Title: From World Cup disappointment to Olympic hopefuls: What comes next for Canada Basketball
Date: September 11, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about what Canada Basketball needs to do to turn a disappointing 2019 into a positive 2020 that builds for the next Olympic cycle.
Another year, the same old questions. When – and how – will Canada Basketball translate its immense, growing talent pool into international success? They are the questions we entered with this Olympic cycle after a gut-wrenching 2015 and 2016 and they are the questions with which we entered the 2019 World Cup. Those questions remain unanswered.
Canada wrapped up the World Cup with a 21st-place finish and a berth in one of four 2020 Olympic Qualifying Tournaments. It was not a terrible outcome. As the program will tell you, it’s the best finish they’ve had in the event since 2002. The players and staff who represented Canada and participated deserve a world of credit. In isolation, there was plenty to appreciate and take away as building blocks for future years.
But that’s been the same tournament wrap for a little too long now. The time has long since come to turn talent into production. Steve Nash credits his international experience with helping him become an NBA MVP. Carl English and Leo Rautins talk about their experiences in the lean years as highlights of their careers and important parts of their lives. Cory Joseph, Kelly Olynyk and Khem Birch are established pillars of the program. Canada’s success will not be strictly determined by the turnout of NBA players, but it will go a long way in determining its ceiling. The focus between the end of the World Cup and next summer’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments needs to be on how to introduce elite Canadian talent to the program and leverage those experiences to foster longer-term commitment.