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Canada Basketball looks to impress in the future

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At the inaugural FIBA Under-17 World Championship, the Canadian Men’s National Team accomplished what few before it had ever done – earn a medal at an international event.

The bronze medal performance is a clear indication Canadian basketball is on the rise on the world stage and should be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

Some of the youngsters who could carry the torch for Canuck hoops are already highly touted prospects south of the border. Considering the recent trend of home grown talent migrating for greener pastures in the United States, the return of some of these prep school standouts has improved the quality of basketball on the national level.

Not all of Canada’s best young players have made the trip state-side, but by no means has that created a disparity between talents. Many resident Canadian players have garnered the same attention as their expatriate peers. In the coming years, Canadians seen playing basketball at a high level is sure to increase. Here are some names to look for:

Cory Joseph, 6-foot-3, Point Guard – Joseph has impressed NCAA recruiters with his stellar play at Findlay Prep in Nevada for the past two seasons and will be taking his skills to the University of Texas this fall. Joseph’s court awareness and shooting range make him one of the top point guard recruits in all of North America. The only thing holding him back from super stardom could be his athleticism, but what he lacks in explosiveness he’ll make up in the only way he knows how – winning. In two seasons with Findlay, Prep Joseph led it to an impressive 62-2 record, collecting two national titles along the way, this after winning a provincial title with Pickering High School in Ajax, Ontario.

It’s a foregone conclusion that Joseph will be a major part of the junior team before making an impact on the senior level.

Duane Notice, 6-2, Guard – Being one of the youngest players on the cadet U-17 team, Notice has been in the spotlight since his freshman year when he averaged 30 points and eight assists per game for the St. Michael’s College School Blue Raider Varsity team in Toronto. His athleticism and versatility have made Notice a hot commodity, earning himself an invite to the Jordan Brand Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York. Getting chosen wasn’t enough for the Woodbridge native as he took home MVP honors for the event. The 15-year-old has expressed his desire to remain in Canada for high school and will undoubtedly be part of Canada basketball for years to come.

Tristan Thompson, 6-9, Power Forward – Thompson has been an intriguing prospect for some time now as he is a unique combination of size and athleticism. He is already being touted as a first-round NBA draft pick and his freshman year at Texas will definitely aid his progression. Having played alongside Joseph the past two years at Findlay Prep, the Brampton native will continue to develop with his countrymen as he is the second piece in what Canada basketball hopes to become a star-studded tandem.

Maurice Walker, 6-10, Center – One of the biggest players available to college recruiters, Walker has the intangibles to possibly make a name for himself on the pro stage. The former Mother Teresa Titan star possesses a highly refined offensive skill set, with an array of post moves and an extremely soft touch around the net. The Scarborough native has a game similar to former Kentucky Wildcat and current Sacramento King DeMarcus Cousins, as his lower base makes him virtually unmovable when he’s parked in the lane.

Must Read:  Canada lays the boom defeats Australia 90-70

Having left for prep school in his senior year, Walker improved his stock by showing he can produce against the bigger competition in the United States. He will be able to showcase his talent while playing for the University of Minnesota this coming season and will surely factor into the future of Canada Basketball.

Kevin Pangos, 6-1, Point Guard – For years scouts have scrounged across Canada in hopes of discovering the next Steve Nash, and the search should end upon seeing Pangos play. The Ontario native has been highly regarded as the future face of Canada Basketball and his play at the U-17 tournament showed why the accolades are so grand. The composure and control the 17-year-old possesses are well beyond his years and the comparisons to Nash seem warranted. Pangos led the U-17 squad in scoring and took home top honors as the No. 1 point guard of the tournament. Every time the ball’s in his hands, it seems the right play will be made whether it be finding a teammate or calling his own number. There have been a number of teams expressing interest in Pangos, but he will remain in Canada to complete his senior year before heading to the United States for college. He’s expressed his desire to be a part of the national team for as long as he can play and he will be one of the key components to their success.

