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Canada announces roster for FIBA Basketball World Cup Americas Qualifiers
MIAMI (United States)- Heading into the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Americas Qualifiers, Group C's Canada is currently ranked 18th in the FIBA World Ranking.
The core group of Kyle Wiltjer, Thomas Scrubb, Phil Scrubb and Anthony Bennett played a majority of the qualifiers over the two-year window to help Canada secure a spot in the 2019 World Cup in China and return for Canada’s 2023 squad to accomplish the same.
Additions for this year’s roster on top of the returning veterans include Junior Cadougan, Kadre Gray, Kyle Alexander, Owen Klassen, Aaron Best, Kenny Chery, Jermaine Haley, AJ Lawson, Jean-Victor Mukama, Kassius Robertson and Kalif Young.
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Losing only one game in the group stage of the Americas pre-qualifiers, Canada dominated in Group F against Virgin Islands, Bahamas and Dominican Republic, the same teams they will be playing in the 2023 Americas Qualifiers.
As for their performance at the 2019 World Cup, Canada finished 21st out of 32 teams, losing their final game to Germany in a close 82-76 loss where Birch put up a respectable performance of 15 points and 9 rebounds for Canada.
Canada failed to reach the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, getting eliminated by Argentina during the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship, later renamed the AmeriCup, falling out of the top four teams to make it to the World Cup that year.
Appearing in the competition 14 times, the highest Canada has ever finished at the World Cup is 6th, finishing in the position in back-to-back World Cups in 1978 and 1982.
Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse was hired to coach Team Canada during the 2019 World Cup and coached Canada during the 2021 Olympic Qualifying Tournament, where Canada beat both Greece and China in the group stage, but a last second jumper in overtime from Czech Republic’s Tomas Satoransky ended Canada’s Olympic journey.
Nate Bjorkgren and Nathaniel Mitchell are the current associate head coaches for the team.
At the Americas level, Canada has had success going 3-1 during the 2022 AmeriCup Qualifiers, with Bennett being one of the top performers for his country averaging 18 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Bennett only appeared in two games during the window.
Best averaged 15.5 points per game during the AmeriCup qualifiers, shooting over 50 percent from all areas of the floor. Klassen was one of the top players on the team on the boards averaging 6.5 rebounds per game with the majority coming odd the defensive glass.
Facing both Dominican Republic and Virgin Islands in Group C of that qualifying tournament, Canada already has experience against the most recent rosters from each team heading into the World Cup Qualifiers.
Canada finished 8th at the 2017 edition of the AmeriCup but took home a bronze medal during the 2015 edition, one of four bronze medals and two silver medals they have captured in the top tournament of talent in the Americas.
Canada kicks off their World Cup qualifying campaign on Sunday Nov. 28 against Bahamas at Palacio de los Deportes in Santo Domingo.
Teams from the Americas will qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 through six tournament windows over 15 months. The Qualifiers run from November 2021 to February 2023, with national sides playing home and away games in each of these event windows.
Seven countries from the Americas will earn a spot to compete at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.