Anthony Bennett Returns as Canada Basketball Gets Set for Olympic Qualifier

Jul 21, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Canada forward Anthony Bennett (10) reacts after a dunk against the Dominican Republic in the men
Jul 21, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Canada forward Anthony Bennett (10) reacts after a dunk against the Dominican Republic in the men /

A familiar face was spotted on day six of Canada Basketball’s training camp, as Anthony Bennett brought himself back into the mix for the teams last ditch effort to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Anthony Bennett reported to Canada Basketball camp in a much slimmer figure as opposed to the one Toronto Raptors fans saw during the regular season, where Bennett was eventually released by the club.

Despite his NBA setbacks, Canada head coach Jay Triano told the press Wednesday afternoon that Bennett was able “to reach an agreement,” that allowed the national team to get insurance for him to play with the team leading up to the qualifying tournament next month in Manila.

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The NBA team that was willing to take a chance on the 2013 No. 1 overall pick has yet to be released, but most likely it was ether the New York Knicks or the Brooklyn Nets, who both held workouts for the Brampton, ON native.

The relief of the coaching staff when they spoke about having Bennett available for this roster speaks volumes about the players that are there.

Outside of NBA stalwarts such as Cory Joseph and Joel Anthony, the training camp roster features a number of players that would have many casual Canadian hoops fans Googling names to figure out exactly who they are.

Jamal Murray, Andrew Wiggins, Andrew Nicholson, all for one reason or another, will likely not be a part of this final assault on an Olympic berth.

As an added insult to injury, Dillion Brooks, of catching Coach K in a lie fame, was seen with a walking boot during Wednesday’s practice and is unlikely to be participating in the upcoming Olympic Qualifications tournament.

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Despite the underwhelming initial turnout, Triano expressed to the media that no players, despite showing up for camp or not, will be turned away come time for the Olympic Qualifiers in Manila.

“If they have been a part of our program, and there is a chance, than that would be something that we would look at,” said Triano when asked on whether Tristan Thompson, who is currently in the NBA Finals, would become a part of this team.

If you are a fan of Canadian grassroots basketball, then there were still plenty of things to watch out for with this roster.

It is still not official as to whether 16-year-old RJ Barrett will be a part of the roster. Coach Triano has noted moments where Barrett has had difficulty keeping up with the senior team, but reassured to the media on Wednesday that it is all part of the process.

Coach Triano went on to say that both Burlington native Simi Shittu and Hamilton’s Shai Alexander have impressed in this senior camp, but made no comment on whether any of the three high schoolers invited will have a spot on the final roster.

Next: Raptors Cory Joseph Joins the ToT-cast to Discuss Canada Basketball

Canada kicks off their pre-tournament schedule in Croatia on June 20 vs Croatia, before travelling to Manila on July 5 for the Olympic qualifying tournament.