Kyle Wiltjer, 6-9, Power Forward – Wiltjer’s ability to post up, shoot from outside, pass and rebound make him one of the most well-rounded recruits in the United States.

Having played his entire high school career in Portland, the 17-year-old is an import who has received offers from a number of schools, most notably Gonzaga and Kansas. Despite his American upbringing, the 6-9 forward wants to represent his nation and will have every opportunity to do so.

Myck Kabongo, 6-1, Point Guard – Continuing with the trend of successful point guards, the Toronto native has showed he’s more than just a pass-first player. In the All-Canada Classic, a tournament showcasing the top talent across the nation, Kabongo exploded for 41 points, using a variety of slashing moves to get to the rim and unleashing a 3-point barrage to take the MVP honors. The 6-1 guard has exceptional quickness and uses it to get to the rim and create opportunities for his teammates. Though not the biggest player, his length is evident on the defensive end as he creates numerous turnovers with his lanky arms. Kabongo is sure to be a contributor to the Canadian contingent and will take his game to Texas and unite with fellow Canadians Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson as they try to bring much needed attention to the Canada Basketball program.

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FIBA

Hot shooting Australia Boomers take down Canada

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Hot Shooting Australia Boomers Take Down Canada 2019 Fiba World Cup Warm Up Series
Boomers Nicholas Kay drives past Canada's Oshea Brissett - Photo: Australia Basketball

Canada wrapped-up a two-game exhibition series against 2019 FIBA World Cup group H foe and commonwealth neighbor with a 81-73 loss to the hot shooting Australia Boomers.

Canada started off slow as Australia made their defensive adjustments, after blowing out the Aussies 90-70 a day earlier by limiting the Canadians pick and roll opportunities and forcing Canada to shoot by going under screens. The Canadian’s trailed 13-6 early, but rallied with a 12-5 run to close the first-quarter with a 18-17 lead on a step-back jumper from Oshae Brissett.

Using a combination of U Sports basketball guards Canada opened up the second-quarter with back-to-back triples from Aaron Best and Kaza Kajami-Keane for a 26-19 lead with 7:27 to play. Australia responded with a 9-0 run to re-take the lead before Andrew Nembhard put a halt to the run with a easy lay-up. Khem Birch dropped in an inside basket to put Canada up 33-30 at half-time after a low-scoring 20 minutes.

The action picked-up in the third-quarter as both teams shot the ball extremely well, combining for a total of 56 points. Melvin Ejim scored Canada’s first five points and Khem Birch dominated the paint to give Team Canada a 48-38 advantage with 5:42 to play. Australia quickly found their stroke knocking down three-straight triples in less than minute – on their way to six in the quarter and a slim 60-59 lead after the third-quarter.

Hot Shooting Australia Boomers Take Down Canada
Canadian Head Coach Nick Nurse in the huddle against Australia Boomers – Photo: Canada Basketball

Canada’s offense dried-up in the fourth-quarter with just two points scored at the mid-way point as they settled for long jumpers and unnecessary three-pointers to quickly find themselves down 70-61 with 4:43 to play in the game.

Khem Birch sparked a late Canadian run, scoring 6 straight points to cut the lead down to 3 points at 70-67 with 3:30 to play and finished with a game-high 18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals. Oshae Brissett added 14 points and 5 rebounds. Kaza Kajami-Keane rounded out Canada’s double-figure scores with 11 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists and Melvin Ejim contributed with 9 points and 7 rebounds.

The Boomers knocked down 12-31 (38%) from downtown, after shooting just 3-for-13 in the first-half. The Canadians were a miserable 7-of-25 (28%) from the outside and struggled with turnovers with 16. The Aussies grabbed 12 offensive boards and won the battle of the glass with a 43-40 edge.

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“I thought it was very positive for us these two games, I thought we played extremely well, we competed, we played as a team, last night we obviously shot the ball a little bit better from three-point land but overall I thought it was a very positive two days for us.” – shared Canada’s Associate head coach Gordie Herbert after the game.

