Canada has been drawn in the same group with Argentina, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela for this summer’s International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Americas basketball championship in Monterrey, Mexico from August 25 to September 6.
The other group is made up of defending champions Mexico, Panama, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay.
The 10 teams will play over 13 days with the champion and runner-up advancing to next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The third, fourth and fifth place teams will compete in the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament.
The national team, which is expected to be boosted by several National Basketball Association (NBA) players, including Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph and Kelly Olynyk, finished sixth in its last appearance in the tournament two years.
Jay Triano, the national team coach, is hopeful that Wiggins – who will most likely win the NBA Rookie of the Year award – will play in the tournament.
“We still have a long way to go as far as our discussions with the Timberwolves, how we can best use and utilize Andrew while at the same time respecting where they have him in their plans as he progresses as a professional player,” said Triano.
The senior men’s team will compete in the Pan Am Games at the Mattamy Athletic Centre before heading to Mexico.
Triano is counting on the availability of most of the country’s top players for these tournaments.
“We still have a lot of work to do as far as figuring out who’s going to be available and what the time commitments with their NBA teams or European teams are going to be, how flexible teams are going to be in letting us use those players for this event,” he said. “And for the Pan American games, for that matter.”