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Remembering France’s Tony Parker

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Tony Parker France 2016 Rio Olympics

I have finished grieving over the fact that Tony Parker’s international career finished when Spain throttled France 92-67 in the quarterfinals of the Rio Olympic Games.

Tony Parker and his generation as we call them in France, (Boris Diaw, Mickael Gelabale, and Florient Pietrus) arrived on the international scene during the 2005 European Cup Championship.

The tournament began in a nightmarish fashion from which it seemed impossible for France to wake-up from. And, out of this nightmare rose a man who would go down as the greatest basketball player in France’s history. Tony Parker, the son of French basketball gods was born from the team’s nightmarish ashes.

He led us to a third place finish. But, that was just the beginning. For the next 12 years, number nine gave hope to a nation. Every time the French national team stepped on the court, people raved about number nine, people “prayed” that number nine would somehow, someway find a way to overcome whatever obstacles loomed ahead.

During the 2009 European Championship, the rivalry with Spain really took off. However, Spain owned that rivalry, until France, finally, broke through during the 2013 European Championship.

Tony Parker France 2016 Rio Olympics

Tony Parker France 2016 Rio Olympics

In 2013, France won the gold medal, but the game that changed it all was the semifinal. In an all time great overtime thriller, France eliminated Spain who was playing at home. In the biggest game of his international career, Parker came through for France.

Two years later, in another epic showdown with Pau Gasol in yet another European Championship semifinal it was Spain who had the last laugh… this time in France. The rivalry was increasing in intensity as the two powerhouses were playing each other in just about every tournament, oftentimes with a medal hanging in the balance.

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But, despite the 2013 European crown, Parker’s international career has a major gaping hole, which may plague how some view him in retrospect. Tony Parker has never won, or came close to winning, a global tournament.

France failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympic in 2008, and finished sixth in London in 2012, and Parker missed the FIBA World Championship Games in 2006, 2010, and 2014 due to injuries.

But, his legacy in France is that of the player who kick started basketball in the country. He made it cool for children, and teenagers to hang up the cleats for the orange ball, and wooden courts.

Tony Parker may not have been the one to lead France to a FIBA World Championship title nor an Olympic gold medal, but without Tony Parker there may not even be interest in the sport of basketball in the hexagon.

Parker rendered the sport popular in a country that could have cared less about it just 15 years ago. And, through his glory, and agony, Parker changed the game for future generations.

Basketball in France was invented in 2001.

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FIBA

Record 17 Canadian NBA players invited to 2019 FIBA World Cup Training Camp

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Cory Joseph Leads Canada Basketball 2016 Olympic Qualifying Roster

Canada Basketball has released it’s highly anticipated 2019 FIBA World Cup training camp roster.

Loaded with 29 high-skilled Canadians — 17 currently under NBA contracts, the roster is Canada’s best-assembled talent of all-time and represents the country’s best shot at reaching the podium at the upcoming 2019 FIBA World Cup in China — and potentially earning a return trip to the 2020 Olympics games in Tokyo.

Tough decisions will need to be made by recently announced head coach Nick Nurse who will have the difficult task of cutting multiple NBA players for the first time in order to finalize the final 12-man roster that is expected to be committed to the goal from training camp through the World Cup.

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2019 SMNT Training Camp Roster

Top Canadian Basketball players not invited

Record 17 Canadian NBA players invited to 2019 FIBA World Cup Training Camp
Andrew Wiggins absent from FIBA 2019 World Cup

Other Canadian NBA players under contract but absent from the list included Andrew Wiggins (Twolves), Anthony Bennett (Houston Rockets), Kyle Alexander (Miami Heat) and Knicks rookie Ignas Brazdeikis — a dual-citizen that is expected to opt to play for Lithuania. Other former NBA players omitted from the list include Andrew Nicholson, a 2012 draft-pick, 19th overall selection of the Orlando Magic and Olivier Hanlan a former 2015 second-round pick of the San Antonio Spurs.

Canada will kick-off a short 3-day training camp from August 4-6 at the OVO Athletic Centre in Toronto before embarking on a loaded exhibition schedule that features two games on home soil against Nigeria and a final marquee-against the USA on August 26th.

