Shadkami, Barrett lead Blues to comeback win in Taiwan


Toronto Varsity Blues kicked off the 2018 BLIA Cup in Taiwan with a fourth-quarter rally to knock off University of Lyon (France) 81-67 as 6’0″ Evan Shadkami, 5’9″ Chris Barrett and 6’3″ Nic Paradina combined to shoot 8-17 from three to key the win.  Varsity trailed by 4 entering the final quarter but Shadkami and Barrett – each with 21 points – catalyzed Toronto’s impressive fourth-quarter run.  Paradina added 11 points.

Blues played a tidy game with just 11 turnovers and also got 14 quality minutes from 6’1″ freshman point guard Inaki Alvarez who finished with 7 points.  All twelve Blues who dressed saw playing time.

The tournament includes several University teams from across the globe with the Blues now focused on their game on Wednesday, July 4th against University of New South Wales from Australia beginning at 7:20 a.m. Eastern time and available for viewing live on the tournament’s YouTube page or here

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Another dominating performance puts Canada on brink of Group C win


Canada 93, Egypt 53… Taking over from virtually the very beginning, Canada forced 23 turnovers, got out in transition and snared 22 “o” boards in a dominating win over Egypt to take control of Group C in the preliminary round of 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup in Rosario, Argentina.  With the victory Canada moves to 2-0 in advance of Tuesday’s final preliminary round game against New Zealand, which is presently trailing Montenegro by 25 points in the second half – recall Egypt also defeated the Kiwis by 14 yesterday.

Canada took the lead for good at 9-8 and took a 51-24 lead into the intermission, finishing the first half on a 13-3 run culminated by a put-back slam at the second quarter buzzer by 6’7″ Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe (12 points and 14 rebounds); the slick forward was active on the press which yielded numerous easy scores for Canada.  6’4″ Cashius McNeilly made a pair of early threes as Canada made 4 of their first 8 from downtown and finished a tidy 8/18; McNeilly shot 4-5 overall from three and totaled a team-high 16 points as did 6’6″ Addison Patterson, who had 5 steals at the top of Canada’s press and slashed to the drive going 7-10 from the field in just 15 minutes in another exceptional performance.

6’7″ Ben Krikke, the Edmonton native, somewhat quietly continues to move up the rotation, authoring another workmanlike effort around the rim with 11 points on 5-7 shooting in just 14 minutes, working well with Patterson and finishing well in and around the paint.  Expect Krikke’s minutes to rise as the tournament progresses as one of our top bigs.

Coach Kirby Schepp kept the benches rolling with all 12 Canadians on the roster logging between 15 and 20 minutes.

While Canada was occasionally defeated on Egypt’s offensive glass (Canada gave up 17 “o” boards) and guilty of several undisciplined close-outs, the group was very well prepared to defend Egypt’s wing ball screen and defended the three well (Egypt shot just 3 for 22 missing at least their first 10 from downtown).

Canada has had solid play at the point from the combination of  5’11” Shemar Rathan-Mayes and 6’1″ Keeshawn Barthelemy thus far and strong wing work from McNeilly and 6’4″ Luka Sakota who had all of his 7 points before halftime, even attacking the rim to beat a couple of close-outs.

After an off-day tomorrow, Canada completes the first round against New Zealand after which all 16 teams will join the championship bracket which begins on Wednesday.  Expect Canada to draw the winner of the Philippines/Argentina game in that round and, assuming a victory, either Australia, Puerto Rico or Turkey (second place team in Group A which has been by far the most competitive thus far; it is conceivable that all threes teams in that group could finish 2-1, setting up some tie-breaker scenarios).  That quarter-final game is likely to be Canada’s most stringent test to that point in the tournament.  Assuming success, USA looms as a potential semi-final opponent.

Happy Canada Day to all !

Patterson explodes onto world stage with dominant performance


Observers close to the Canadian national basketball program have celebrated the emergence of 6’6″ Addison Patterson, many viewing the athletic wing as following in the recent footsteps of 6’7″ R.J. Barrett and 6’5″ Jamal Murray among others as lasting, impact players on the international stage.  Today, it was the world’s turn and Patterson did not disappoint, showcasing his high-end athleticism and unrelenting attacks at the rim in Canada’s 92-67 pasting of Montenegro, the Eurozone runner’s up last season – albeit as hosts of that tournament.

