The stage has been set for the FIBA Basketball World Cup as the final teams have qualified, and the Canadian Senior Men’s National Team’s journey to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics continues.
Angola, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, and South Sudan join the pool from Africa.
Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, USA, and Venezuela make up the Americas qualifiers.
The Asia teams are Australia, China, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
France, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, and Spain make up the European teams.
The top teams from the Americas qualify for the Olympics, and the World Cup marks Canada’s best chance at returning to the Olympics since 2000. Canada will have to contend with a strong showing from the USA, who will be significantly improving their roster for the tournament. However, with Argentina missing out on qualification for the first time in 40 years, the second spot in the Americas is wide open.
In May 2022, Canada announced their 14-player core for the World Cup and its qualifiers, including names such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jamal Murray, and RJ Barrett, as well as long-time stalwarts of the program like Kelly Olynk, Cory Joseph, and Melvin Ejim. Canada topped Group E in qualifying with 11 wins and one lone loss with dominant showings from Gilgeous-Alexander and confirmed their spot at the World Cup with a 94-56 win over Venezuela on Nov. 10.
While head coach Nick Nurse’s vision has been successful thus far, the World Cup will be the biggest test yet. Players like Murray, Barrett, Dillon Brooks, and Luguentz Dort have practiced with the team during training camps but have yet to find their way onto the floor due to NBA commitments.
Even without most of the core players available, Canada was buoyed by consistent performances from veterans Ejim, Olynyk and found time to develop Canadian Elite Basketball League players such as Aaron Best, Trae Bell-Haynes, and Purdue center Zach Edey, who could all find time in the final rotation on the World Cup squad.
The next step for the Canadian squad will be finding out what group they will be sorted into. The draw will happen on Apr. 29 at the Araneta Coliseum in Manila. The World Cup will begin on Aug. 25 and be spread across Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines as host countries.