Old and New Faces for Canada in Quest for Pan Am Basketball Gold


Old and New Faces for Canada in Quest for Pan Am Basketball Gold

Canada Basketball announced their training camp roster for the upcoming Pan Am games in Toronto this month.

Among the notables on the roster are the former NBA No. 1 draft pick Anthony Bennett, long time national team veterans like Carl English, and a high school phenom in Jamal Murray.

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It truly is a mixed bag of young and old talent, coming from almost every corner and level of the basketball world.

But with the astounding amount of talent Canada has recently produced, some Canadian hoops fans might be a little disappointed to see who is not on this roster.

The most notable name would be NBA Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins, who has still shown full commitment to play for the Olympic qualifiers in August.

Also missing on the list is NBA Finals standout Tristan Thompson, who is currently in a contract dispute with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Finally, other NBA standouts like Cory Joseph and Kelly Olynyk are staying out as per request from each of their clubs, while the rest of the NBA and NCAA crop will be looking to prove their professional worth during the NBA summer league in Vegas.

Missing these players does deal a rather significant blow to the roster, as all the Latin American teams will be looking to bring their top talent to this tournament.

The Pan Ams tend to have a twilight zone feel to them, as many countries who normally don’t get to the medal rounds such as Venezuela, Brazil, and Puerto Rico, will be front runners for the finals.

Meanwhile, USA Basketball for example, will be bringing a roster that has no current NBA talent on it.

So, with Canada’s two biggest stars out of the question, who in this group will we look to step up for the hosts?

As of now, all signs point to Bennett.

Say what you want about his underwhelming performance in the NBA, but Bennett has been a top asset for the national team during FIBA competitions.

The world game suits him well too, where he can spread the floor with his mid-range jumper, while dominate the boards and fast break dunks over defenders that tend to not be as skilled, or as strong, as the NBA forwards he has struggled against in his pro career.

Other footnotes to keep an eye on will be high school five-star recruit Jamal Murray, who has been on a tear the past six months through various all-star games, international tournaments, and high school showcases, capped off an incredible high school career by committing to NCAA powerhouse Kentucky.

Given the absence of both Cory Joseph and Tyler Ennis, the 18-year-old product of Orangeville Prep might actually have a solid shot at cracking the roster, rather than just attending the senior camp as a “learning experience.”

Finally, we have the CIS defensive player of the year, Carleton Raven Thomas Scrubb, who has been in and around the national program along with his brother Philip, since they were about 16.

If either Murray or Scrubb were to make the team, it would certainly bring a vindication of sorts to the journey they took to get here, and to both of the strictly Canadian programs they represent – Murray for a high school prep academy, and Scrubb for a Canadian University.

Canada’s first game will be against the Dominican Republic on  July 21 at 6pm at the Mattamy Athletic Center in Maple Leaf Gardens.

Next: Canada Basketball Claims Silver at FIBA U16s

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