With the ongoing Pan-American Games and the FIBA Americas Championships scheduled for late August, this summer is an important one for Canada Basketball as head coach Jay Triano looks to lead the team to a spot in next summer’s Olympics in Rio De Janeiro. Saturday the team for the Pan-American Games was announced, and among the 12 players who will suit up for Triano are three who will play college basketball next season.
Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer, Oregon’s Dillon Brooks and Kentucky’s Jamal Murray all made the cut, as did current NBA players Anthony Bennett (Minnesota), Andrew Nicholson (Orland0) and Sim Bhullar (Sacramento).
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There are other recent ties to college basketball on the roster, with guards Junior Cadougan (played at Marquette), Brady Heslip (played at Baylor) and Daniel Mullings (played at New Mexico State), and forward Melvin Ejim (played at Iowa State) being selected. Aaron Dornekamp and Carl English complete Canada’s roster for the Games, with competition in men’s basketball beginning July 21.
All three current college players on the roster have prior international experience, with Brooks being a member of Canada’s U19 team that played at the FIBA U19 World Championships in Crete earlier this summer. Brooks was one of the top scorers in Crete, averaging 18.8 points (second in the event), 6.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.
Wiltjer represented Canada at the World University Games two years ago, and Murray played for Canada’s U17 team in last summer’s FIBA U17 World Championships.
Entering Sunday’s FIBA Americas U16 gold medal match with Canada the United States had never lost a game in the brief history of the event, going 19-0 with the majority of those wins being by comfortable margins. But they were definitely challenged by a Canadian squad led by the tournament’s top rebounder in 2018 forward Simi Shittu, as Canada led 19-3 at the end of the first quarter with the Americans shooting 1-for-17 from the field.
The United States trailed by as much as 20 (23-3) before turning things around, with 2017 prospects Wendell Carter Jr., Gary Trent Jr. and Jarred Vanderbilt leading the way. They eventually took their first lead of the game in the third quarter, grabbing control of the game in the final six minutes and winning by the final score of 77-60.
However the final margin, coming as a result of the United States closing the game on a 28-5 run, is not a true indicator of how tough the game was.
Shittu led Canada with 18 points and 14 rebounds, with Rowan Barrett Jr. adding 13, and early on they managed to limit the easy looks the United States was able to find against lesser competition. But Vanderbilt (19 points, ten rebounds) served as the catalyst in the second quarter, with Trent Jr. (19 points, six rebounds) and Carter stepping forward in the second stanza.
Both teams struggled with turnovers, combining for 49, but the United States was able to get better looks in the second half and ultimately finished with 46 points in the paint to Canada’s 30.
FIBA has the World Championships for U19 in late June and the Canadian national team has a number of Division I college basketball players trying out for its team. A 19-man tryout group was assembled for June 6-10 and Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, Harvard forward Chris Egi, Missouri wing Montaque Gill-Caesar, UNLV guard Jalen Poyser and Seattle guard Jadon Cahee made the list.
UNLV commit Justin Jackson is also trying out for the team and there are a few other potential Division I prospects among the group. This same Canada group captured the silver medal at the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 championships in Colorado Springs, so they’re going to be one of the stronger teams in the field.
Some of these players could greatly benefit from playing in this competition and it’ll be interesting to see if Canada can make a push for another medal.
Former Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins made history Thursday evening, with the Cleveland Cavaliers making him their choice with the top overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
This is the second consecutive year the Cavaliers have held the top selection, and once again they’ve selected a player who grew up in Canada. Last season the Cavaliers selected forward Anthony Bennett, who attended Findlay Prep and played one season at UNLV before entering the NBA Draft.
As for the Kansas connection, Wiggins becomes the second player in program history to be selected with the top pick. Danny Manning was the first, with the Los Angeles Clippers picking him in the 1988 NBA Draft just a couple months after he led the Jayhawks to a national title. Wilt Chamberlain was a territorial pick of the Philadelphia Warriors in the 1959 NBA Draft.
Cleveland now has three number one picks on its roster, with Wiggins joining Bennett and Kyrie Irving (2011).
Just hours after junior college transfer Jameel McKay announced his decision to transfer, Marquette received a verbal commitment from 2014 forward Marial Shayok. Shayok, a 6-foot-6 native of Ottawa, Ontario, attends Blair Academy in New Jersey where he announced his decision. According to many recruiting analysts Marquette and Providence were believed to be Shayok’s top two choices, with the Golden Eagles winning out in the end.
Shayok’s decision comes less than a week after he took his official visit to Marquette, and he becomes the fourth verbal commitment in the 2014 class for head coach Buzz Williams. Shayok joins forward Malek Harris and guards Ahmed Hill and Sandy Cohen as players verbally committed to the Big East school. Shayok, who possesses a good skill set that includes a solid perimeter stroke, is listed as being 6-foot-6 but according to multiple outlets he’s still growing.
Shayok helped lead Blair to the finals of the New Jersey Prep A tournament, scoring 21 points in the team’s 64-45 semifinal win over Lawrenceville Academy. Blair fell in the title game to St. Benedict’s Prep, which at the time featured Tyler Ennis (now a freshman at Syracuse) and Isaiah Briscoe (one of the top players in the 2015 class who now attends Roselle (N.J.) Catholic).
Shayok’s commitment gives Marquette additional depth at the small forward position with Jamil Wilson graduating after the 2013-14 season. But even with this news the Golden Eagles are still in a position where they need to add some more size, with McKay’s decision to transfer and both Davante Gardner and Chris Otule out of eligibility after this season.
Earlier this summer former San Jose State forward David Andoh made the decision to transfer to Wagner, where he would have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2013-14 season. Plans have changed, as according to the Staten Island Advance Andoh is back in his native Canada and will not join the Wagner program.
According to Cormac Gordon of the Advance, Andoh cited “family concerns” when informing Wagner head coach Bashir Mason of his decision to not transfer to the Northeast Conference school.
“David told us he has family matters that are foremost on his mind right now, and we respect that,” Mason told the Advance. “Our understanding is that he is not going to attend school this year, and we wish him the best when he does make a decision.”
As a freshman Andoh averaged 2.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game at San Jose State, which fired head coach George Nessman at the end of the Spartans’ 9-20 campaign. With the Seahawks having a pair of seniors in their front court (Naofall Folahan and Orlando Parker), Andoh would have given Mason another player with college experience to call on in 2014-15.
With that no longer being the case, the Seahawks have three players in this season’s front court rotation who will have eligibility remaining in 2014. Mario Moody, who is entering his junior season, averaged 6.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last season and would be the most experienced member of the rotation with current freshmen Nolan Long and Gregory Senat also on board.