Melvin Ejim Post Game Canada Vs Australia 2019 Fiba World Cup Series
Canada Melvin Ejim Post Game after the 83-71 loss Australia

“We showed a lot of character these last two games, we had some guys not playing, but it was the same on their side. We played really tough, this is a great Australian team, they got a lot of great players and they are going to do very well. But I thought we showed promised and have the ability to compete no matter who we put on the floor.” – added Melvin Ejim.

Australia was led by Jock Landale with 13 points and 9 rebounds. Jonah Bolden added 12 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists and Chris Goulding with 10 points and 3 rebounds on 3-of -7 triples.

Canadian head coach Nick Nurse opted for a starting line-up that featured Andrew Nembhard, Philip Scrubb, Oshae Brissett, Kyle Wiltjer and Khem Birch while resting Kevin Pangos. Team Canada was also without the services of Cory Joseph and sharpshooter Brady Heslip. The Boomers played without Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut.

Both teams held back schemes, familiarized and acquainted themselves with each other and now have game footage in preparation for a crucial 2019 FIBA World Cup opening clash between the teams in less than two weeks in China.

Team Canada (2-2) will continue its FIBA World Cup preparations with a two-game series against New Zealand in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday August 20 and Wednesday August 21st.

Boxscore: Canada vs. Australia

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FIBA

Canada lays the boom defeats Australia 90-70

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Andrew Nembhard Drives Past Patty Mills Canada Beats Australia 2019 Fiba World Cup Warm Up Series

Canada opened-up a five-game pre-FIBA World cup exhibition schedule on foreign soil with an impressive 20-point, 90-70 win over Australia Boomers.

Playing with just one NBA player after inviting 17 to training camp, Canada dissected Australia’s poor pick and roll defense by controlling the tempo with outstanding guard play and timely three-point shooting.

Kevin Pangos 18 points, 6 assists , 4 steals, on 7-of-10 shooting, 4-of-6 triples paced five Canadian basketball players in double-figures.

“He just wants us to play aggressive and play with confidence and keep getting better, it’s a process, we don’t want to peak right now, we want to peak at the Worlds.” discussed Pangos post-game about head Coach Nick Nurse’s mentality coming into the physical affair against a team that is part of Canada’s group H at the World Cup.

Andrew Nembhard Canada Lays The Boom Defeats Australia 90 70
Andrew Nembhard “feels like he belongs here” after big double-double against Australia

19-year-old point-guard Andrew Nembhard finished with a double-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists playing a team-high 26 minutes.

“I’m just excited to be here, I feel like I’m supposed to be here and feel really comfortable on the court.” – opened-up Nembhard after the game.

Kaza Kajami-Keane came off the bench and hit a crucial three-pointer to end the third-quarter to restore orders for Canada and finished with 12 points. on 2-of-3 three-pointers. Kyle Wiltjer was crucial with 11 points and 6 rebounds including 3-of-6 from downtown.

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Owen Klassen filling in for injured Olynyk was solid with 10 points and 4 rebounds. Philip Scrubb also chipped in with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.

Canada knocked down 13-of-32 (40%) triples and shot 36-of-79 (45%) from the the game.

Australia a team, loaded with NBA talent including Patty Mills, Joe Ingles (11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists), Andrew Bogut (10 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists), Matthew Dellavedova (0 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds) were held to just 6-of-34 shooting from three-pointers and struggled with 15 turnovers — largely due to Team Canada’s active hands on defense.

Mills finished with a game-high 20 points knocking down 4 of Australia’s 6 three-pointers on just 4-of-13 outside the arc.

Nick Nurse opted for a starting line-up that featured Philip Scrubb, Kevin Pangos, Oshae Brissett (3 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists), Kyle Wiltjer and Khem Birch (6 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists). Both Brady Heslip and Melvin Ejim sat out this one out and will likely suit-up for the next game.

Canada improves to 2-1 in their 7-game pre-Fiba schedule and will take on the Aussies once again tomorrow as both teams get ready for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.

Boxscore: Canada vs. Australia

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