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Leo Rautins Inks Two More Years to Canada Basketball Contract

Leo Rautins the current Head Coach of Canada’s Senior Men’s Basketball Team has been awarded a two-year contract extension despite the team’s inability to earn a win at the recently completed 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey. Team Canada finished 0-5 with the only double-digit lose coming courtesy of world basketball powerhouse Spain 89 – 67.

Rautins has been in charge of the men’s team since 2005, and the extension allows him to continue to fulfill his vision of rebuilding a Canadian Basketball program that hasn’t had much of an impact at the international level since the Steve Nash days.

Canadian Basketball fans certainly have voiced their opinion, many blaming Rautins’ lack of coaching experience as a main contributor to the lack of W’s on the win column. Despite the harsh criticism by hoops heads across Canada, Leo Rautins continues to do a decent job in promoting the sport across the country, and, do remember, that Rautins was primarily hired to increase the exposure of basketball across Canada; An area which most would give him a credible rating given his media experience as broadcaster with the Toronto Raptors. Only one issue, success is measured on the court, not by what’s said in front of the camera.

With the abundance of talent coming out of Canada these days and the cohesiveness that has been built around the current members of the team, one must applaud the heads at Canada Basketball for yet another solid move. Hiring a new coach at the moment wouldn’t make much sense, and the pool of potential coaches is also slim at best. Instead, the decision to bring Rautins back is the most logical and strategic one, if Canada Basketball is serious about putting together any kinda of a competitive team for the upcoming 2011 FIBA America’s in Argentina.

Rautins or no Rautins the chances of Canada qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London are very slim, however, many said the same about their inability to qualify for Turkey 2010. Despite the recent success with the Youth programs, the focus for the Senior Men’s group remains geared towards 2014, 2016 and beyond mentioned Wayne Parrish current CEO of Canada Basketball.

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“By 2014-2016 our young athletes should be developed enough to allow us to compete at a higher level and hopefully increase our success rate at these competitions.”

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Having a pool of talent to draw from is one thing, selecting the right combination of athletes is the challenging part. With the current history of top caliber players not competing for the Canadian National Team in the past, it will be up to Leo Rautins to convince the future generation of Canadian basketball players that rocking red and white is a great opportunity but also a cause worth playing for.

In other news Canada Basketball also extended Senior Women’s Head Coach Allison McNeill contract for the upcoming two-years. McNeill has been coaching the women’s team since 2002, and led the club to a 12th place finish at the world championship earlier this month. Maurizio Gherardini has been named men’s national team director and Italian legend Renato Pasquali appointed the title of technical director, while Michele O’Keefe takes over as director of basketball operations.

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