How Will Canada’s Senior Men’s Team Keep Fans Engaged This Summer?
By: Brittany Tougher
After a disappointing sixth place finish in last year’s FIBA Americas tournament, the Senior Men’s National team did not qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Cup. This year, instead, they are looking to engage fans in their race to the 2016 Rio Olympics with the following schedule:
July 20-22 – Practice sessions in Toronto
July 24-August 12 – European exhibition series
On the European tour, Canada will be playing against teams that are all of higher world ranking: Spain (ranked No. 2), Turkey (ranked No. 7), Serbia (ranked No. 11), Slovenia (ranked No. 13) and Angola (ranked No. 15). This will give these young players the international experience they need as they prepare to qualify for the Olympics.
One thing people must remember is that this team is full of 22-23 year old players. They are young; some don’t even have NBA playoff experience under their belt. And although we do have our veterans, experience is key in moving forward.
The roster is going to be announced in mid-July and depending on who is confirmed, it may be a difficult task to get people motivated without a big tournament planned for summer. Last year, we saw Andrew Wiggins withdraw from the FIBA Americas tournament due to an early departure to Kansas for the start of his NCAA career. We saw players like Anthony Bennett and Kelly Olynyk unable to compete due to injury, which was hard on the team.
If all goes well and players are injury free and able to perform, I think people will be happy watching Wiggins, Thompson, Olynyk and the rest of the squad compete in high level games.
This summer will be one of growth and development for this team and as a nation we should be proud to stand behind it. The future is looking bright for Canadian basketball!
Follow Brittany on Twitter at @BrittanyTougher