Canadian men’s basketball is back on track for 2024 Olympic qualifying.
Canada Basketball announced Friday it is sending a team to the final qualifying tournament for the 2022 FIBA AmeriCup, set to begin next week in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The team previously skipped its November qualifier, citing health and safety concerns amid the pandemic. In January, FIBA fined Canada Basketball up to $227,138 and threatened to dock one standing point for its failure to attend.
With Canada committed to play in Puerto Rico, that fine will be cut in half and the standing point restored. The program has also previously stated its intent to appeal the punishment.
Glen Grunwald, CEO and president of Canada Basketball, said in January he was looking for increased health protocols such as more testing and longer quarantine periods in order to feel comfortable playing in Puerto Rico.
Teams will play in a “bubble” and will be tested daily for COVID-19, while FIBA and Canada Basketball have put in place a series of additional protective measures.
Ranked 21st by FIBA, Canada is scheduled to play four times, twice each against the 51st-ranked U.S. Virgin Islands and No. 63 Cuba. Canada already split its pair of games against the Dominican Republic (No. 19), the final country in its qualifying group, in February 2020.
Gordie Herbert, an assistant on Nick Nurse’s national team staff, will serve as head coach. Assisting Herbert are former national team player Michael Meeks and Patrick Tatham.
The updated roster is headlined by Anthony Bennett, the first overall pick from the 2013 NBA draft. The 27-year-old played 151 games in the NBA over four seasons with four different teams.
Returning from last February’s roster are leading scorers and starting guards Phil Scrubb (20 points per game) and Kaza Kajami-Keane (13.5 ppg), a former Raptors 905er. Two other starters, guard Aaron Best and centre Owen Klassen, are also on the preliminary roster.
Absent from the 2020 team on the newest roster are NBA veteran Andrew Nicholson and usual national-team mainstay Duane Notice, who is rehabbing after suffering a torn Achilles.
WATCH | CBC Sports’ Vivek Jacob, Jevon Shepherd break down FIBA punishment:
2024 Olympics on the line
Canada must qualify for the 2022 AmeriCup in order to remain on track for 2024 Olympic qualifying. The top three teams in each AmeriCup qualifying group will advance to the main tournament.
The defending-champion U.S. team already announced its roster for the February qualifier, including former NBA all-stars Isaiah Thomas and Joe Johnson.
The qualifier has no bearing on the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Canada must win a separate tournament beginning June 29 in Victoria to reach the 2021 Summer Games.
- Anthony Bennett – Forward – 6’8″ – Toronto, ON – N/A
- Aaron Best – Guard – 6’4″ – Scarborough, ON – Boulazac (France)
- Johnny Berhanemeskel – Guard – 6’2″ – Ottawa, ON – Nanterre (France)
- Junior Cadougan – Guard – 6’1″ – Toronto, ON – Fraser Valley Bandits (CEBL)
- Jadon Cohee -Guard – 6’4″ – Langley, BC – Mgzavrebi (Georgia)
- Kadre Gray – Guard – 6’1″ – Toronto, ON – Hamilton Honey Badgers (CEBL)
- Jermaine Haley – Guard – 6’7″ – Vancouver, BC – University of West Virginia (NCAA)
- Kaza Kajami-Keane – Guard – 6’2″ – Ajax, ON – Le Mans (France)
- Owen Klassen – Centre – 6’10” – Kingston, ON – Boulazac (France)
- Kyle Landry – Centre – 6’10” – Calgary, AB – Ottawa BlackJacks (CEBL)
- MiKyle McIntosh – Forward – 6’7″ – Pickering, ON – Le Portel (France)
- Conor Morgan – Forward – 6’9″ – Victoria, BC – Joventut (Spain)
- Adika Peter-McNeilly – Guard – 6’3″ – Toronto, ON – Edmonton Stingers (CEBL)
- Phil Scrubb – Guard – 6’3″ – Richmond, BC – Limoges (France)
- Thomas Scrubb – Forward – 6’7″ – Richmond, BC – Bourg (France)
- Grant Shephard – Forward – 6’10” – Kelowna, BC – Carleton University (U SPORTS)