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Joel Anthony Headline Canada's FIBA Americas Roster Joel Anthony Headline Canada's FIBA Americas Roster

FIBA

Anthony, Heslip headline Canada’s FIBA Americas roster

Joel Anthony is a long-tenured member of Canada's national men's program - Photo FIBA

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Canada Basketball has announced the 12-man roster for two FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas qualifying games in St. John’s, N.L., later this month.

Former NBA veteran Joel Anthony and G League standout Brady Heslip headline a team mainly made up of Canadians playing professionally in Europe.

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“Honoured that our group continues to make an incredible sacrifice to represent our country in international competition,” said Roy Rana, head coach for Team Canada, in a statement.

“The windows group of athletes has been the backbone and foundation of our qualification into the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. I hope we celebrate and show our appreciation for them in St. John’s.”

Canada has already secured a spot in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China, through a series of qualifying games that began in 2017.

The games in St. John’s against Chile and Venezuela are the last in a series of six “windows” of qualifiers for teams in the Americas region.

Venezuela is first among six teams in FIBA Americas Group F with a 9-1 record in the qualifying tournament. Canada is in second place (8-2) and Chile is fifth (2-8).

Brady Heslip Canada's FIBA Americas Roster
Brady Heslip Canada’s FIBA Americas Roster

Seven teams from the Americas region will play at the 2019 World Cup, which serves as FIBA’s premier event and a qualifier for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The seven best teams classified at the 2019 World Cup (one each from Africa, Asia and Oceania and two apiece from the Americas and Europe) will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

As the host nation, Japan has an automatic bid.

The 16 best remaining teams from the FIBA World Cup (plus two additional teams from each region) will be entered into four additional Olympic qualifying tournaments.

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Winners of those four tournaments will also secure a spot in the Olympics.

Canada’s men’s team has not played in the Olympic Games since 2000 in Sydney, led by Hall of Famer Steve Nash.

The country’s only Olympic medal is a silver from 1936 Games.

Canada lost 19-8 to the United States in the gold medal game on a rain-soaked outdoor court that turned to mud, making it difficult to dribble.

Women’s Olympic basketball debuted at the 1976 Games in Montreal. Canada’s best showing since then was a fourth-place finish in 1984 at Los Angeles.

Here is Canada’s full roster for the final window of the FIBA Americas qualifiers.

Name Position Height Hometown Last / Current Club
Joel Anthony Centre 6’10” Montreal, QC San Lorenzo Basket (Argentina)
Aaron Best Guard 6’4″ Scarborough, ON Riesen Ludwigsburg (Germany)
Melvin Ejim Forward 6’7” Toronto, ON Unics Kazan (Russia)
Brady Heslip Guard 6’2″ Burlington, ON Istanbul BBSK (Turkey)
Kaza Kajami-Keane Guard 6’2″ Ajax, ON Landstede Zwolle (Netherlands)
Kyle Landry Centre 6’10”  Calgary, AB Buducnost (Montenegro)
Conor Morgan Forward 6’9” Victoria, BC Divina Seguros Joventut (Spain)
Mychal Mulder Guard 6’4″ Windsor, ON Windy City Bulls (G League)
Adika Peter-McNeilly Guard 6’3” Toronto, ON Mitteldeutscher BC (Germany)
Phil Scrubb Guard 6’4” Richmond, BC Zenit Saint Petersburg (Russia)
Thomas Scrubb Forward 6’7” Richmond, BC Openjobmetis Varese (Italy)
Kyle Wiltjer Forward 6’10” Portland, OR Unicaja Malaga (Spain)

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FIBA

Canada draws Group of Death 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup

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Cory Joseph Canada Basketball Draws Group Of Death 2019 Fiba World Cup

Canada’s path to a 2019 FIBA basketball World Cup medal and hopes of a 2020 Olympic berth took a serious blow prior to the start of the games as No. 23 Team Canada was drawn into the group of death — alongside global powerhouses No. 6 Lithuania, No. 11 Australia, and No. 37 Senegal.

