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Young Canadian squad shapes FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers

Xavier Rathan Mayes Canada Vs Argentina
Xavier Rathan Mayes Canada Vs Argentina

For the past twenty-plus (20) years starving Canadian basketball fans across the country have asked for more International sanctioned games on home soil.

Finally, it looks like those requests are materializing.

With the upcoming kick-off to the newly formatted road to the FIBA Basketball World Cup, the 2019 Americas Qualifiers taking place in Halifax, Nova Scotia will satisfy and quench the thirst of long-time East coast supporters of the National game.

A young, 25th-ranked Canadian squad will take on 59th ranked Bahamas, in a important Group D qualify game at the Scotiabank Centre.

Led by former number one pick of the 2013 NBA Draft, Anthony Bennett (Northern Arizona, G-League), the roster features a strong young crop of former Usports All-Canadians and NCAA Division I standouts. Additionally, a further testimony to the growth of Canadian University Basketball, Ryerson Rams head coach Roy Rana, headlines the coaching staff alongside Carleton Ravens coach Dave Smart.

Point guard duties will be handled by Olivier Hanlan, Phil Scrubb and Kaza Kajami-Keane. The latter two having won multiple Usports basketball championships under the tutelage of Smart. Three-point specialist Brady Heslip and along side confident Xavier Rathan-Mayes will look to fill it up for the outside. The front court will anchored by 6’8″ Anthony Bennett, Thomas Scrubb, (another Ravens All-Canadian) and former Acadia Axemen 6’10” Owen Klassen (Kingston, ON).

Overall the roster looks solid, given the lack of availability of Canada’s top talent due to changes in the qualifying format, and the NBA’s willingness to move aside and grant FIBA the release of its players, regardless of nationality for the World Cup qualifying periods.

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Placed in Group D alongside Virgin Islands, Bahamas and Dominican Republic. The young Canadians will play a home and away series against each team. After the Bahamas game, Canada will fly out to the Dominican Republic for a stern road test on November 28, 2017 to wrap up the opening qualifying window.  The second qualifier will take in late February with Canada once again hitting the road for games against the Virgin Islands and the Bahamas. The third qualifying window will see Canada host two more games on home soil on June 29 and July 2, 2018.

Canada is coming off a mediocre performance at the FIBA Americup dropping games to Virgin Islands 83-71, Argentina 92-86 with its only win against a tough Venezuela 75-66 team that denied the Canadians an Olympics appearance in Rio 2016.

NamePositionHeightCityTeam
Joel Anthony

Centre

6’9″

Montreal, QCFree Agent
Anthony Bennett

Forward

6’8″

Toronto, ONNorthern Arizona Suns (G-League)
Grandy Glaze

Centre

6’7″

Toronto, ONSt. John’s Edge (NBL Canada)
Olivier Hanlan

Guard

6’4″

Aylmer, QCAustin Spurs (G-League)
Brady Heslip

Guard

6’2″

Burlington, ONTrabzonspor (Turkey)
Kaza Kajami-Keane

Guard

6’1″

Ajax, ONRaptors 905 (G-League)
Owen Klassen

Centre

6’10”

Kingston, ONPAOK (Greece)
Dyshawn Pierre

Forward

6’6″

Whitby, ONBanco di Srd (Italy)
Xavier Rathan-Mayes

Guard

6’4″

Scarborough, ONWestchester Knicks (G-League)
Phil Scrubb

Guard

6’3″

Richmond, B.C.Fraport SKY (Germany)
Thomas Scrubb

Forward

6’6″

Richmond, B.C.Scandone AV (Italy)
Marc Trasolini

Centre

6’9″

Vancouver, B.C.Hokkaido L. (Japan)

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