For the first time in recent memory, Canada’s Senior Men’s team has a comparatively slower summer schedule-wise however the FIBA Americup 2017 does provide an opportunity for the coaching staff and roster to assemble in August, not to mention the opportunity to potentially atone for one of the more disappointing losses in Canadian basketball history (yes, Venezuela is on the schedule this summer).
Newly minted U-19 World Championship gold medalist coach Roy Rana will very likely be part of this summer’s coaching staff which is set to include Head Coach Jay Triano, long-time Carleton mentor Dave Smart and Raptors 905 Assistant Nate Mitchell.
The twelve-nation tournament breaks down into three groups of 4 teams with Canada in Group B with U.S. Virgin Islands, Venezuela and host Argentina, where all Group B games will be played (Bahia Blanca, Argentina). Interestingly, the USA entry in this tournament and throughout the qualifying series will be former New York Knicks and Houston Rockets Head Coach and current NBA television analyst Jeff Van Gundy.
No word yet on the make-up of our roster although it is likely that Canada will start to plan for the new World Cup and Olympic qualifying format which, for the World Cup 2019, has games played throughout the winter months in direct conflict with NBA and other professional leagues.
To that end, an initial, somewhat-large list of candidates was considered some weeks ago that contained numerous current and former U Sports names. Expect the staff to flush out a more comprehensive list in time for a pre-tournament camp, likely in early August. While we cannot confirm any names, it is widely expected that few if any NBA players will participate in what amounts to an exhibition tournament. More practically, existing professionals playing in Europe and other countries are strong candidates, especially given that Canada’s FISU games campaign – consisting of a roster with 12 existing and graduated U-Sports players – will begin play in Taiwan on 20th August through late August, overlapping FIBA Americup 2017.
Still, expect some U Sports-affiliated talent to potentially be considered with names like 6’3″ Ryerson All-Canadian Adika Peter-McNeilly and 6’4″ Ammanuel Diressa (not named to FISU team) and potentially other recently-graduated stars to garner consideration. As a side note, expect Peter-McNeilly to announce shortly the signing of his first professional contract; one of several U-Sports grads from last season to do so.
For recent grads like Peter-McNeilly, this tournament occurs at a time in the year when European professional leagues are starting up and could create some potential scheduling conflicts, especially for players who just signed their first contract and are in the first stages of establishing their professional careers, putting them in what should be considered a difficult spot – whether to play an exhibition tournament for your country or begin your career.
We hope to have more details on the make-up of the roster in the coming weeks.
Canada’s Group B schedule at FIBA Americup 2017
Sunday, August 27, 2017 vs. U.S. Virgin Islands
Monday, August 28, 2017 vs. Argentina
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 vs. Venezuela
(all games in Bahia Blanca, Argentina).
Group A consists of Puerto Rico, Mexico, Columbia and a team to be named – these games are in Medellin, Columbia.
Group C consists of USA, Dominican Republic, Panama and Uruguay with games in Montevideo, Uruguay.
World Cup 2019 Qualifying… As most know by now, the era of the qualifying tournament has been replaced by a FIFA-like qualification during which teams are slotted in regional groups and play home-and-home games with group winners advancing to the next round of qualification.
The qualifying windows for the FIBA World Basketball Cup 2019 will be:
- November 20-28, 2017
- February 19-27, 2018
- June 25 to July 3, 2018
- September 10-18, 2018
- November 26 to December 4, 2018 and
- February 20-28 (2019).
Canada was drawn into Group D of the first qualifiers window along with the Virgin Islands, Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, and will open its Qualification campaign against Bahamas on November 24 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Here is Canada’s six-game schedule:
November 24th, 2017: Bahamas at Canada (Halifax)
November 27th, 2017: Canada at Dominican Republic
February 22nd, 2018: Canada at U.S. Virgin Islands
February 25th, 2018: Canada at Bahamas
June 29th, 2018: Dominican Republic at Canada
July 2nd, 2018: U.S. Virgin Islands at Canada
There are three other four-team pools in FIBA Americas (16 teams total in Round 1).
In the second round, the top three teams from each group will be placed in a group with three other top teams, resulting in two groups of six teams each (Group E and F – Canada will likely reside in Group F). All results from the first qualification round are carried over to the second round. Games will be played in September 2018, November 2018 and February 2019. The top three teams in each group along with the better placed fourth team will qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup proper. After the six windows, the top seven teams from the Americas will reserve a spot in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China from August 31 – September 15. Got it ?