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).
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.
Oregon’s Dillon Brooks soars for a two-handed dunk in Canada U19’s win over Australia
Dillon Brooks and the Canadian U19 team began the preliminary round in the 2015 FIBA World Championships with a narrow 74-71 win over Australia in Group C play at the Heraklion Indoor Sports Arena on the island of Crete in Greece.
Like last summer at the FIBA U18 Americas Championships in Colorado, Brooks was the star, scoring a game-high 22 points and throwing down this thunderous two-handed dunk in traffic early in the first quarter.
Brooks, who averaged 11.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last season at Oregon, headlines a Canadian team that includes UNLV commit Justin Jackson, a four-star commit in the Class of 2016, Harvard forward Chris Egi and incoming Harvard sharpshooter Corey Johnson.
Canada continues pool play on Sunday against Tunisia, which lost to Italy earlier in the day.
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.
Looking Forward: Potential Breakout Stars in 2015-16
With the early entry process over and with just about every elite recruit having picked a school, we now have a pretty good idea of what college basketball will look like in 2015-16. Over the next three weeks, we’ll be taking an early look at next season.
Today, we’re Looking Forward at potential breakout stars:
Grayson Allen, Duke: The argument could be make that Allen has already broken out. That’s what happens when a freshman goes from struggling to get off of Duke’s bench to being arguably their most important player in a come-from-behind win in the national title game. Allen is going to once again have his work cut out for him getting playing time — that’s what happens when three five-star perimeter players join the program — but he should be Coach K’s best slasher next season.
Malik Pope, San Diego State: Pope’s tools are off the charts. He’s a 6-foot-9 wing with length, athleticism and three-point range. He finally got healthy midway through his freshman season, and proceeded to put together a handful of dominant performances for the Aztecs last season. If he adds some strength, improves his consistency and — most importantly — stays healthy, we could be looking at a lottery pick.
Isaac Copeland, Georgetown: Copeland is such a skilled forward. In addition to being 6-foot-8 and athletic, Copeland is the kind of versatile offensive talent that usually thrives under John Thompson III. With the Hoyas losing Josh Smith and Mikael Hopkins, there are going to be front court minutes for the taking.
Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame: Jackson flashed some of his ability during last year’s NCAA tournament, but the fact of the matter is that the talented and athletic point guard was the fourth-best player on the Irish as a sophomore. Don’t be surprised to see him become an all-american as a junior as he takes over Jerian Grant’s role.
Jakob Poeltl, Utah: Poeltl could have been a lottery pick had he decided to go to the NBA this spring. Instead, Larry Krystkowiak will have a chance to work his magic with the Austrian big man for an entire offseason. Poeltl’s potential is very high, and while he was inconsistent as a freshman, Poeltl was fantastic in the month of March.
Marcus Lee, Kentucky: Will Marcus Lee finally get his chance this season? The former top 30 recruit has proven to be effective in the limited minutes that he has played the last two season, but his minutes have been understandably limited during his time in Lexington. He may not be Willie Cauley-Stein or Karl Towns, but Lee should be an excellent sidekick to Skal Labissiere in Kentucky’s front court.
Bronson Koenig, Wisconsin: Koenig was brilliant when he got the chance to replace the injured Traevon Jackson as Bo Ryan’s primary point guard midway through the season. With the Badgers losing so much this offseason, Koenig and Nigel Hayes will be tasked with keeping the Badgers in the Big Ten’s top four.
Josh Hart, Villanova: Hart is the typical power wing that Jay Wright has been so successsful with over the years. He’s a better scorer than he gets credit for and is a terrific defender and offensive rebounder. Hart should end up being an all-Big East player this season.
Dillon Brooks, Oregon: Brooks reclassified in the spring and enrolled at Oregon a year earlier than initially expected, and it ended up being fantastic for Dana Altman, as Brooks was, at times, Oregon’s best player. Expect more of the same from him as a sophomore.
Jonathan Motley, Baylor: Motley was just a three-star recruit when he arrived in Waco, but the athletic, 6-foot-10 center had some truly dominating performances during the year. Motley, teaming with Rico Gathers and Taurean Prince, will give the Bears one of the nation’s best front lines.
Ben Bentil, Providence: Bentil was fantastic for the Friars for stretches late in the season, and with LaDontae Henton graduating, there will shots and rebounds available for Bentil to collect.
Oregon’s Dillon Brooks dunks on Wisconsin big man (VIDEO)
N0. 8 Oregon has a tough task Sunday afternoon, as they take on West Region No. 1 Wisconsin in Omaha. What helps the Ducks’ cause is plays like the one made by freshman forward Dillon Brooks, who went baseline and dunked on Wisconsin 7-footer Frank Kaminsky.
Oregon’s chances of winning may be slim, but there’s no denying the quality of this finish.
Video credit: NCAA/Turner
Oregon beats No. 9 Utah, adding much-needed win to its NCAA tournament resume
Young didn’t shoot particularly well, scoring 14 points on 5-for-16 shooting (1-for-8 3PT), but he had plenty of help from his teammates. Freshman forward Dillon Brooks, who within the course of a year has gone from reclassifying from the Class of 2016 to being one of the Pac-12’s best freshmen, scored 19 points (two of which can be seen in the video above) and grabbed seven rebounds and Elgin Cook added 12 points.
Oregon shot 45.5% from the field on Sunday, but what really won the game for the Ducks was their matchup zone. Head coach Dana Altman made the move in the second half, and the zone successfully slowed down the Runnin’ Utes. Utah shot 36.5% from the field, and outside of the efficient Delon Wright (6-for-9 FG, 4-for-4 FT, 20 points) they struggled mightily from the field.
Brandon Taylor shot 2-for-10 from the field, with all of his shot attempts being three-pointers, and Jordan Loveridge shot 2-for-8. Outside of Wright, the lone player who had success penetrating the Oregon matchup zone, no Utah player scored more than seven points (Loveridge) on the day. Twenty-nine of Utah’s 52 field goal attempts were three-pointers, which is far too high a number when considering both the presence of Jakob Poeltl and Utah’s overall size advantage in the front court.
Oregon was able to use the zone looks to limit the post touches for Utah’s big men, and that resulted in the Ducks picking up their biggest win of the season to date.
Prior to Sunday, Oregon’s two RPI Top 50 wins came against Illinois (in Chicago) and UCLA (at home, and the Bruins were without Tony Parker) and their three KenPom Top 50 wins came against UCLA and Arizona State (twice). Regardless of which ratings system one prefers, there’s no denying the fact that this was a huge victory for Oregon as they look to return to the NCAA tournament.
With three road games and the Pac-12 tournament remaining on their schedule, Oregon may make a prophet out of their senior point guard.