'Not Looking Good' For Jamal Murray to Play with Canada During Olympic Qualifying | Zagsblog
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Friday / July 19.
  • ‘Not Looking Good’ For Jamal Murray to Play with Canada During Olympic Qualifying

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    It’s “not looking good” for incoming Kentucky point guard Jamal Murray to play with Canada during Olympic qualifying Aug. 31-Sept. 12 in Mexico, a source close to Team Canada told SNY.tv.

    The stumbling block is “Kentucky’s admission and attendance policies,” not the NCAA, the source said.

    The situation should be officially resolved later this week.

    Kentucky coach John Calipari attended the Yankees’ 8-4 win over the Minnesota Twins Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium but was not asked about the issue.

    Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson is already out for Team Canada “due to a contract impasse with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.” Canada expects to have Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, among others.

    As previously reported, Calipari has a “drop-dead” date the 6-foot-5 point guard would have to arrive on campus to begin the fall term and be eligible to compete for the full season.

    “We think he’s at this level and he’s going to be a part of this program for the future, so we’re trying to get him involved right now,” Canadian National Team head coach Jay Triano told SNY.tv last month on the 4 Quarters Podcast. “The biggest hurdle we’re going to have is the University of Kentucky because we want to make sure he does everything right by the school.

    “Obviously, we want him to be a part of our team and that’s something we’re going to have to work out over the next couple of weeks.”

    Murray’s ascension to the point where people are trying to get him onto the Senior National Team for its biggest competition in recent memory has been drastic. Triano, a Trail Blazers assistant, was in Portland on April 11 when Murray scored 30 points to lead the World Team past the United States at the Nike Hoop Summit. At that point, Triano thought Murray was ready for the National Team, so a plan was set in motion.

    Canada Basketball officials held Murray back from the Under-19 World Championships with an eye toward having him playing at Pan Am. He was unexpectedly brilliant, averaging 16.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists in five games, highlighted by scoring all of his 22 in the fourth quarter and overtime in a semifinal win over the United States. Canada finished with the silver medal after having never medaled at the event.

    “We anticipated he would get minutes and he would play, but we didn’t know to what level,” said Triano of Murray, who came off the bench for Canada in all five games, but was always on the floor in crunch time. “Early in our first couple scrimmages, we saw the kid had a good quickness to him. He could get to the rim, he knew how to make plays, knew how to score the ball and the more time we spent with him, we just felt he could be a major contributor to this team. He started earning more and more minutes as the tournament went on.”

    Canada is attempting to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since the 2000 Sydney Games when Steve Nash led it to a seventh-place finish. The top two teams at FIBA Americas are through to Rio. The third, fourth and fifth-place teams will be put in the 12-team FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which will be contested next summer. The top three finishers out of there punch tickets to Rio.


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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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