2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup Groups

2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup Groups

For Canada to have a shot at getting to the podium they will have to finish in the top two spots of Group H to advance to second round of the tournament — where the top 16 teams will be split into four new groups (Groups I, J, K, L). If it reaches that stage Team Canada will once again have to finish in the top two to advance to the quarter-finals.

Canada’s road to the 2020 Tokyo summer Olympics is a complex and tough process — given FIBA’s decision to make the World Cup apart of the qualification process. Seven spots are currently up for grabs at FIBA’s flagship event and with hosts Japan earning an automatic entry the room for error is minuscule.

To reach the Olympics, Canada will have to finish as one of the top two teams from the seven team America’s region that features the world’s number one squad in the United States of America alongside traditional mainstays Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Venezula and Puerto Rico.

If Canada is unable to secure a spot as one of the two top America’s region teams, they will hope to be amongst the top 16 teams at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup where they will be granted automatic qualification to a last chance tournament taking place next summer at a yet to be determined locations. If unable to finish in the top 16, Canada’s last hope would be one of the last eight countries that FIBA would invite for one of the last-chance qualifier tournaments.

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Therefore, if Canada has any hopes of qualifying for the 12-team 2020 Summer Olympics via the World Cup they will need to advance from Group H one as top two teams, failure to advance in the premilinary round will automatically put Canada’s hopes at the mercy FIBA via the invitation tournament only.

Should Canada reach the second-round they will be placed in the newly formed Group L, alongside Group G winner and runner-up — potentially setting up another group of death with No. 3 France, No. 11 Germany, No. 11 Australia or No. 6 Lithuania.

To make matters worse for the Canadians, they have been pooled on the same half of the draw as the United States — which would mean a potential quarter-finals match-up between the two neighbouring nations, if Canada can somehow get there.

If the Canadians can reach the quarter-finals there is a good chance they alongside the USA would be last two standing Americas teams — thus earning automatic berth to Tokyo 2020.

As evident, by the World Cup draw and given FIBA’s recent changes it’s clearly going to be a tough road for the Canadians to fullfill their 2020 vision of becoming a global basketball powerhouse.

Canada opens up the World Cup against Australia on Saturday August 31st and will take on Lithuania on two days rest on Monday September 2nd beforing concluding Group H action against Senegal on Wednesday September 4th, 2019. All of Canada’s preliminary round games will be played in Dongguan, China

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FIBA

Kia Nurse wins Australian pro championship

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Kia Nurse Wins Australian Pro Championship

Kia Nurse of Hamilton, Ont., finished second in MVP voting as she helped the University of Canberra to a WNBL Championship today in Australia.

Nurse, a six-foot guard, had 12 points and three assists in a 93-73 victory over the Adelaide Lightning in a series-clinching Game 3 at home in AIS Arena.

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“Thank you for giving me an opportunity to play with an amazing group of women,” Nurse said on Twitter after the win.

This was the latest in a series of high-profile achievements for the former University of Connecticut standout.

Nurse is coming off a solid rookie season in the WNBA, where she averaged 9.1 points per game with the New York Liberty.

New York finished out of the playoffs, and Nurse transitioned to the Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) during the offseason.

Many WNBA players spend the offseason in other pro leagues, in part because salaries are low.

The average WNBA player makes less than $72,000 according to the Canadian Press.

Nurse had a larger role with Canberra, roughly averaging 18 points, five rebounds and two assists per game.

Canberra’s 2-1 series win over Adelaide gave the club its eighth WNBL title.

Nurse finished second to Canberra captain Kelsey Griffin in voting for the Rachael Sporn Grand Final MVP award, according to CP.

At 22, Nurse is arguably Canada’s best-known women’s player, thanks in part to her long-running involvement with Team Canada at international tournaments.

She led Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and a seventh-place finish at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

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Nurse also won two NCAA titles with UConn, where she was also American Athletic Conference (AAC) Freshman of the year in 2015.

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