USA Basketball had a difficult summer. The view for Olympic 2020 is by now very optimistic. Basketball fans can book their Olympic Basketball Tickets at economical prices from our reliable online ticketing place.
It is exciting to USA Basketball managing director Jerry
Colangelo, who wasn’t satisfied by some players backing out of capacities and
the Americans eventually ending only 7th position at this summer’s World Cup.
Appropriately of NBA standouts, select names like Stephen
Curry, James Harden, LeBron James, Draymond Green and Paul George between them
are obviously interested in the idea of winning Olympic gold in Olympic 2020.
Colangelo said “In many ways, it’s what I likely because I
really, truly believed that the aim so many did not play this summer was
because of the consecutive contests and FIBA touching the World Cup to a year
before the Olympic 2020. You might have even planned it would work out that
way. Clearly, what they are saying right now is valued.”
The Associated Press conducted a relaxed survey of promising
U.S. Olympic applicants at their team media days, and of those come up to none
said they were not attentive in playing in the Olympic 2020. Some give out
durable views of interest than others, but playing for gold is clearly on the
minds of many. Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson and Andre Drummond all declared
their interest at media days.
“Absolutely, I want to be capable to play USA Basketball
next summer. Washington guard Bradley Beal said Monday. I want to play in the
Olympic 2020. That was certainly a goal of mine. If the chance offerings itself
then definite, that’s a natural yes for me.”
Curry, Thompson, Green, and Lillard all openly voiced their
attention in various interviews after the World Cup. At media days since,
James, George, Leonard, Drummond, Harden, Aaron Gordon, Russell Westbrook, and
Devin Booker were between persons who believed they may need to play health
allowing. James wants to have a chat with U.S. coach Gregg Popovich about the
plan for Olympic 2020.
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Although he selected not to be a member of the USA Basketball national team that moved to Australia for three showing games the Americans played in advance of the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Trail Blazers star guard Damian Lillard did find time for such a journey last week as a brand representative for Adidas.
He tells with a reporter after the U.S. was removed from medal argument with a quarterfinal loss to France. He confessed to having not watched the game. Lillard confirmed, though, he intended to be a member of the U.S. team that will contest in the Olympic 2020 in Tokyo. Olympic Basketball followers from all over the world can buyOlympic Basketball Ticketsonline exclusively on economical prices.
a team mainly of middle-class NBA players, the U.S. ended 7th in the 2019 World
Cup, its worst performance ever. After dropping in the quarterfinals, the
Americans released a supported game to Serbia that left them having to lose
Poland to dodge losing three successive games.
was obtainable the chance to play by managing director Jerry Colangelo and, to
be honest, the program required him seriously. It was seeming USA Basketball
experts James Harden, Stephen Curry and Anthony Davis were doubtful to play in
another World Cup.
tournament was going to require the next tendency of young American stars to keep
active its rope of five sequential major tournament labels and 58 wins in good
only players who fit that group and contested were Kamba Walker of the Celtics
and Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz. Lillard withdrew along with Wizards guard
Bradley Beal, Sixers forward Tobias Harris and guard De’ Aaron Fox and forward
Marvin Bagley of the Kings.
with Walker, Lillard and Kawhi Leonard were the only U.S qualified players in
2019. All-NBA teams who did not before the contest for USA Basketball at a
senior international event.
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Stephen Curry tells at a press meeting for his series of basketball camps for high school players in Japan. Basketball fans can book theirOlympic Basketball Tickets at economical prices from our reliable online ticketing place.
The US team had won 58 successive tournament games in Fiba
and Olympic rivalry with NBA players dating to 2005 coming into the contest but
left without a gold medal for the first time since 2006.
Curry has been on two of the World Cup teams during that
give but has yet to compete in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Golden State Warriors
star Steph Curry is preparation to be part of the team that signifies the
United States at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Curry believed “I have not ever been on the Olympic team. I’ve been on two World Cup championship gold-medal teams. But the Tokyo Olympics 2020 is the knowledge that I want. And next year will positively be it”.
The American team had to cope with more than two dozen
defections from NBA stars who backed out of their promise to play before the
tournament. Of the 35 players named last summer as possible members of the
list, only four made it to China Kemba Walker, Chris Middleton, Harrison
Barnes, and Myles Turner. Basketball played a vital role in Olympic Tokyo in
2020. Basketball played in most parts of Europe.
Curry thought “We’re still the best. If we get the guys that are supposed to be there, in relatives of, you know, representing us in the Olympic stage and the obligation’s been there and I think it’ll be there next year.”
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The U.S. men’s basketball team sailed to a 98-45 win over Japan on Thursday to wrap up the first round of the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Team USA, led by Jaylen Brown’s 20 points overcame two injuries to key players to finish with a 3-0 record in first-round matches. Olympic Basketball followers from all over the world can buy Olympic Basketball Tickets online exclusively on economical prices.
“I think we’re getting better with each visit, and that’s our goal,” Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich told reporters”. “We haven’t been calm very long, I think our players are enjoying playing with each other” understanding that consistency is necessary and what we have to do as a team to be successful”.
