canada basketball

Canada announces preliminary Americup roster; Caboclo makes Brazilian team

Canada Basketball announced its preliminary roster for the 2017 FIBA Americup tournament on Thursday.

As expected, the group of 18 is fairly light on NBA talent. That owes not only to the somewhat lesser importance of this year’s Americup compared to recent years (it’s no longer an automatic qualifier for the World Cup), as well as some up-in-the-air availability statuses for key and even fringe Canadian names. Mostly, though, this has to do with the convoluted new FIBA World Cup and Olympic qualification procedure, which will see teams play qualification games during the course of the NBA season. So while Canada would love to do well at the Americup – and still very well could – they’ll also want to breed some familiarity ahead of qualification games in November and February, when NBA talent won’t be available to them.

That simply has to be kept in mind looking at the roster and putting the notable absences in context – stalwarts like Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson aren’t even playing, let alone the more difficult names like Andrew Wiggins (or even R.J. Barrett). (To get ahead of questions: The reason Player X is missing will be due to some combination of contract/collegiate status, availability for the qualifiers, and the usual factors that cause guys to miss these events, but I’d guess availability for the qualifiers is the big one for high-end guys in NBA/EuroLeague/NCAA.) That means the group going to Argentina later this month will be heavy on CIS and NBL names, which, to be honest, is a pretty cool wrinkle in a tournament that doesn’t have a ton of big-picture implication for the program and speaks to the growing depth of Canadian basketball talent, even outside of the NBA.

In any case, here’s the training camp roster:

Name        Position Height Hometown 2016-17 Team
Jermaine Anderson Guard 6’2 Toronto, ON Chalons-Reims (France)
Brady Heslip Guard 6’2 Oakville, ON Raptors 905 (G-League)
Nazareth Mitrou-Long Guard 6’4 Mississauga, ON Iowa State (NCAA)
Dyshawn Pierre Small Forward 6’6 Whitby, ON Banco di Srd (Italy)
Murphy Burnatowski Power Forward 6’7 Kitchener, ON Fribourg (Switzerland)
Joel Anthony Centre 6’9 Montreal, QC San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
Ammanuel Diressa Guard 6’5 Toronto, ON Ryerson University (U SPORTS)
Warren Ward Guard 6’5 London, ON Windsor Express (NBL)
Daniel Mullings Guard 6’3 Toronto, ON Kataja Basket (Finland)
Olivier Hanlan Guard 6’4 Gatineau, QC Le Mans (France)
Ransford Brempong Power Forward 6’8 Brampton, ON SB Battle (USA)
Xavier Rathan-Mayes Guard 6’4 Scarborough, ON Florida State (NCAA)
Junior Cadougan Guard 6’2 Toronto, ON London Lightning (NBL)
Justin Edwards Guard 6’3 Scarborough, ON Betaland Cdo (Italy)
Richard Amardi Forward 6’9 Toronto, ON Niagara River Lions (NBL)
Grandy Glaze Forward 6’7 Toronto, ON Caballeros de Culiacan (Mexico)
Joel Friesen Guard 6’4 Abbotsford, BC London Lightning (NBL)
Andrew Nicholson Power Forward 6’9 Mississauga, ON Washington Wizards /
Brooklyn Nets (NBA)

The coaching staff has some heavy Toronto Raptors influence where the roster doesn’t, with Jack Sikma and Nathaniel Mitchell (a Raptors 905 assistant) both backing up Roy Rana, who is taking over head coaching duties for Jay Triano on an interim basis since Triano’s NBA commitments will preclude him from qualifying games. Here’s the full coaching staffL

Name Position Hometown
Roy Rana Head Coach Toronto, ON
Craig Beaucamp Assistant Coach Victoria, BC
Jack Sikma Assistant Coach Kankakee, Illinois
Michael Meeks Assistant Coach Brampton, ON
Nathaniel Mitchell Assistant Coach Toronto, ON
Kelly Forbes Performance Consultant Calgary, AB
Jay Triano SMNT Program Head Coach Tillsonburg, ON
David Grundman Team Manager Toronto, ON
Dipesh Mistry Video Coordinator Markham, ON
Phil Jevtovic Performance Analyst Toronto, ON
Samuel Gibbs Athletic Therapist Toronto, ON
Jason Meehan Athletic Therapist Toronto, ON
Charlie Weingroff Strength and Conditioning Coach Newark, NJ
John Philpott Team Doctor Miramichi, NB

Canada opens training camp Saturday in Toronto, then heads to Argentina for Aug. 26.

Eschewing any exhibition games, they’ll open up the Americup on Aug. 27 against the U.S. Virgin Islands, then play Aug. 28 against host Argentina and Aug. 29 against the dream-killers from the 2015 Americup, Venezuela. The top team from each of the three pools (plus host Argentina) will advance to the semi-finals on Sept. 2, with the finals taking place on Sept. 3.

Elsewhere in the tournament, Bruno Caboclo has been named to Brazil’s final 12-man roster for the event after scoring 11 points in a friendly this week. This should be a really good experience for Caboclo, who has never played for Brazil’s senior men’s team before. Brazil plays Aug. 25, 26, and 27 in Colombia.

Looking across the ocean to EuroBasket, Jonas Valanciunas will be playing for Lithuania for an 11th consecutive summer beginning Aug. 31. A much deeper and more competitive tournament, Valanciunas will play at least five games over seven days and very likely advance to the round of 16 beginning Sept. 9 and extending as far as Sept. 17.

Raptors Republic will be providing light coverage of the events as results and interest dictate. While we covered the Canadian men’s team for Olympic qualifying tournaments or the women’s team for big games in the past and covered both the U.S. women and Lithuanian men at the Olympics last year, none of this year’s tournaments resonate nearly as much. As highlight packages become available, as notable performances take place, or as teams reach the knock-out stage, we’ll be on top of it, but don’t expect recaps each day (unless I’m really bored, which I very well may be).

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