Patterson’s breathtaking athleticism was on display almost from the opening whistle after filling the lane on the break and, taking off from near the three point line, cupping it and hammering at the rim left-handed.  The high-degree-of-difficulty slam came off but the Montenegro bench stared in amazement and the tone was set.  Patterson finished with a game-high 20 points on 7-14 shooting including a wonderful attack beating a close-out left and pounding home a two-hander late in the second quarter as Canada was rarely threatened after starting the second quarter on an 8-0 to lead 23-15.

While there remains some things to iron out in Patterson’s game – periodically driving into traffic with no real purpose (5 turnovers today), more consistency on his jumper especially beyond the three and a better sense of defending off the ball – he has baller’s instincts especially at high speeds and when pressing and jumping passing lanes.  Today, Canada wore down Montenegro with the press and numerous lock-down defensive possessions.  While there were some breakdowns guarding the ball screen and in transition, Canada generally looked very well prepared and made big shots when it counted.

Montenegro did get a 13 point deficit back to within 4 at 48-44 late in the third.  However, Canada had another in a series of solid offensive possessions, gaining an advantage of the draw-and-kick and beating Montenegro’s defensive rotations with several extra passes, the final one which landed in the hands of 6’1″ Keeshawn Barthelemy (Montreal) in the left corner, who calmly knocked down the three and Canada was rarely in any danger thereafter.  Later 6’4″ Luka Sakota beat the third quarter buzzer with a three-pointer from about three feet behind the left arc, giving Canada more momentum entering the fourth.

Patterson then helped ice the game for good, leading an 11-0 run in the first three minutes of the fourth including a soaring dunk from the left wing which he pulled way back in Jordan-esque fashion before hammering it home.

Canada forced 24 Montenegro turnovers and attacked the “o” boards retrieving 15 caroms on the offensive glass, wearing down the less athletic and thinner Montenegro rotation with various full and three-quarter court looks as well as the odd 2-3 zone.  But Canada’s ability to guard the ball and limit the need for defensive rotations was the under-rated staple of today’s win.

All 12 Canadians on the roster played and hit the scoresheet including 6’7″ lefty Josh Hemmings (11 points), who was active in the press and generally defensively, knocked in 3-4 threes.  Sakota finished with 10 as Canada hit a bunch of threes late to finish a solid 8-18 from downtown.

Barthelemy and 5’11” Shemar Rathan-Mayes were solid running the show for Canada and 6’4″ Cashius McNeilly had 2-3 threes in what was a very balanced offensive attack.

Canada meets Egypt tomorrow (Canada Day Sunday) at 12:45 PM ET as the tournament’s preliminary round continues.  Egypt dropped New Zealand 64-50 earlier today so tomorrow game is a battle of the unbeatens as 6’5″ Mo Hassan led the way with 14 points.  Egypt shot just 3-16 from downtown but held the Kiwis to just 3 for 28 from beyond the stripe.

Great opportunity for Canada to play on Canada Day !

New-look Varsity Blues represent Canada in Taiwan


Looking to replace three graduated top-of-rotation regulars, U of T Varsity Blues Head Coach John Campbell will have an early opportunity to test his latest set of recruits and returning veterans as his new-look group embarks on an international trip, representing Canada at the 2018 Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) Cup tournament, July 2-8, in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.

Blues have added at least four graduating high school seniors poised to take the graduated minutes of 6’3″ Reilly Reid, 6’3″ Sage Usher (who is in discussions for a professional contract in Israel) and 6’5″ Chase Ruttenberg.  Top candidate to replace Usher’s minutes at the point is 6’2″ Inaki Alvarez, continuing a long-established pipeline of talent to U of T from Toronto St. Michael’s Kerry Blues.  Alvarez, originally from Spain, was MVP of several high school tournaments this past season, played his club ball for CIA Bounce and is rated as at #41 on North Pole Hoops Class of 2020 graduates.

Breaking some new recruiting ground, Varsity dipped into Quebec CEGEP to attract 6’5″ Eli Mouyal from John Abbott.  Mouyal, who represented Canada at the 2015 Maccabi Games in Israel, spent the past two seasons with the Islanders as one of their leading scorers, averaging 11.7 ppg/22 mpg in 2016-17 and 10.1 ppg/4.3 rpg in 19 mpg this past season.

Blues also attracted a pair of promising, somewhat under-the-radar prospects from Toronto in 6’2″ Jeremy Aibi, a wing from Scarborough Francis Libermann/Northern Kings and 6’6″ Somachi Agbapu, a long, athletic wing/forward from Crestwood Prep in Toronto who has the potential to be a strong U-Sports rim protector and paint-area player.

