Four years removed from winning Canada’s first ever FIBA international gold medal at any level, the younger generation of Canadian basketball talent is back on the global stage looking for more hardware.
Loaded at every position and featuring ten (10) NCAA division I basketball players including four potential NBA Draft picks. Canada will be amongst the heavy favorites to reach the podium and medal at the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup in Riga and Daugavplis, Latvia from July 03-11.
Arizona Wildcats sophomore Bennedict Mathurin (Montreal, QC) will make his Canadian debut after a successful freshman season. The six-foot-seven Mathurin, averaged 10.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 26 games and garnered NBA Draft interest but decided to utilize the summer months with the national side.
Six-foot-eight incoming Michigan Wolverines freshman guard Caleb Houstan (Mississauga, Ont.), a projected top-ten lottery pick in the 2022 NBA Draft is also expected to play an expanded role. Houstan racked-up plenty of accolades during his senior at Montverde Prep including McDonalds All-American selection. Despite being just 18-years of age, Houstan has plenty of FIBA experience, playing at the U16 FIBA Americas and at the U17 World Cup.
Canadian basketball fans will finally get their wish and get a first look at phenom Elijah Fisher (Oshawa, Ont.) at a world-class international basketball event. The recently turned 17-year-old Fisher is the youngest and only player on Canada’s roster still playing high school/prep basketball.
Fisher currently holds a growing list of NCAA offers from a bevy of heavyweights (Arizona, Kansas, Florida, Oregon) and is expected to be under the careful eye of just about every scout in attendance. Recent changes in the NCAA and with a growing amount of lucrative options, a strong showcase on the global stage, could very likely, if not already, put Fisher on the G-League Ignite radar or alternatively a potential jump to the newly formed Overtime Elite (OTE) league.
Purdue Boilermakers seven-foot-four center Zach Edey is expected to anchor Canada’s interior. Edey used his massive frame during his freshman campaign, helping the Boilermakers to the NCAA March Madness Tournament.
The heavily under-recruited bigman averaged 8.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.1 blocks per game and was super efficient with an .604% effective field-goal (eFG%) percentage, despite zero three-point attempts.
Both Edey and Mathurin were part of the last round of cuts for Canada’s senior men’s national team, currently looking to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics..
The roster also features highly rated forward Charles Bediako and point-guard Ryan Nembhard. Newcomers include Olivier-Maxence Prosper (Marquette), Khaffani Hill, Nana Owusu-Anane, Kyle Duke, Enoch Kalambay.
Team Canada 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup Final Roster
|Javonte Brown-Ferguson||Javonte||Brown-Ferguson||F||7'0"||Toronto||ON||Texas A&M||NCAA||USA||Texas A&M||18|
|Kyle Duke||Kyle||Duke||G||6'3"||Toronto||ON||North Carolina A&T||NCAA||USA||Duke||18|
|Elijah Fisher||Elijah||Fisher||G||6'7"||Oshawa||ON||Crestwood Prep||HS||Canada||N/A||01/03/2004||17|
|Enoch Kalambay||Enoch||Kalambay||F||6’7”||Gatineau||QC||Tallahassee CC||NJCAA||USA||Tallahassee CC||19|
|Olivier-Maxence Prosper||Olivier-Maxence||Prosper||G||6’4"||Montreal||QC||Marquette||NCAA||USA||Arizona State||07/03/2002||18|
A complete overhaul on the coaching side will see former University of New Mexico head coach Paul Weir make his international head coaching debut after being an assistant coach on Roy Rana’s staff which won Canada’s first international basketball medal — winning gold at the FIBA U19 World Cup 2017 in Egypt.
The Toronto native spent the last four seasons coaching the University of New Mexico in NCAA Division I. Weir posted a record of 58–63 before parting ways with the school after the 2020-21 season. Weir also coached New Mexico State to a 28-6 record and an appearance in the NCAA men’s championship tournament in 2016-17.
Weir will be joined on the bench by a trio of well-rounded basketball coaches, including Patrick Tatham (McMaster Mauraders), Shawn Swords (Laurentian Voyageurs), and Justin Serresse (Laurier Golden Hawks).
A total of sixteen (16) have qualified for the 2021 FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup. Canada is in Group A and will play three games against No. 5 Lithuania, No. 27 Japan and No. 38 Senegal.
All teams will qualify for the round-of-16 knock-stage where teams will cross over between Groups A and B and C and D (A1 v B4, A2 v B3, etc.). The winners of the Round of 16 games advance to the Quarter-Finals, while the losers move on to the Classification Games for Places 9-16.
Canada will look to improve on its eight-place finish at the 2019 World Cup in Crete, Greece. The Canadians finished with a 3-4 record, dropping three-straight games, to France in the quarter-finals, followed by loses to Puerto Rico and Serbia to close the tournament in the classification round.