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Nurse cites importance of '12 committed players' when penning new deal to coach Canada
TORONTO (Canada) - Canada Basketball have announced that Nick Nurse will remain at the helm of the men's senior national team through the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Nurse, who was promoted to head coach of the NBA's Toronto Raptors in the summer of 2018, first oversaw Canada's campaign at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China where they finished 21st. Nurse also led from the bench during this summer’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Victoria, Canada, where the team lost in the Semi-Finals to the Czech Republic.
Just one player from the World Cup squad, Cory Joseph, was in the team that played at the OQT. This was a distinct contrast to the Czech Republic, which not only had Neno Ginzburg - their coach of several years - but also numerous players that had competed at recent FIBA EuroBasket events, the European Qualifiers for China, and the World Cup in 2019.
Nurse addressed the issue of player commitment in his open letter to supporters of Canada Basketball.
"As the head coach of the 🇨🇦 Senior Men’s National Team, our goal is to get this team on the podium, by leveraging this golden era of ball in Canada."— Canada Basketball (@CanBball) August 16, 2021
Nick Nurse shares his thoughts on what it'll take over the next three years to get to @Paris2024.
📝: https://t.co/YEmxwVOPtm pic.twitter.com/H40XgP9mDr
"One of the biggest lessons that came out of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Victoria this past June is just how important the process of selecting the group of 12 committed players is," Nurse wrote. "We believe that to get where we are going we need to lay out a three-year commitment - from today to Paris 2024 - and players need to decide that yes, they are in."
Added Nurse: "Chemistry, camaraderie and continuity can - and often will - trump talent. Keeping a core group of players together is crucial. Accomplishing this is the key to getting where we want this program to be and to me, it is also a sign of immense respect for all of those countries and players that do it year after year. This is why we're doing it."
Joseph was the only player from Canada's World Cup team that competed in Victoria
Canada's FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Americas Qualifiers campaign gets underway in November.
Nurse also noted in his letter how the time is now for Canadian basketball.
"Getting to be part of such a golden era on many fronts for the game in this country is an incredible honor," Nurse said. "It’s humbling. I am both very honoured and humbled by it. While I have this opportunity, I want to give it my best shot."