% of the team will eventually feature NBA talent, bringing in a new wave of problems for an organization which historically has struggled to come-up with the necessary insurance money to make NBA GM’s feel comfortable about releasing their players for FIBA Summer competitions.

Add to the fact that several Canadians are still battling it out at the 2014 NBA Summer League (Melvin Ejim, Jordan Jordan Bachynski), plus a rather meaningless summer due to Canada failing to qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Championships and you have a lot more uncertainty than usual.

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Based on the non-news and lack of details including the whole Kevin Love for Andrew Wiggins trade rumors and it would be a surprise if we see Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett make their Senior Men’s National Team debuts.  As for Nick Stauskas and Tyler Ennis it will also be tough to gauge but, I wouldn’t count on it. What about Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Robert Sacre (Lakers)?

If the goal of the upcoming European tour is to gain international experience and gel together as a unit, then why not start sooner than later by having all the best pieces together as one at training camp.

If the roster is not finalized, as we all expected and knew, why not simply put out a release with the committed players and let everybody know that changes will be made once things are a bit more clear? Regardless, it really shouldn’t have to resort to media scrambling across social channels to find out who is playing for the Canadian Senior Men’s National Team or not.

Below is a unofficial list of players that are/were currently present at the first practice based on photos released by Canada Basketball and several others across social media.

2014 Canadian Senior Men’s National Team Training Roster (Unofficial)

Point Guards

Cory Joseph – San Antonio Spurs
Phillip Scrubb – Carleton Ravens
Junior Cadougan – Batumi, Georgia

Shooting Guards
Carl English – Iberostar, Tenerife CB Canarias, Spain
Brady Heslip – Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA SummerLeague)

Wings

Dwight Powell – Cleveland Cavaliers
Jevohn Shepperd – Paffoni Omegna, Italy (A2)
Thomas Scrubb – Carleton Ravens
Jordan Baker –  Alberta Golden Bears (2009-14)

Forwards
Kelly Olynyk – Boston Celtics
Andrew Nicholson – Orlando Magic

Expected to join – (confirmed)

Melvin Ejim – San Antonio Spurs (NBA SummerLeague)
Jordan Bachynski –  Charlotte Hornets (NBA SummerLeague)
Owen Klassen – Acadia Axemen (2009-14)

Coaching Staff

Head Coach
Jay Triano

Assistant Coaches
Dave Smart
Roy Rana
Greg Francis

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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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