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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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Saturday / May 28.
  • Canada Wins Tuto Marchand Cup, FIBA Americas Up Next

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

    If nothing else this week, the Canadian National Team proved at the Tuto Marchand Cup that it will be a major threat beginning next week at the FIBA Americas Championships.

    Canada finished off a perfect 4-0 week, outlasting hosting Puerto Rico, 78-72, on Wednesday evening to win its first Tuto Marchand Cup. The 5-team exhibition event also included Argentina, Brazil and the Dominican Republic. All five teams will be in action beginning Aug. 31 at FIBA Americas. The top two teams from that 10-team event are through to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

    “I thought it was a hard-fought game – very, very scrappy,” Canada head coach Jay Triano said in a Canada Basketball release. “I thought Puerto Rico played extremely well, won a lot of the battles, the 50-50 balls and caused problems for us with their size and speed. In the end, it was a good win for us, we were able to move the basketball well, we played unselfishly and we really defended when we needed to.”

    Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins finished a strong week Wednesday with 20 points, five rebounds, three assists and the ferocious dunk seen below.

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    With Canada looking the part of favorite now, attention now turns to Mexico City and FIBA Americas, which Canada has been building towards for the last 18 months. Led by Wiggins, Canada’s growing stable of NBA talent is all-in for an Olympic run. The country more known for ice hockey has not qualified for the Olympics since the 2000 Sydney Games when Steve Nash led it to a seventh-place finish.

    Canada is without Kentucky freshman point guard Jamal Murray (schedule conflict), free agent big man Tristan Thompson (contract holdup) and Mikwaukee Bucks second-year point guard Tyler Ennis (injury). That didn’t seem to matter much at Tuto Marchand as Canada showed it could win games going away (Brazil by 16, Dominican Republic by 12) and by grinding it out (Argentina by 5, Puerto Rico by 6).

    As a point of reference, Brazil beat Canada, 86-71, on July 25 to win the Pan American Games gold medal, but Canada did not have all of its NBA players involved, specifically Wiggins, Nik Stauskas and Cory Joseph, all of whom had NBA commitments at the time.

    Canada, which will make one more cut to get its roster down to 12, opens FIBA Americas on Tuesday against Argentina.

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