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Canadian Women’s Basketball team steal the show at the Nike Crown League

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The fourth week of another anticipated fun Friday came with more excitement and cheer than the Nike Crown League has ever heard! The line-up to get in-to the gym at Ryerson’s University Kerr Gymnasium was full as always – The gym was loud and the fans were energetic right from the first tip-off.

Two-time NBA champion Joel Anthony played in the opener marking yet another NBA player who has participated in the Nike Crown Tournament; he brought nothing but toughness and hustle on both ends of the court as he finished with 8 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks. Unfortunately for Joel Anthony’s M.A.D.E it squad it was not enough; they came across another pro player in Brady Heslip who stole the show during the first game of the night! The former Baylor Bear has played his last few seasons in top professional leagues in Europe. He demonstrated his phenomenal skill-set as he erupted with a game-high of 28 points leading LoveTo to a 70-68 win. The game ended with a miss buzzer-beater that would give M.A.D.E the win had it gone in. This left fans in awe, knowing that they we’re in for another ‘Good Friday!’

Last Friday was indeed a ‘Good Friday’ for the city of Toronto, but an exceptional one if you came to the Nike Crown League. Fans we’re loud enough after the first game was over; but they got even louder a few minutes after the first game ended. Akil Augustine from Raptors TV informed the fans that there was a special surprise on the way. Fans were left confused up-until Toronto’s hip-hop legend Kardinal Offishall came out full-of-joy, preaching to the fans about how proud he is that everyone has gathered up together and that basketball is being showcased at a high level in the city of Toronto. Most were expecting Kardi “The Official Bacardi” Slanger to drop one oh his patent hype performances, however he surprised everyone by introducing a special group of Ladies. Leaving everyone shocked, and left thinking again who the other special guest might be.

Crown League Toronto Tip Off
Crown League Toronto Tip Off

Finally, Kardinal made it clear as to who was about to come out and introduced them. “We are going to pay them the proper respect and give them biggest stand-up as they go to Rio, they deserve it as they will be representing each and every one of you,” said Kardinal. Right after, The Canadian Women’s national basketball team came out with a Drum band, coaching staff and a BIG Canadian flag. This was a very special moment as the Nike Crown League fans got to celebrate history with the phenomenal women’s who will be representing not just a team, or city but the whole country in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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The Olympian women stuck around for the games after their celebration. However, they stole the show and attention from the other games remaining as all eyes went on them. They also stole practically every kid from their parents as almost every little kids were eager to sit beside them and take pictures. The Canadian Women’s stood there class-fully and took numerous pictures with everyone who asked and opened their sections to sit with everyone. Overall it was a remarkable Friday and the fans will not be forgetting that day anytime soon.

Kia Nurse Canadian Womens Basketball Team Steal Show Nike Crown League
Kia Nurse Canadian Women’s Basketball Team Steal Show Nike Crown League

The growth in Canadian basketball seems to keep getting better and better! Buckle your seat belts Canadian basketball fans, the basketball scene in Toronto has been growing at a very fast paced this year with the All-Star weekend and the Raptors success. There is still much in store! The six teams, six weeks in the six will finally conclude in couple weeks to see who will be this year’s Nike Crown League champion. There is also the OVO bounce coming next weekend, the Jane & Finch Classic and the Phoenix Classic the weeks after. So basketball fans prepare to conclude summer with the finest basketball tournaments the city has to offer. Despite the chances of seeing another heartfelt celebration like the one on Friday for the Canadian Women’s National basketball team being slim. It does not mean the gyms won’t continue be loud , it is for sure  that fans will still be jumping out their seats for the rest of the summer basketball showdown. Plus the whole country will all cheer & celebrate the Canadian Women’s national basketball team success together!

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FIBA

Andrew Nicholson back in the fold as Canada starts FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers

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andrew nicholson back in the fold as canada starts fiba americup 2021 qualifiers
Andrew Nicholson slams it home against the Virgin Islands - Photo: FIBA

2020 is shaping up to be another great year for Canadian basketball fans. The Tokyo summer games are less than five months away and Canada has the slim possibility of potentially sending both senior teams to the Olympics for the first time since 2000.

The ladies did their part, booking a spot in Tokyo with a clean 3-0 FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament sweep in Belgium earlier this month. The men will look to do same in about four months time, via a once in a lifetime qualification tournament in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia.

But before we get ahead to the summer festivities, the first order of business of the new decade for the senior men’s team is the 2021 FIBA AmericaCup qualifiers.

FIBA AmericaCup formely known as the FIBA Americas Championship or the Tournament of Americas is hosted every two years and pits 16 national teams from the Americas zone. Previously, the tournament had qualification implications to the World Cup and the Olympics, but that is no longer the case — although, every game played still counts towards the FIBA World Rankings.

road to 2021 fiba americup
Road to 2021 FIBA AmeriCup
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Canada will kick-off the first of three-qualification windows with a home-and-home series against the Dominican Republic. The FIBA AmeriCup Qualifiers includes 16 teams broken down into four groups. Canada is in Group C and will also play Cuba and the Virgin Islands. The top three teams from each Group will qualify for the FIBA AmeriCup 2021.

