Unlike prior FISU games representative teams, Canada’s 2017 edition – to be made up exclusively of U-Sports athletes with UBC’s Kevin Hanson as Head Coach – is making plans for this prestigious tournament, to be held in Taipei, Taiwan in mid-August, without financial support from Canada Basketball, the governing body for basketball in Canada. The lack of funding and timing of this edition of the tournament (August instead of usual July) are making preparations that much more complex for Hanson and staff which include Calgary Dinos Head Coach Dan Vanhooren and Laval skipper Jacques Paiement Jr.
A seven-person committee originally identified a list of invites made up of U-Sports players and response to the invites was, in a word, tepid. While some players had prior team commitments for travel to Costa Rica and Virgin Islands and/or NCAA games, many fortunately passed on this wonderful opportunity due to the lack of direct funding: to wit, players will have to raise about $5,000 CDN each to cover the costs of flights, accommodations, meals, incidentals and, very likely, even uniforms and water bottles.
The men’s basketball event at the 29th Summer Universiade in Taiwan is made up of 24 teams and is regarded as one of the top events on the international summer calendar, with numerous professional scouts in attendance. Hanson noted that UBC alumnus Nathan Yu, who played for Canada the last time Hanson coached in 2011 – when Canada took a silver medal in the event – was offered a professional contract in Europe directly as a result of his play at the FISU games.
Canada’s tentative, 12-man roster, to be officially unveiled by U-Sports this coming Friday, will have partial financial support from their representative schools however at present there is no budget for obvious requirements such as uniforms, water bottles, gear, let alone resources for a proper training camp and exhibition games.
Canada will have a short training camp prior to leaving for Taiwan after Hanson was able to work out a deal with Purdue Boilermakers, who will represent the United States at this event. Hanson will take his crew to Chicago on August 5th where Purdue-provided buses will pick the team up en route to West Lafayette, Indiana (about 3 hours from Chicago) for a 7 day training camp including official games against the Boilermakers/USA FISU team on August 11th and 12th. Purdue is providing Canada with hotels, food, transportation and floor time for practices during their stay. Canada will arrive in Taiwan in time to play their first of five Pool B round robin games beginning Sunday, August 20th against Norway (remainder of schedule listed below).
FISU games provides U-Sports student/athletes with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent their country at a major international event; as Hanson puts it “you can’t put a price tag on the experience of playing for your country”. We hope with this note that some form of financial support can be provided to Kevin and program as they prepare to represent Canada.
Canada’s 2017 FISU Games Schedule
Sunday, August 20th vs. Norway
Monday, August 21st vs. Finland
Tuesday, August 22nd vs. Hong Kong
Thursday, August 24th vs. Japan
Friday, August 25th vs. Germany.
Top two teams in each of the 4 pools advance to the sudden death quarter-finals.
Canada is in the same pool as Germany, the 2015 Silver medalists at this event. As noted, Hanson led a CIS-laden group to a silver medal in 2011 in Shenzhen, China.
The initial 12 man roster will be announced this coming Friday.