Team Canada’s preparations for the FIBA Americas tournament isn’t looking good. They have now dropped 12 straight games including a 62-point drubbing by the French National team.
Canada actually played better against France on their next game but it wasn’t enough. Now, the team lost 79-72 to Bulgaria which is ranked 43rd in the world while Canada holds the No. 23 spot.
Nonetheless, Wayne Parrish, Canada Basketball’s executive director and CEO encourages Canadians not to get overly concerned.
“Last summer we clobbered France in two exhibition games and then beat China handily, so there’s not much stock to be put in exhibition games at this stage,” Parrish said. “I’m counting on this being a mirror reflection of that and later in the summer is where you’ll see the best play from our guys.”
Parrish also pointed out that three of Canada’s top players, Miami Heat starting center Joel Anthony, San Antonio Spurs draft pick Cory Joseph and former scoring leader Carl English will not join the team until later in August and other players such as Kelly Olynyk are nursing injuries.
The Spurs have a bevy of players and draftees that will participate in different Olympic qualifying tournaments this month.
Tiago Splitter was the first Spur to get insurance to play for his home country, then Spurs 2011 second round draft pick Adam Hanga was named to the Hungarian national team, followed by Tony Parker and Nando De Colo of France, and Erazem Lorbek of Slovenia.
After recently reaching an insurance deal, Manu Ginobili was also cleared to play for his homeland Argentina.
If Joseph can obtain insurance to play for Canada, he will become the 7th Spur-affiliate to represent his home country this summer.
Also, Spurs draftees Ryan Richards and Davis Bertans are both in training camp for their respective national squads (Great Britain and Latvia) but there are no confirmation yet if any of them will make the team.
Team Canada will play Macedonia in Italy next and then face the Czech Republic twice before returning home to end their European tour.
With the lockout in full effect, this is a great chance for these Spurs players/draftees to help their respective home countries to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics while staying in basketball shape.