In 1999 Argentina’s basketball team failed to qualify for the 2000 Olympics. It was a set back for the Argentine squad as they finished eighth among 16 teams in the FIBA World Championship in the year prior.
With many young basketball players Argentina had a bright future to look forward to and a chip on their shoulder. They weren’t going to let one year ruin them. They grew as a team and qualified for the 2002 FIBA World Cup, finishing second out of 16.
That Argentina team is who team Canada’s head coach Jay Triano compares his current roster to. A young, inexperienced team with a chip on their shoulder.
“In ’99 before we qualified the team that was like us, very very young and we ended up beating them to qualify was Argentina. And those players took that loss and not qualifying for the Olympics and they started forming the (Fabricio) Oberto’s, the (Manu) Ginobilli’s , the (Luis) Scola’s, who are still playing and representing their country and I think we can be more like that team.” Said Jay Triano during Canada’s final practice before heading off for their 11 game Europe trip.
Although Canada’s top players won’t be participating due to other commitments, Triano wants to use this trip to gain experience for his team for next years qualifications.
Andrew Wiggins, Nik Stauskas and Tyler Ennis won’t travel with the team due to summer league and their rookie contract situation. Tristan Thompson currently is heading into a contract year, so there was insurance issues and Anthony Bennett, is focused with his NBA team, Cleveland.
Triano was supportive of all his players and their NBA teams decision, going on to say, “We need to build a good relationship with their NBA teams. Not their NBA teams going ‘you’re killing our guy’ because next year we’ll be knocking on their doors and we want the appropriate answer to be yes”
The main guys will be missing out this summer, but Canada is full of depth and that’s what Triano plans to use to his advantage.
Canada played Slovenia for their first game on Thursday, but fell short 92-80.
It will be a tough road for the young Canadians as due to other issues they were unable to practice at full speed and with contact earlier this week in Toronto. Making it tough for the coach’s to implant their offence and defence.
So this 11 game trip will not only be for experience but the team will have to learn on the fly.
The team will face many obstacles on their quest to become the best basketball nation. This year the obstacle is to play without their top players but even in the future, with minimal European experience the Canadian kids have a lot of growing to do.
Though the team has the same potential as the ’99 Argentina squad, they still have to prove themselves, and this European trip will be the first task.
Canada’s remaining Europe schedule
July 25th vs. Ukraine
July 26th vs. Georgia
August 1st vs. Croatia
August 2nd vs. Croatia
August 3rd vs. Serbia
August 4th vs. Italy
August 5th vs. Bosnia
August 6th vs. Spain
August 10th vs. Turkey
August 12th vs. Angola
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