Toronto returns at least five rotation players including 6’7″ Daniel Johansson, 5’10” Chris Barrett, 6’4″ Nic Paradina, 6’6″ Nick Morris and 5’11” Evan Shadkami, who comes off a tremendous freshman season that culminated in a U-Sports All-Freshman team selection.

After a set of practices this week, the Blues leave for Taiwan early Saturday morning (June 30th) returning on 10th July 2018.  The BLIA Cup, hosted by Fo Guang University, features nine men’s and nine women’s teams from all around the globe. This year’s tournament includes teams from Malaysia, Japan, China, France, Australia, Taiwan, Canada and the United States.

“This is the second time in my tenure at U of T we have been able to participate in an international tour,” said Campbell. “Taiwan will be an incredible opportunity for our players to experience a different culture, all while competing against other university athletes from around the world.”

The BLIA Cup is a sport cultural exchange organized by the Fo Guang Shan Monastery, intended to promote the sport of basketball among universities and to provide young student-athletes with the experience of competition in large-scale tournaments.

“I believe this tournament will give us a chance to not only accelerate our on-court development leading into the 2018-19 season,” continued Campbell “but will also allow our team culture to begin to develop prior to the commencement of the school year.”

2018 BLIA Cup
Toronto Schedule

Monday, July 2 – 7:00 a.m. EST
Toronto vs University of Lyon (France)

Wednesday, July 4 – 7:20 a.m. EST
Toronto vs University of New South Wales (Australia)

Thursday, July 5 – 9:00 p.m. EST
Toronto vs National Taiwan Sport University.

Official web site of the tournament:  http://www.bltv.tv/events/2018FGC/

The games will be streamed live on BLTV YouTube

http://bit.ly/2ly2DTW

 

Welcome Back, Ken ! Olynyk Sr. back on bench at UBC-O


The Olynyk family name is well known in Canada given the wonderful success and loyalty to his country that 7’0″ Miami Heat forward Kelly Olynyk has displayed.  But long-time U-Sports/CIS/CIAU observers also resonate with the Olynyk name through his father, Ken Olynyk, a former All-Canadian player (4 seasons at Simon Fraser and a 5th at Laurentian under legendary coach Ken Shields) and 24-year career as a CIS coach.  To boot, Kelly’s mother and Ken’s wife Arlene is former CIS referee.

Coach Ken started his coaching career in the early 80’s with a successful 10 year stint at Lethbridge and then later spent 14 seasons as head man of those very good U of T Varsity Blues teams of the mid-to-late 90’s that captured several OUA East championships and a Wilson Cup, repping at the Final 8 several times.  Olynyk built a very good program in downtown Toronto before taking over as Athletic Director at Thompson Rivers University in 2003, a post he retired from last summer.

But as the old adage goes, “you can’t keep a good man down” and Olynyk looks to have recharged the coaching battery (at least for one season), getting set to take the reigns at UBC-Okanagan with an interim tag by his name at present.  UBC-O recently hired Tom Huisman, who worked on Jennifer Brenning‘s staff in the Carleton athletic department after a career in the U-Sports Head Office, as their newest Athletic Director and Huisman made the decision to part ways with former Peter Guarasci – in what was a surprising move to most long-time observers – before settling on Olynyk as an interim boss.  With Coach Ken on board as an interim, Huisman has an experienced, successful Head Coach who can vet the next coach as well as mentor the rookie AD in the nuances of running an Athletic Department.

Best of luck to Ken as he returns to the bench.

Sr. Men continue preparations for Friday’s important qualifier


We are about 48 hours away from Friday’s showdown for first place in Group D in the FIBA Americas World Cup 2019 qualifier as Canada hosts Dominican Republic.  Teams are required to name their rosters the day before the game (by 4 PM ET Thursday) so by this time tomorrow night, the world will know the twelve players Head Coach Jay Triano will have for Friday’s game as well as Monday’s final game of the first qualifying round in Ottawa against U.S. Virgin Islands.

The program currently has 16 players in the Toronto camp plus 6’3″ Phil Scrubb (Vancouver, BC/Carleton/German Bundesliga) who continues to work out with the Washington Wizards and will apparently join the Wizards at the Las Vegas Summer league next month.  Expect Scrubb to be back in time to suit up for Canada this coming Friday, likely coming off the bench to spell 6’2″ Cory Joseph (Pickering, ON/Texas/Indiana Pacers), the likely starter at the point.  Many believe that 6’3″ Andrew Nembhard (Vaughan, ON) represents the future at the point for Canada; the youngster who enters his freshman season at Florida may stick as the third point this weekend.