2019 Canadian Senior Men’s National Team Schedule

DateTime/TeamTimeLocation
August 4-6 Training Camp OVO Athletic Centre – Toronto, ON
August 7 Canada vs. Nigeria (Exhibition) 7:00 PM Mattamy Athletic Centre – Toronto, ON
August 9 Canada vs. Nigeria (Exhibition) 8:00 PM Bell MTS Place – 
Winnipeg, MB
August 16 Canada vs. Australia (Exhibition) 5:30 AM RAC Arena – 
Perth, Australia
August 17 Canada vs. Australia (Exhibition) 5:30 AM RAC Arena – 
Perth, Australia
August 20 Canada vs. New Zealand (Exhibition) 5:30 AM Quaycentre – 
Sydney, Australia
August 21 Canada vs. New Zealand (Exhibition 5:30 AM Quaycentre – 
Sydney, Australia
August 26 Canada vs. USA (Exhibition) 5:30 AM Qudos Bank Arena – Sydney, Australia
September 1 Canada vs. Australia
3:30 AM
FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019
China
September 3 Canada vs. Lithuania 7:30 AM FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019
China
September 5 Canada vs. Senegal 3:30 AM FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019
China

Major time zone difference

Outside of the two home games against Nigeria, Canadian basketball fans should brace themselves and get ready for early morning basketball depending on which coast you reside in. Sydney, Perth, Australia and China are a whopping 14, 12 and 12 hours ahead of Canadian eastern time zone – meaning early morning Tim Hortons to support the national pride.

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FIBA

USA ends Mali’s historic run win 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup Gold Medal

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Usa Ends Malis Historic Run Win Record 7th Fiba U19 World Cup Gold Medal

The United States of America are back on top of the FIBA U19 World Cup.

Two years after finishing a record low, third-place in Cairo Egypt — the Americans defeated and ended rising African champion’s historic basketball run with a 93-79 victory over Mali to claim the 2019 U19 World Cup in Heraklion, Greece.

The USA fought off a hot and confident Mali squad playing in their first ever FIBA World Cup finals to win their record seventh FIBA U19 gold medal.

Champions Usa Ends Malis Historic Run Win Record 7th Fiba U19 World Cup Gold Medal
USA 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup Champions – Photo: FIBA

Mali got off to an outstanding start on the strength of Hassan Drame’s 9 points, as Mali ripped off a 11-0 run and took a early 11-3 lead with 6:58 to play. The USA pounded Mali on the offensive glass pulling down 13 offensive rebounds on their way to out-rebounding the African side 19-12 in the quarter to quickly close the gap as Mali led 22-20 lead after 10 minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CHR64fDqmw

The USA went to a 3-2 zone early in the second-quarter and slowly grinded Mali out with tight defense and relentless offensive rebounding to finally take a 37-36 lead, their first since leading 3-0. A late three-pointer, the USA first of the half, put the Americans ahead for good at with a 42-40 at half-time.

Scott Barnes Jr Flexing Usa Ends Malis Historic Run Win 2019 Fiba U19 World Cup Gold Medal
USA Scott Barnes Jr flexing against Mali at 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup Gold Medal game -Photo: FIBA

The USA opened the third-quarter with a 14-0 run, holding Mali scoreless for the first 3:00 minutes of the second-half and forcing Mali head coach Alhadji Dicko to call a time-out to restore orders as the lead swell to double-digits at 54-40.

Mali showed their resiliency and pride, fighting until the final whistle to close a game-high 20 point lead to single digits at 84-77 — on a made pull-up three pointer by Martin Diakite with 4:11 to go. The USA clamped down, allowing Mali just two points the rest of the way for the 14 win.

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Cade Cunningham Usa Ends Malis Historic Run Win Record 7th Fiba U19 World Cup Gold Medal
Cade Cunningham throws down a major dunk over Oumar Balla – Photo: FIBA

Undeclared point guard Cade Cunningham paced a loaded USA offense with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and had several highlight reel dunks. The 6’7″ Montverde Academy standout holds offers from Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Virginia and a long-list of major suitors. Jalen Suggs added 15 points and 5 rebounds. Scott Barnes Jr. finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds and tournament MVP Reginald Perry also finished in double figures with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.

Mail had four players in double-figures led by continuous all-around talent of Hassan Drame with 17 points, 9 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 assists. Karim Coulibaly (Pittsburgh Panthers) showed a nice soft touch around the rim with 17 points and 3 blocks. Gonzaga commit Oumar Ballo came-up short of fourth straight double-double and finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Ballo, a sure-shot NBA prospect showcased multiple Point guard Siriman Kanoute capped off a stellar tournament with 16 points , 4 rebounds and 3 steals.

2019 Fiba U19 World Cup All Stars
2019 FIBA U19 World Cup All Stars – Photo: FIBA

2019 FIBA U19 MVP & All-Stars

Joel Ayiyi – France
Oumar Ballo – Mali
Tyrese Haliburton – USA
Siriman Kanoute – Mali
Reginald Perry – USA

The USA had previously beaten Mali twice at the 2017 World Cup — 117-69 and 118-56, a 55-point margin of victory.

2019 FIBA U19 Final Standings

StandingsTeamRecord
1USA 7-0
2Mali 5-2
3France 5-2
4Lithuania 4-3
5Russia5-2
6Puerto Rico 2-5
7Serbia5-2
8Canada3-4
9Australia 5-2
10Greece3-4
11Argentina 5-2
12Latvia 1-6
13New Zealand 4-3
14Philippines 1-6
15Senegal 1-6
16China 1-6

Boxscore USA vs. Senegal

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