Canada Basketball has named the 15 players who will make up the 2014 men’s team.
Two-time NBA MVP and Sydney 2000 Olympic team captain Steve Nash, who is now Basketball Canada’s General Manager, seems very pleased with the selections. “We are fortunate to have a talented pool of athletes to work with. We have depth in each position and are able to field a strong team with a mix of NBA players, veterans of the international game, and university players,” he said in a release.
Unfortunately for many Canadians, they will have to wait a little longer to see superstar Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett playing with the maple leaf on their jerseys. Other notable exemptions from this year’s squad include 2014 first-round draft picks Nik Stauskas and Tyler Ennis, as well as NBA veteran Tristan Thompson.
Canada Basketball elected not to use its hard-earned fundraising money to insure their big NBA contracts for this summer’s low-stakes games. However, once the stakes are raised next summer at Olympic qualifiers, all five of them should at least be a part of the team, if not in the starting lineup.
While some of the big names are missing, the 2014 team still features a wealth of NBA and international experience. Cory Joseph, who returns to the national team as an NBA Champion, leads a list of six players who were part of the 2013 team. The other carryovers from last year include NBA veteran Andrew Nicholson, college standouts Brady Heslip and Junior Cadougan, as well as international veterans Jevohn Shepherd and Carl English.
This year’s squad features several new faces that should help raise Canada’s ranking internationally. NBA regulars Kelly Olynyk and Robert Sacre should provide some much-needed size up front. Highly athletic 2014 second-round pick Dwight Powell, along with 2014 draft prospects Jordan Bachynski and Melvin Ejim, will improve the team’s depth off the bench.
Coached by former Raptors Head Coach and two-time Olympian Jay Triano, the team needs to use this summer to gel together and gain experience ahead of next summer, where they will have two opportunities to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
After failing to qualify for this summer’s FIBA World Cup, the team will instead travel to Europe for a grueling test against some of the world’s best teams, including Spain (currently ranked 2nd in the world), Turkey (7th) and Serbia (11th). The Euro trip will see them play 11 games over a three week period, including one stretch of six games in six days in three different countries.
The 2014 Canada Basketball men’s team (alphabetically)
Jordan Bachynski – Centre/Forward
Jordan Baker – Forward
Junior Cadougan – Guard
Melvin Ejim – Forward
Carl English – Guard
Brady Heslip – Guard
Cory Joseph – Guard
Owen Klassen – Forward
Andrew Nicholson – Forward
Kelly Olynyk – Centre/Forward
Dwight Powell – Forward
Robert Sacre – Centre
Philip Scrubb – Guard
Thomas Scrubb – Guard
Jevohn Shepherd – Guard