Contrary to reports on some social media feeds from a few days ago, sources confirm that Jay Triano remains at the helm of Canada Basketball senior men’s team for the longer term.
Triano and GM Rowan Barrett will continue to finalize rosters and Jay remains de facto Head Coach, however, given Triano’s obligations as lead Assistant with Phoenix Suns in the NBA and the new FIBA qualification format which conflicts with those duties, in the near term – including this summer’s FIBA Americup games in Argentina and the initial qualifiers in late 2017, early 2018, Canada will be led by U-19 Gold Medal winning coach Roy Rana during those campaigns.
This is expected to be confirmed shortly by Canada Basketball. This is a very deserving position for Rana after leading Canada to their first-ever gold medal at a FIBA event at last month’s U-19 World championships in Cairo, Egypt. For those who missed it and are not yet fully aware, that was a very big deal in the evolution of Canadian basketball and Rana was at the helm leading Canada through this historic milestone.
Expected to join Rana on his staff for Argentina and the early qualifiers are Carleton Head Coach Dave Smart, Raptors 905’s Assistant Coach Nate Mitchell and former NBA champion/great Jack Sikma. This is the staff that is scheduled to lead Canada this summer in Argentina and in late November when Canada hosts Bahamas (Halifax, November 24th) and travels to Dominican Republic (November 27th).
No word on how the roster will fill out for Argentina however my speculation is that Canada will take players destined for European professional careers including some younger just-graduated U-Sports talent. For the qualifiers, expect the top non-NBA players scattered across the G-League and Europe to make up the roster. This is purely speculation on my part… as is the distinct possibility that Canada could have U-19 MVP and current sensation 6’7″ R.J. Barrett in the lineup in Argentina and potentially the qualifiers. Exciting times for Canada Basketball and our fans.
Recall that FIBA Americup 2017 is a twelve-nation tournament scheduled to kick off in 16 days (late August) broken 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.
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 Brazil – these games are in Medellin, Columbia.
Group C consists of USA, Dominican Republic, Panama and Uruguay with games in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Expect the Canada Basketball brass selecting players for this campaign to 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.
Here is a comprehensive look at World Cup 2019 qualifying for Canada:
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).
We would expect that the Rana staff as mentioned above will lead Canada through the two February games in U.S. Virgin Islands and Bahamas with Triano returning for the June/July games.
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.
Expect a formal announcement shortly that clarifies our National team road map that we all expect will result in a spot at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
Go Canada !!!