In a somewhat shocking turn of events, Nick Nurse resigned from his role as head coach of Canada Basketball Senior Men’s team this week. Citing his desire to focus on coaching the Philadelphia 76ers, Nurse had previously committed to coaching the team through the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The split seemed amicable from both sides, and in Nurse’s statement, he expressed his contribution in helping the program find their next head coach, Jordi Fernandez. You may recognize Fernandez as he was up for the Raptors head coaching gig, but the team eventually chose Darko Rajakovic.
Fernandez currently serves as the Associate Head Coach of the Sacramento Kings. The Kings had a fantastic season in the NBA, making it to the NBA Playoffs this season for the first time since 2006.
We’re excited to announce that Jordi Fernández has been named Head Coach of our Senior Men’s National Team for the upcoming FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup 2023— Canada Basketball (@CanBball) June 28, 2023
This coaching change seems to come at a somewhat inconvenient time, as the Canada Basketball Men’s team is set to compete at the FIBA Men’s World Cup later this summer. Last year, it was announced that the team has a list of NBA and professional calibre players commit to playing for the team through the 2024 Olympics along with Nurse, the World Cup included in that commitment.
Now, reports are coming out that the coaching change has swayed some of those players from wanting to join the team. The lack of consistency comes at a time where the program is experiencing exponential growth and needs to capitalize on it. Yet, there are ALSO reports of the player commitments staying the same, so who is to tell until an official roster comes out.
The Men’s Senior National team just missed out on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and are hoping to make a splash at the World Cup this year. With Canadian players such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jamal Murray, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and others improving exponentially over the past few years, the team is expected to perform well this summer.
Nurse committed to supporting the program through the transition, and surely there will be efforts for the players to get to know their new coach and develop team chemistry before they head out to compete.
Just speaking with @CanBball sources to confirm Nick Nurse stepping down as HC for men’s sr. team. The time commitment after taking over Sixers HC job too much. Nurse reached out to team members and helped @CanBball identify Jordi Fernandez, Kings assistant as replacement. 1/— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) June 27, 2023
Fernandez has an impressive resume of coaching experience and has been in talks for several NBA head coaching positions over the past few years. Importantly, he has experience coaching at the international level, which helps as FIBA basketball rules slightly differ from NBA basketball rules.
Currently, the Canadian Men’ Senior National team is ranked 15th in the world. The Women’s Senior team, who also went through a coaching change last year, is currently ranked 5th in the world. Both squads have high hopes heading into the Paris 2024 Olympics in just over a year.
Overall, it seems like a great choice in coach for the program, even if the timing is not ideal. Jordi Fernandez seems to have what it takes to lead the Canada Basketball program to new heights.