New Zealand hasn’t had the luxury of an NBA player suiting up for them since the newly appointed Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks rode the pine in the league for much of his career. Despite the lack of familiar names on the roster however, their early tournament results indicate this won’t be a walk in the park for the Canadians.
After New Zealand gave the tournament favorites from France a big scare in the final game of the opening round but eventually came up short, the loss sets them up for a semi-final match-up with Canada on Saturday.
The tall blacks have come out of the gate strong in both games thus far, perhaps in part due to their intimidating haka performance before tip-off. They were the better team against France and the Andre Blatche-led Phillipines for much of their contests as they led by double digits in the 2nd half of both games.
The trouble they have had closing games though is why they will be playing Canada on Saturday. They have been victimized by 2nd half runs of 18-8 and 22-2 against the hosts and France respectively.
Without a true “go to” guy, New Zealand relies most on guards Tai and Cory Webster in key moments. Younger brother Tai has shown great potential running the team despite only just finishing his sophomore season with the Nebraska Cornhuskers of the NCAA’s Big Ten Conference and being in his first appearance on the national team. Tai will likely have a tough time going up against the more experienced Cory Joseph and Tyler Ennis.
Canada’s biggest issue may be containing New Zealand’s active rebounding, something that hurt the red and white against Senegal. France was a surprising -12 on the offensive boards against the Kiwis, with 2 tall blacks combining for 14 on their own.
Canada will need to avoid the 3 point drought that plagued them against Senegal, as the same fate for France had them 0-14 from beyond the arc and down 10 to the tall blacks at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Catch the game at 6:30am EST on Saturday with the final set for Sunday at 9am EST, both on TSN.
Andrew Nicholson back in the fold as Canada starts FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Name||Position||Height||Hometown||Previous / Current Club|
|Trae Bell-Haynes||Guard||6’1”||Toronto, ON||Helsinki Seagulls (Finland)|
|Aaron Best||Guard||6’4”||Scarborough, ON||Paok Thessaloniki (Greece)|
|Kaza Kajami-Keane||Guard||6’2”||Ajax, ON||Syntainics MBC Weissenfels (Germany)|
|Owen Klassen||Centre||6’10”||Kingston, ON||Telenet Antwerp Giants (Belgium)|
|Kyle Landry||Centre||6’10”||Calgary, AB||KK Buducnost VOLI Podgorica (Montenegro)|
|MiKyle McIntosh||Forward||6’7”||Pickering, ON||Filou Oostende (Belgium)|
|Conor Morgan||Forward||6’9”||Victoria, B.C.||Divina Seguros Joventut Badalona (Spain)|
|Andrew Nicholson||Forward||6’9”||Mississauga, ON||Guangzhou Loong Lions (China)|
|Duane Notice||Guard||6’2”||Woodbridge, ON||Raptors 905 (G League)|
|Tyrell Bellot-Green||Forward||6’7”||Toronto, ON||London Lightning (Canada)|
|Kassius Robertson||Guard||6’3”||Toronto, ON||Lavoropiu Fortitudo Bologna (Italy)|
|Phil Scrubb||Guard||6’4″||Richmond, BC||Movistar Estudiantes Madrid (Spain)|
Canada FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers
|February 21, 2020||Canada vs. Dominican Republic||7:00 PM||Tribute Communities Centre –Oshawa, ON|
|February 24, 2020||Canada @ Dominican Republic||7:00 PM||Palacio 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, 2020||Canada vs. Cuba||TBD|
|February 22, 2020||Canada vs. U.S. Virgin Islands||TBD|
Canada knocks off Sweden qualifies for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
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.
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.
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.