It has been 15 years since Canada Men's basketball has competed at the Olympics. For die hard basketball fans in Canada, 15 years feels like 150. Since the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Canada has failed to take the next step in becoming a competitive country on the world's stage.
This time around, it could be different. With the 2016 Summer Olympics just around the corner, Canada has assembled their most talented roster for Olympic Qualifying that began today at the FIBA Americas hosted in Mexico.
Not only is the roster stacked with young NBA talent and good college players a few years ago, it is also one of deepest teams Canada has ever had, which will surely pay dividends before the tournament is over. Canada will be playing in a potential eight games in ten days.
I find it interesting that a total of eight players could have played together at the same college if they all wanted to. A bit unrealistic but think about the pipeline a college coach could create if he only recruited Canadians.
It wasn't a long time ago that it was unfabithable to just vision Canada having to cut star college players or NBA players. In 2009, Canada had players such as Carl English, Levon Kendall, Andy Rautins and Joel Anthony who all got cut in tryouts or didn't even get invited to the tryouts.
The big key for Canada is for the stars to preform well and jell together in a short amount of time. This will also be a very good shooting team, therefore Brady Heslip will have to be knocking down key shots to free up players like Wiggins and Bennett.
The FIBA Americas is a ten team Olympic Qualifying tournament. There are two Olympic berths open at this tournament and because USA has already qualified for the Olympics in the result of winning the 2014 World Cup last year, it opens a very precious Olympic berth. In addition, Brazil despite participating in the tournament, has also already qualified.
The 10 teams are divided into two groups of five teams with the top four teams advancing to another round robin round of eight teams. From their the top four teams will reach the semi finals with the semi final winners qualifying for the Olympics. There will be a back door tournament for teams 3rd-5th nex year before the Olympics.
Below is the group that Canada was placed in and the current standings. For those of you that are wondering, yes the standings are right and teams do get one point for a loss.
|1||Venezuela||1||1||0||73||52||+21||2||Advance to second round|