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Canadian Conor Morgan last-minute addition to 2019 FIBA World Cup roster

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Canadian Conor Morgan Last Minute Addition To 2019 Fiba World Cup Roster
Canada's Conor Morgan pull-up jumper versus Brazil - Photo: FIBA

Canada has added forward Conor Morgan to its 2019 FIBA World Cup roster.

With less 72 hours before their opening game, Canada was forced to dig deep in their roster of players — bringing in Morgan to replace Oshae Brissett — who didn’t travel from Australia to China due to a severe and unexpected knee injury.

Morgan was part of Canada’s FIBA Americas qualification group of players that helped Team Canada qualify for the World Cup — appearing in 4 games against Venezuela (2x), Brazil, Chile.

Conor Morgan – Two-time U Sports All-Canadian

A five year standout with the UBC Thunderbirds, he racked up two U Sports First-Team All-Canadian awards in 2016-17 and 2017-18, averaging 23.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game in his last university campaign.

The Canadian national was signed to Zerofees Southland Sharks (New Zealand) for the 2017-18 season where averaged 15.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in 18 starts. The 2018-19 campaign saw Morgan join Divina Seguros Joventut of the Spanish ACB league averaging 6.6 and 2.8 rebounds.

Team Canada heavy on guards

Canada’s roster currently stands at 14 with the addition of Morgan and the subtraction of Brissett. It will be interesting to see how head coach Nick Nurse and his staff decide to play it and cut roster down to 12.

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Canada is heavy on guards and one can expect that Duane Notice will be amongst one of the cuts. The last decision will ultimately come down to another guard spot – between Aaron Best, Kaza-Kajami Keane, Andrew Nembhard or Brady Heslip.

Aaron Best is the best defender of the remaining guards, provides similar attributes as to what Canada would’ve gotten with Brissett on the wing. Both Kajami Keane and Nembhard have done enough to warrant serious consideration.

Nembhard is expected to be a NBA point in the near future and earning a spot at the 2019 World Cup would be a huge plus for his development as he also represents the future for Canada at the point guard position.

Kajami-Keane has provided a solid spark off the bench with consistent three-point shooting as well as running the offense. Heslip on the other hand is undeniable the best three-pointer of the bunch and has been a stalwart with the national side.

14-men roster to be trimmed to 12

NamePositionHeightHometownClub
Aaron BestGuard6’4”Scarborough, ONRiesen Ludwigsburg (Germany)
Khem Birch Centre6’9”Montreal, QCOrlando Magic
Melvin Ejim Forward6’6″Toronto, ONBaloncesto Málaga (Spain)
Brady Heslip Guard 6’2”Burlington, ONIstanbul BBSK (Turkey)
Cory Joseph Guard 6’3″Toronto, ONSacramento Kings
Kaza Kajami-Keane Guard 6’2”Ajax, ONMitteldeutscher BC (Germany)
Owen Klassen Forward 6’10”Kingston, ONAntwerp Giants (Belgium)
Andrew Nembhard Guard 6’5”Aurora, ONFlorida Gators (NCAA)
Duane NoticeGuard 6’2” Woodbridge, ONRaptors 905 (G League)
Conor Morgan Forward 6’9″Victoria, BCDivina Seguros Joventut (Spain)
Kevin Pangos Guard 6’2”Newmarket, ONFC Barcelona Basketball (Spain)
Phil Scrubb Guard 6’4″Richmond, BC Club Estudiantes (Spain)
Thomas Scrubb Forward 6’7”Richmond, BC
SIG Strasbourg (France)
Kyle Wiltjer Forward 6’10”Portland, OR Turk Telekom (Turkey)

Canada is expected to announce its final 12-men roster in the next 48 hours and will take on Australia in their opening game of the tournament.

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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.

Must Read:  Lance Stephenson Makin' 'Em Dance In China

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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