On the wings, 6’6″ Melvin Ejim (Toronto, ON/Iowa State/VTB United League – Russian 1st Division) 6’3″ Brady Heslip (Burlington, ON/Baylor/Turkish Super League), 6’6″ Dillon Brooks (Toronto/Oregon/Memphis-NBA) and, very likely, 6’7″ R.J. Barrett, the teenage phenom from Mississauga headed to Duke, should make up what is a versatile set of wings for Canada.  6’7″ Thomas Scrubb (Vancouver, BC/Carleton/Italy Serie A), a National team vet, is a valuable commodity as a wing forward who can defend 2 through 4 and even some bigger ones if need be.

Both 6’2″ Kaza Keane (Ajax, ON/Carleton/Raptors G-League) and 6’5″ Aaron Best (Toronto, ON/Ryerson/Raptors G-League) have made a tremendous impression as this article from Raptors905 web site outlines – both G-League players have strong basketball IQ’s and can be counted on at the defensive end among other areas.  Whether or not there is roster room on this present team remains to be seen, but both have made a wonderful impression and continue to grow their pro careers after graduating from U-Sports programs Carleton and Ryerson respectively.

Up front 7’0″ Kelly Olynyk (Kamloops, BC/Gonzaga/Miami Heat) is likely to make many of the offensive decisions with his versatility as a passer from both the high and low post and his multi-faceted scoring skills while 6’11” Dwight Powell (Mississauga, ON/Stanford/Dallas Mavericks) is also destined for major minutes making up a formidable Canadian front line.  6’10” Chris Boucher (Montreal), an Oregon grad and Golden State G-League player, is dripping with length and athleticism and is likely Canada’s best rim protector with the skills to step out and knock down threes, while 6’9″ Khem Birch (Montreal/UNLV/Orlando Magic) is a workhorse rebounder and defender who complements the offensive skills of Olynyk and Powell.

6’5″ wing/guard Olivier Hanlan (Gatineau, PQ/Boston College/Austin Spurs – G-League) has been battling an ankle injury, limiting his time as a result while 6’9″ Andrew Nicholson (Mississauga, ON/St. Bonaventure/Chinese Pro League) and 6’8″ Anthony Bennett (Brampton, ON/UNLV/Maine Red Claws G-League) are working to maintain their spots on the Senior team.

A win for Canada by 13 or more points over Dominican Republic on Friday plus another victory over U.S. Virgin Islands on Monday afternoon at TD Place Lansdowne in Ottawa seals first place in Group D for Canada and a favorable seeding against their next three home-and-home opponents, very likely to be Brazil, Chile and Venezuela, the same team that eliminated Canada from an automatic bid for the 2016 Olympics, one of the darkest days in Canadian basketball history.

This present group of Canadians will be poised to help erase that memory through 2018 and early 2019 en route to a spot at the 2019 World Cup in China.

U17 Men stage late exhibition comeback to defeat Australia


Canada 74, Australia 73 (in Argentina; FIBA U17 World Championship pre-tournament friendly)… 5’11” Shemar Rathan-Mayes finished an “and 1″ with about 16 seconds remaining to lift Canada to a dramatic exhibition game win over Australia in Argentina.  Both teams are preparing for the FIBA U17 World Championships which begin on Saturday.

Coming back from as much as 13 down and trailing for much of the game, Canada staged a late comeback to gain the one-point win against Australia, one of the favorites for a medal at this world championship.  Australia features 6’1” Tamuri Wigness a tough point guard who some have likened to a young Kyrie Irving given the young Aussie’s slick handle.

Canada used their entire bench, giving everyone time as coach Kirby Schepp and staff look to establish their rotation in advance of Saturday’s opening game against Montenegro, which was the silver medalist at last summer’s Eurozone qualifiers.

“It was our first game against a very good international team and we got solid play from a lot of different guys at different points”, commented coach Schepp, adding that “we did not shoot the ball very well but were able to have our way around the rim”.

6’7″ Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe was among the leading scorers (official stats were not kept) and scoring was relatively evenly distributed.

Canada will practice once today and then begin to focus on Saturday’s opening game at 2:15 ET in Rosario.  The game against Montenegro can be viewed on FIBA’s YouTube channel.

