SGA, Jamal Murray, RJ Barrett highlight Canadian Olympic team | Zagsblog
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Friday / July 12.
  • SGA, Jamal Murray, RJ Barrett highlight Canadian Olympic team

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    Canada Basketball announced the roster of Team Canada men’s basketball athletes for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The athletes are:

    Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Toronto, Ont.)

    RJ Barrett (Mississauga, Ont.)

    Khem Birch (Montreal, Que.)

    Dillon Brooks (Mississauga, Ont.)

    Luguentz Dort (Montreal, Que.)

    Melvin Ejim (Toronto, Ont.)

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Hamilton, Ont.)

    Trey Lyles (Saskatoon, Sask.)

    Jamal Murray (Kitchener, Ont.)

    Andrew Nembhard (Aurora, Ont.)

    Kelly Olynyk (Kamloops, B.C.)

    Dwight Powell (Toronto, Ont.)

    Canada Basketball’s Senior Men’s National Team successfully qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games as one of the top two teams from the Americas region at the FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup 2023. The team secured the berth with an 88-85 victory over Spain in the second round to advance to the quarterfinals.

    They went on to capture a historic bronze medal – the first medal at a men’s basketball World Cup in Canadian history – with a 127-118 win over the United States. In the bronze medal game, Dillon Brooks’ 39 points set a FIBA World Cup record for most points scored in a medal-winning game and a Senior Men’s National Team scoring record for most points in a single game.

    Canada went 6-2 in the World Cup, including key victories over several top-five ranked federations. Eight players from Canada’s bronze medal-winning team will represent Canada this summer in Paris.

    Canada’s roster features 11 players with NBA experience, including team captain Kelly Olynyk. Olynyk, who currently plays for the Toronto Raptors, has played 756 games across 11 seasons in the league. Internationally, Olynyk has been a member of Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team since 2010, when he made his debut at the 2010 FIBA World Championship at just 19-years-old.

    “Leading our Senior Men’s National Team into the Paris 2024 Olympic Games is an incredible honour,” said Olynyk. “Since I began playing basketball, my dream has always been to represent Canada at the Olympics. Last year’s third-place finish at the FIBA World Cup was an important step, proving that we belong among the world’s best teams. However, it also showed us that we still have work to do as we pursue our ultimate goal of winning gold in Paris.”

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a two-time NBA All-Star and All-NBA First Team selection this season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, returns to represent Canada this summer. He was named to the All-Star Five after averaging 24.5 points per game at last summer’s FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup. When Gilgeous-Alexander steps onto the court in Lille, he’ll become the second Olympian in his family after his mother, Charmaine Gilgeous, represented Antigua and Barbuda in the women’s 400 metres at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.

    “SGA” isn’t the only Canadian with Olympic familial ties. Guard and Toronto Raptor RJ Barrett is the son of Rowan Barrett, who was captain of Canada’s men’s team at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Rowan is a Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and currently is General Manager / Executive Vice President, Senior Men’s Program. Senior Men’s National Team veteran Melvin Ejim will join his sister, Yvonne Ejim, in Paris as she was selected for Team Canada’s Paris 2024 women’s basketball team last week.

    “Representing your country at an Olympic Games is one of the greatest honours in sport and something each of these players will never forget the first time they step onto the court,” said Rowan Barrett. “As we build on our success last summer, maintaining the continuity and cohesion we established with that team was vital to assembling this Olympic roster.  While everyone on this team has an individual role to play, our collective strengths and connectivity will drive our success this summer.”

    This summer will also mark the national team return of Denver Nuggets guard and 2023 NBA Champion Jamal Murray. After having committed to Canada Basketball’s summer core with the intention of qualifying for Paris 2024, Murray is thrilled to have the opportunity to wear the Canada jersey once again. At 19-years-old, Murray played on home soil at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, where he tallied 22 points in the fourth quarter and overtime as Team Canada defeated Team USA to advance to the gold medal final.

    Team Canada’s men’s head coach, Jordi Fernández, returns after leading the team last summer to their highest finish in 88 years in an international FIBA competition. Fernández was the lead assistant for the Nigerian men’s national team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. In April, Fernández was hired as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets after spending the previous two years as associate head coach of the Sacramento Kings.

    “When we opened camp in Toronto last week, I challenged each of the players to improve one percent each day, and every day since I’ve witnessed the work and dedication they have put in,” said Fernández. “With 17 days to go until our first game of the tournament, that’s an opportunity to get 17% better. From the players to the coaches to the staff, the incredible opportunity ahead of us to do something truly historic for Canada this summer is not lost on anyone.”

    The Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be the first time since Sydney 2000 that Canada’s women’s and men’s basketball teams will compete together at an Olympic Games.

    Canada’s lone Olympic medal in basketball came at Berlin 1936, when it was a much different game. Facing the United States in the final, heavy rain had turned the clay and sand tennis court on which the game was being played into mud, making it difficult to dribble. That contributed to a low score, with the Americans winning 19-8 to give Canada silver. The Canadian inventor of the game, James Naismith, presented the medals. Canada would go on to compete in the next three men’s Olympic basketball tournaments (1948, 1952, 1956). That was followed by appearances in 1964, 1976, 1984, 1988, and 2000.

    Basketball will take place July 27 to August 11 (Day 1 to 16). Canada was drawn into Group A and will face Greece on July 27 (Day 1) at 3:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 p.m. local time. On July 30 (Day 4), Canada will face Australia at 7:30 a.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. local time, before wrapping up the group phase against Spain on August 2 (Day 7) at 11:15 a.m. ET / 5:15 p.m. local time. All group phase games will be played at the Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Lille. The men’s quarterfinals begin on August 6 (Day 11) and the tournament will move to the Bercy Arena in Paris for the elimination stage.

    “I am thrilled to cheer on Team Canada’s men’s basketball team as they make their return to the Olympic Games and who are sure to be a team to watch in Paris,” said Bruny Surin, Team Canada’s Paris 2024 Chef de Mission. “These athletes will surely ignite the court at every fast break, every shot, and every dunk on their way to Olympic glory.”

    Team Canada’s men’s basketball team for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games also includes the following coaches and support staff:

    Coaches
    Jordi Fernández (Badalona, Spain) – Head Coach

    Nate Bjorkgren (Gilbert, Arizona) – Assistant Coach

    Nathaniel Mitchell (Toronto, Ont.) – Assistant Coach

    Boniface N’Dong (Mbour, Senegal) – Assistant Coach

    (Release via Canada Basketball)

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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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