A noteworthy and delightful bit of news came out yesterday from the NBA's Hangtime Blog and writer John Schuhmann. Turns out the success of Team USA at the recent FIBA World Cup means potentially good things for Team Canada.
As Schuhmann explains:
Since both the U.S. (World Cup winner) and Brazil (host nation) have already qualified for the 2016 Olympics, two other teams will earn bids at next year's FIBA Americas tournament in Mexico. Contenders will likely be Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Canada.
A solid turn of events for Canada as they prepare to field a potential international team loaded with young NBA players including (deep breath): Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Tristan Thompson, Kelly Olynyk, Nik Stauskas, Andrew Nicholson, and Tyler Ennis.
We've come a long way from Steve Nash and the lumbering remains of Todd MacCulloch.
As Schuhmanm goes on to say:
If Canada Basketball general manager Steve Nash gets buy-in from his young core, he should have the second best program in the Americas for the next several years.
Anyway, let's not get ahead of ourselves. There are still a lot of qualifying basketball games to play and no guarantee on how the team will actually look in the future. It is hard though, not to feel positive about the future of Canadian basketball. With so many young players emerging on the college and NBA level, the profile of Canadian basketball has never been higher around the world.
It should also be mentioned that basketball success in Canada can ultimately translate into basketball success for the Toronto Raptors. More interest in the sport means more discussion, more attention and more demands for a better run franchise. It also means more NBA players repping a city and country long thought of as a forgotten hinterland for basketball talent.
And it means more kids inspired to pick up a basketball to dream of one day playing for their home and native land.