FIBA World Cup 2019 qualifying: A “Projected” Look Ahead


As we enter the final window of FIBA Americas first qualifying round this week, optimism is running high with Canada’s outstanding roster; so much so in this corner that we are taking the liberty of projecting out the next few months on the path to qualifying for World Cup 2019.

So, with a pair of home wins over the Canada Day Holiday weekend, including defeating Dominican Republic on Friday night in Toronto by 13 or more points, Canada will capture first place in Group D of the first FIBA Americas World Cup 2019 qualifying round.

While all the games are still to be played, we project using some assumptions which teams will win this weekend (and by how much) – to provide a first-look at Canada’s potential next six games and the likelihood of ultimately qualifying.

Second qualifying round consists of two six-team groups with the top 3 teams from each group automatically advancing to China and the FIBA World Cup 2019.  The top 3 teams in each of Group D and Group B will form Group F.  As of the current standings, Group F is likely to consist of:  Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Canada, Dominican Republic and U.S. Virgin Islands.  Note that all results from all games in the preliminary group will count in the Group F standings, even those against teams that did not qualify for the next round.

Canada will therefore is likely to have home-and-home games against Brazil, Venezuela and Chile, and, assuming our forecasts for results of this weekend’s games are correct, the new Group F standings would look like this:

B1 Brazil 6-0

D1 Canada 5-1

D2 Dominican Republic 5-1

B2 Venezuela 4-2

D3 U.S. Virgin Islands 2-4

B3 Chile 1-5

with Canada owning the tie-breaker with Dominican Republic (assuming a Canada win over DR by more than 13 points on Friday).

Canada’s “projected” schedule for the next round – which consists of home-and-home games against the three teams in the opposite group – is shown below (assuming that Home team is listed first on the FIBA Americas qualifier schedule).

NOTE that this projection has Canada opening up the next round with a HOME GAME against Venezuela, the team that knocked Canada out of the 2016 Olympic Games.

Since this game is scheduled to be played prior to NBA training camps which usually begin in late September, optimists can hope to have arguably the most talent-laden Canadian Sr. Men’s team in history during this first window (and with some measure of payback ready for Venny).

“PROJECTED” Canadian schedule for second round of qualifying

Thursday, September 13th, 2018:  B2 (Venezuela) at Canada

Sunday, September 16th, 2018:  Canada at B3 (Chile)

Friday, November 30th, 2018:  Canada at B1 (Brazil)  

Monday, December 3rd, 2018:  Canada at B2 (Venezuela)

Thursday, February 21st, 2019:  B3 (Chile) at Canada

Sunday, February 24th, 2019:  B1 (Brazil) at Canada.

Assuming Canada finishes in the Top 3 of Group F, a spot at FIBA World Cup 2019 is clinched.  Two wins over each of Venezuela and Chile and a split with Brazil should get the job done for Canada.

Anxious to watch how things work out this coming weekend as Canada continues to move up the FIBA rankings toward a spot in the World Cup 2019.

Dominican Republic, without NBA stars, look to remain undefeated in Group D play vs. Canada


With a victory by 13 or more points on Friday night followed by a victory in Ottawa, Canada can claim first place in Group D of the first preliminary round in the FIBA Americas World Cup 2019 qualifier.  Standing in Canada’s way is the Dominican Republic, which soundly defeated Canada 88-76 last November in Santiago.

The Dominicans have spent the past week or so preparing for this Friday’s game at the University of Houston and have played a pair of controlled scrimmages against Team USA, who are preparing for their pair of games, led by Head Coach Jeff Van Gundy.  Van Gundy provides his comments on the Dominican side in this audio clip.

Based on the players in camp in Houston, Dominican’s pair of NBA stars in 6’9″ Al Horford and 7’0″ Karl-Anthony Towns will not play on Friday, nor will marginal NBA talent 6’7″ Luis Montero.  Also, 6’10” Angel Delgado, who just graduated from Seton Hall but was not taken in last week’s NBA draft is also not available after recently signing a two-way free agent deal with the Los Angeles Clippers.

But DR does have a formidable, veteran side that has been together for several years and gave Canada problems in November with their perimeter shooting and tenacity inside.  6’3″ Rigoberto Mendoza, a 25 year old shooting guard led the way with 25 points in that game knocking down 4-6 threes while 6’4″ wing Sadiel Rojas, added 10 points and 7 rebounds.  Veteran 6’0″ 32 year old guard Victor Liz added 14 points while 6’8″ 30 year old DR league veteran Edward Santana had 16 as DR spread it around in a comfortable win.

