Tony McIntyre calls Wiggins Playing for Canada 'Huge,' Says Medaling in 2020 is Realistic | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / July 6.
  • Tony McIntyre calls Wiggins Playing for Canada ‘Huge,’ Says Medaling in 2020 is Realistic

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    andrew-wiggins1.jpg?w=600&h=425By JOSH NEWMAN

    There is no doubt that Andrew Wiggins intending to play for the Canadian national team this summer is a big deal, and a key figurehead in the world of Canadian basketball agrees.

    “I think it’s huge,” CIA Bounce co-founder and owner of Tony McIntyre told SNY.tv on the 4 Quarters Podcast on Monday afternoon. “Obviously, all these guys grew up playing for Canada basketball, grew up wanting to represent their country and for Andrew to solidify the fact that he is going to do it this summer, especially with Pan Am Games being in Toronto, I think it’s huge for the Pan Am Games, huge for basketball in Canada and I think it’s a huge boost for Team Canada itself.”

    This is an important summer for Canada, which will take part in the FIBA Americas from Aug. 25-Sept. 6 in Mexico. That event will act as qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The top two from the 10-team field will advance to 2016 and it is worth noting that Canada has not qualified for an Olympics since Steve Nash led it to a seventh-place finish in Sydney in 2000.

    As McIntyre alluded to, in an effort to build continuity before heading to Mexico, Wiggins may play in the Pan American Games, which are being held in Toronto from July 10-26. There has been no official word that Wiggins will play at Pan Am, which generally does not include NBA players.

    For example, at the last Pan-Am Games in 2011, the United States sent a team consisting of college players like Lance Thomas, Curtis Sumpter and Donald Sloan. 

    If Wiggins does opt in for Pan Am, he could be joined by a slew of budding NBA talent including Anthony BennettTristan Thompson, Kelly Olynyk, Andrew Nicholson, Robert Sacre, Cory Joseph, Tyler Ennis and Nik Stauskas

    Bennett, a former No. 1 overall pick, previously told reporters he would suit up at Pan Am, while Thompson, a 6-foot-11 fourth-year forward from the Cleveland Cavaliers, would be a huge coup for the national team.

    Given his Cavaliers are among the favorites in the Eastern Conference, Thompson’s season could run into June and end up being over 100 games. Additionally, Thompson will be a restricted free agent this summer after reportedly turning down a four-year, $52 million extension last summer.

    “I think 2016 is a year where everyone is starting to get involved and there’s huge NBA talent present on Team Canada,” McIntyre said. “I think moving forward, 2020 is a the year that Canada definitely has a chance to medal. I think that we’ll be in a position in Canada basketball that they’re actually cutting NBA guys and you have guys wanting to be on the team that aren’t able to play on the team, where as in the past, it’s been a couple NBA guys with guys that have great careers in Europe.”

    Beyond the 2016 Olympics, the next major international competition to likely draw NBA talent is the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, whose location has not yet been announced. Canada has not qualified for a World Cup (formerly FIBA World Championships) since 2010 when it finished 22nd.

    “Being able to add those NBA guys in the mix, guys that are competing day in, day out at an NBA level will take this program to a whole new level,” McIntyre said.

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