Andrew Nicholson a former first-round pick, 19th overall of the Orlando Magic headlines the 12-men roster tasked to take on the always formidable and tough Dominican team. Currently, under contract with China’s Guangzhou Loong Lions and back home due to the unexpected break in action in the Chinese Basketball League (CBL) from the deadly COVID-19 Coronavirus — Nicholson, is a timely and welcome addition.

andrew nicholson backing down argentinas gabriel deck 2017 fiba americup
Andrew Nicholson backing down Argentina’s Gabriel Deck 2017 FIBA Americup – Photo: FIBA

The 6-foot-10 forward last played for Canada at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup — Nicholson’s 12 point, 18 rebound double-double helped the Canadian’s beat hosts Argentina 92-86.

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The roster features four returning players from the 2019 FIBA World Cup as former Carleton Ravens guards’ Philip Scrubb, Kaza-Kajami Keane, join two other U Sports basketball All-Canadian’s in forwards Owen Klassen (Acadia Axemen) and Conor Morgan (UBC Thunderbirds)

Scrubb, a key figure in Canada’s backcourt since the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 championships will earn his 54th and 55th international caps — 44 games played at the senior level and 11 at youth competitions.

The rest of the roster is made up of some new faces as Trae Bell-Haynes and Kassius Robertson make their Canadian team debuts. Most of the players are signed to European clubs with only Duane Notice (Raptors 905), Andrew Nicholson and Tyrell Bellot-Green not playing in Europe.

NamePosition Height Hometown Previous / Current Club
Trae Bell-HaynesGuard6’1”Toronto, ONHelsinki Seagulls (Finland)
Aaron BestGuard6’4”Scarborough, ONPaok Thessaloniki (Greece)
Kaza Kajami-KeaneGuard6’2”Ajax, ONSyntainics MBC Weissenfels (Germany)
Owen KlassenCentre6’10”Kingston, ONTelenet Antwerp Giants (Belgium)
Kyle LandryCentre6’10”Calgary, ABKK Buducnost VOLI Podgorica (Montenegro)
MiKyle McIntoshForward6’7”Pickering, ONFilou Oostende (Belgium)
Conor MorganForward6’9”Victoria, B.C.Divina Seguros Joventut Badalona (Spain)
Andrew NicholsonForward6’9”Mississauga, ONGuangzhou Loong Lions (China)
Duane NoticeGuard6’2”Woodbridge, ONRaptors 905 (G League)
Tyrell Bellot-GreenForward6’7”Toronto, ONLondon Lightning (Canada)
Kassius RobertsonGuard6’3”Toronto, ONLavoropiu Fortitudo Bologna (Italy)
Phil ScrubbGuard6’4″Richmond, BCMovistar Estudiantes Madrid (Spain)

Canada FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers

DATEITEMTIME (ET) LOCATION
February 21, 2020 Canada vs. Dominican Republic7:00 PMTribute Communities Centre –Oshawa, ON
February 24, 2020 Canada @ Dominican Republic7:00 PMPalacio de los Deportes Virgilio Travieso Soto –Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
November 26, 2020 Canada @ Cuba TBD
November 29, 2020 Canada @ U.S. Virgin Islands TBD
February 19, 2020Canada vs. Cuba TBD
February 22, 2020 Canada vs. U.S. Virgin Islands TBD
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FIBA

Canada knocks off Sweden qualifies for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

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natalie achonwa miranda ayim point to tokyo 2020 beat sweden at 2020 fiba olympic qualifying tournament

Canada’s women’s national basketball team is headed for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Team Canada picked-up it’s second victory of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, defeating Team Sweden 80-50 to earn their third straight trip to the summer games.

Natalie Achonwa nearly perfect 16 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists performance anchored a dominate Canadian offensive attack that featured four players in double-figures. The Indiana Fever power forward knocked-down 8-of-9 field goals in just 17 minutes.

natalie achonwa miranda ayim point to tokyo 2020 beat sweden at 2020 fiba olympic qualifying tournament
Natalie Achonwa and Miranda Ayim point to Tokyo 2020 after beating Sweden at 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

Shaina Pellington was outstanding with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists. Kia Nurse, Canada’s other WNBA player finished with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and Miranda Ayim added with 10 points and 3 rebounds.

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All players contributed to win — logging at least five minutes and recording a stat on the scoresheet. 18 year old Laeticia Amihere made her official senior team debut — scoring 8 quick points in games’ final 8 minutes.

The victory will send Canada to their six (7) Olympic games. Team Canada also qualified in 1976, 1984 1996, 2000, 2012, 2016 — earning a country best fourth-place finish at the 1984 Olympiad in Los Angeles, California.

Canada becomes the sixth (6) team to qualify for the games — eight (8) gold medalist, United States, China, France, Nigeria and tournament hosts Japan have also earned there spot. Six more teams will make-up the 12-team showcase. The 2020 games will run from July 24 – August 09.

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