Others apparently on the DR squad introduced on @RDBSeleccion include 6’0″ Bronx, NY native and Pitt grad Ronald Ramon (28 minutes vs. Canada), 6’3″ David Diaz (Spanish league veteran), 6’3″ Luis Guzman (another Bronx native), 6’11” former Kentucky Wildcat Eloy Vargas, 6’6″ Dago Pena, 6’1″ NYC native Gelvis Solano, 6’11” Jonathan Araujo and J.J. Garcia.

The Canada vs. DR game on Friday night in Toronto at the Ricoh Center will be preceded by Canada’s reserve or B team playing China as part of a doubleheader.  We hope to have more on the final 12 man Canadian roster later in the week.

Go Canada !

U17 Men prep for this Saturday’s FIBA World Cup opener


Much has been made of the dominant efforts of Canada’s Senior Team in a two-game sweep of China in Vancouver and Victoria over the weekend and our guys head east to prep for Friday’s important FIBA 2019 World Cup qualifier at home in Toronto against Dominican Republic.

Somewhat more quietly, Coach Kirby Schepp and our U17 men are rounding into form in advance of the start of the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2018 in Rosario and Santa Fe, Argentina which, for Canada, begins this Saturday against Montenegro, silver medalists at last summer’s Eurozone U16 championships.

After a brief camp in Toronto earlier in June, the core of Schepp’s group proceeded to Mexico for more training, centered around a “Basketball without Borders” event run by NBA coaches and former players.  The event was run similar to an NBA team camp and Canada captured the championship with 6’6″ Addison Patterson being named camp MVP.

The team has since moved on to Argentina where a two-a-day practice schedule has been maintained and training included a scrimmage this past Saturday against the Philippines in which Canada looked solid.  Philippines is in Group D of the tournament with Croatia, France and host Argentina, arguably the toughest of the four groups.

Canada will have one more pre-tournament scrimmage – against Australia, regarded as one of the medal favorites, which takes place tomorrow (Tuesday).  The Aussies will play their preliminary round games as part of Group A with Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Turkey.

With Montenegro, Egypt and a very physical New Zealand side on Canada’s preliminary schedule, Canada has been placed in a reasonably balanced group.  Schepp describes Canada’s path to the medal round as a “fairly tough one”.  Should Canada manage to capture first place in the group, the seedings would likely have the Canadians meet either Australia or Turkey in a quarter-final game and then a possibly semi-final match-up with the USA.

USA Head Coach Don Showalter began his camp with the tournament Gold medal favorites on June 15th in Colorado Springs, CO and the long-time mentor returns nine members of the gold medal team that capture FIBA Americas U16 championship last summer including team MVP 6’10” 260 pound Vernon Carey Jr. , ranked #2 in the Class of 2019 by ESPN.  Unfortunately for the Americans, the #1 ranked player in the Class of 2019, 6’11” James Wiseman will miss the tournament due to injury.

Others in the Class of 2019 include 6’4″ Wendell Moore Jr., 5’11” De’Vion Harmon (signed with Oklahoma), 6’5″ Isaac Okoro, 6’9″ Isaiah Stewart and 6’6″ Romeo Weems (signed with DePaul).

Showalter and staff have included six players from the Class of 2020 including #1 ranked 7’0″ Evan Mobley, a main target of USC – Trojans Head Coach Andy Enfield has gone so far as to hire Mobley’s father Eric as an Assistant and Evan’s older brother 6’7″ Isaiah Mobley, who ESPN ranks as the #16 player in the Class of 2019, recently signed with the Trojans for this coming season.

Indeed Showalter has included the top four ranked players in the Class of 2020 on the USA roster: 6’5″ Jalen Green (#2 ranked), 6’4″ R.J. Hampton (#3 ranked) and 6’6″ Scottie Barnes (#4 and a teammate of Carey).  6’2″ PG Jeremy Roach and 6’3″ PG Jalen Suggs round out what is likely to be a formidable USA roster.

Canada is expected to be led by 6’6″ Addison Patterson, 6’3″ Cashius McNeilly, 6’8″ Josh Hemmings and 6’11” Charles Bediako among others.

Canada’s first game is this coming Saturday at 2:15 PM Eastern time against Montenegro.