Title: USports’ Steady Rise Is Helping Power the Growth of Canadian Basketball
Date: November 24, 2017
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: In my latest for Vice, I wrote about the growth of USports as a legitimate path to the pro ranks and its importance to Canada Basketball.
The last time Canada’s senior men’s basketball team participated in the Olympics was the year 2000 on a team led by Steve Nash. Seventeen years later Canada’s next attempt to return to the international showcase is about to begin in earnest, with a major challenge once again at the feet of Nash, now the team’s general manager.
In the time since that last Olympic appearance, Canada Basketball has grown dramatically. Nash’s influence as a leader and two-time Most Valuable Player has resonated around the country, with Vince Carter’s pronounced influence mixing in to create a perfect storm for an explosion of talent. With the women’s program rising to the status of perpetual threat, Canada’s men’s team stands as a potential breakout program waiting for its next big international opportunity. The number of Canadians in the NBA is consistently pushing to new all-time highs, and there’s a genuine feeling of forceful momentum as each new Canadian prospect emerges.
If Canada is going to return to the Olympics, though, it will need more than just the growth of its NBA talent to shine. FIBA’s qualification procedures have changed to feature heavy in-season competition, which will put the microscope on Canada’s talent outside of the NBA, NCAA, and EuroLeague. When qualifying games for the 2019 World Cup—the first step in the 2020 qualifying procedure—begin Friday in Nova Scotia, Canada will be leaning heavily on another byproduct of the explosion of basketball in the country: the rise of USports, the country’s collegiate sports program.