FIBA Americas: Men’s basketball team begins quest for Rio 2016 qualification
The men’s national basketball team, flush with NBA players, can win one of two Olympic berths available from the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City.
Both finalists qualify for Rio 2016, and if Brazil are top-two the winner of the third-place game is also through based on Brazil being granted host qualification. The tournament runs August 31 to September 12.
The Canadian women’s team earned their Olympic spot earlier in August by winning FIBA Americas, while the men haven’t been to a Games since Steve Nash and his teammates finished seventh at Sydney 2000. This year’s team is coming off a 4-0 record at the Tuto Marchand Continental Cup, in preparation for this week.
Team Canada’s roster:
Anthony Bennett, Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA)
Aaron Doornekamp, Braunschweig (Germany)
Melvin Ejim, Orlando Magic (NBA)
Brady Heslip, Pallacanestro Cantù (Italy)
Cory Joseph, Toronto Raptors (NBA)
Andrew Nicholson, Orlando Magic (NBA)
Kelly Olynyk, Boston Celtics (NBA)
Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks (NBA)
Robert Sacre, Los Angeles Lakers (NBA)
Phil Scrubb, AEK Athens (Greece)
Nik Stauskas, Philadelphia 76ers (NBA)
Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA)
Head coach Jay Triano – Toronto, ON
Assistant coaches: Bryan Gates – New Orleans, LA, Dave Smart – Ottawa, ON, David Vanterpool – Washington, DC
Canada’s first phase schedule:
Tuesday, September 1 vs. Argentina at 3:30 pm ET on TSN4/5
Wednesday, September 2 vs. Cuba at 3:30 pm ET on TSN4/5
Thursday, September 3 vs. Venezuela at 7:00 pm ET on TSN4
Friday, September 4 vs. Puerto Rico at 7:00 pm ET on TSN4/5
How the tournament works:
The 10-team tournament is divided into two groups of five nations.
Canada is in Group B with Argentina, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. Group A includes Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, and Uruguay.
First phase: A four-game round-robin where the top-four teams in each group advance to the second phase
Note: points carry over from the first phase, except those earned against the fifth-place (eliminated) team
Second phase: Four more games, one against each team in the other group, the four teams with the most-points advance to the semifinals
Semifinals: Friday, September 11, 2015
Final: Saturday, September 12, 2015
Canada’s best finish was second to the United States in 1999. The US is absent this year because they are already qualified as 2014 world champions.