Title: Canada Basketball camp notebook: Chris Boucher withdraws, Andrew Nembhard stands out, jerseys and more
Date: August 7, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I shared some notes and thoughts from Canada Basketball’s pre-World Cup training camp.
Canada Basketball opened up a heavy slate of tune-up games ahead of the 2019 FIBA World Cup on Wednesday, defeating Nigeria 96-87 at Mattamy Athletic Centre. For as positive an outcome as that might sound against what is likely the best roster from the Africa zone of the tournament, the evening was once again cast in the theme of the week: Who wasn’t available, rather than who was.
It’s disappointing that the short Toronto training camp has been framed as such. There wasn’t much way around it Monday when Canada’s fan-fic roster invitation list was halved for the actual camp, and there wasn’t much way around it Wednesday when one of the team’s remaining NBA talents was in street clothes and another left the game hurt.
Ideally, the focus would be on the players who are available, a shrinking but still-impressive list. Ideally, the discussion after the exhibition opener would have been on Canada’s prolific 3-point shooting and, underlying it, an early ability to create open looks within the offensive system. This, despite head coach Nick Nurse still largely — and demonstratively — coaching on the fly with such a short window of time to get players’ reads. Ideally, Thursday’s getaway-day practice would have focused on praise for Khem Birch’s offensive growth or Oshae Brissett’s comfort level on the wing or Brady Heslip’s never missing a 3 again for the rest of his life.
As Canada is learning quickly this summer, things don’t always play to their best case. With a four-day camp in the books, here’s a quick look around the team’s training camp and what lies ahead.