“In that respect, they were serious tonight and they loved the Japanese team very much”.
They did not take anything for absolute. So I was pleased with their performance.
“Boston Celtics teammates Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart sat out of Team USA’s victory. Tatum injured his left ankle during the Americans’ overtime win over Turkey on Tuesday, and Smart has a nervous absent squad. Despite lost Tatum and Smart, the U.S. men’s squad (3-0) held Japan to single digits in the first and third quarters and jumped out to a 56-23 halftime lead”.
“I think we have a lot of opportunity for development,” Brown said. “Obviously, we’re looking forward to the next match. Just trying to get better and represent our country in the right way”.
Team USA point watch Kemba Walker recorded 15 points and a team-high 8 supports. Harrison Barnes had 14 points and 8 recovers. Joe Harris and Donovan Mitchell each extra 10 points.
Yudai Baba managed
Japan (0-3) with 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Washington Wizards draw
pick Rui Hachimura struggled for the Japanese squad scoring only four points
(2-of-8 shooting) in 24 minutes. Team USA will play leading NBA most Valuable
Player Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greece on Saturday in the first game of the
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This year’s USA Basketball team hasn’t been especially successful to date. They have faced an amusing series of drawings and lost in a scrimmage to a Jeff Van Gundy-coached mishmash of fringe NBA players.
It would still be astonishing if they fall short, given the
star power remaining on the team and the depth of starting-level NBA players.
But the team is noticeably weak. With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics almost a year
away, USA Basketball will hope some superstars commit to playing.
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Here’s an interesting theoretical for next year, If every eligible American basketball player is healthy and willing to play in Tokyo 2020.
So, let’s make an Olympic 2020 version of the Dream Team. There is one crucial difference between now and 1992, Some of the league’s best players now aren’t from the United States, so we have no Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, or Joel Embiid to choose from, among other players. I’m still confident this team would beat the ‘92 team handly because that’s the way things go.
Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving. I’m carrying three-point
guards because I couldn’t bring myself to leave any of these guys off. Steph
will start for this team, and both Lillard and Kyrie will get minutes off the
bench because a Curry-Harden backcourt is weak defensively.
Walker and Russell Westbrook are the two notable snubs here,
but I don’t feel too bad about leaving them off because it’s clear that Curry,
Lillard, and Irving are the class of the position. Maybe Trae Young will break
out with an All-NBA season and throw a wrench into this discussion.
James Harden, Klay Thompson. It is far from a guarantee that
Thompson will make an appearance in Tokyo 2020. He may want to avoid putting
too much strain on his torn ACL after a possible late-season return to the
Warriors, and he already has a gold medal in his trophy case.
But in an ideal world, Klay is here because he is the
perfect shooter and low-key personality to have around on a team like this.
Harden can also shoot, obviously, and is probably the best scorer in the world
now that Kevin Durant is rehabbing a long-term injury. There is no way that
Harden is not the starting shooting guard on this 2020 team.
If I had to replace one of these two, Bradley Beal, Victor
Oladipo, Devin Booker, Middleton, CJ McCollum, and Mitchell would be in the
LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George. This is a fun and
versatile group. If we wanted, we could play these guys all over the place,
even all together at the same time. Imagine facing a team with all three of
LeBron, Kawhi, and George. You’re not scoring, and you’re not going to have
enough defenders to keep up with them.
The starting lineup will have to be configured so that LeBron and Kawhi can both start. But as with the original Dream Team, the starting lineup doesn’t matter too much. They’re just fun thought exercises.
Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green. An important caveat: I’m going to want AD to play center a good bit because we already have 11 players and thus can only afford one more. Davis at the 5 unlocks a number of combinations that include as well as one or two of the above trio. Draymond can play the five too, in smaller lineups, so we have some nice versatility.
I imagine Draymond as the Charles Barkley of this team: an
undersized, outgoing power forward who commands attention. Draymond will score
less than Sir Charles but make a huge impact on the defensive end.
Among the forwards, Jimmy Butler was the toughest omission. He was close and would’ve made it as another forward if we didn’t have three-point guards that I didn’t want to leave off. I could have included Al Horford and Blake Griffin, too, and you never know if Zion Williamson forces his way here.
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Melvin Obinna Ejim is a Nigerian-Canadian professional
basketball player for Unicaja of the Liga ACB and EuroCup. He played college
basketball for Iowa State University before playing professionally in Italy and
Russia, as well as the NBA Development League.
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Melvin Obinna Ejim High school career
Ejim attended St. Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardtown,
Maryland, where he made the 2007 Provincial team before transferring to
Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. In 2008–09, he averaged 12.3 points and 4.6
rebounds per game for Brewster. In his final year in 2009–10, he averaged 13.1
points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.5 assists per game, leading Brewster to
a 34–4 record and a National Prep School championship.
Melvin Obinna Ejim College career
Ejim started 30 games out of 32 in his freshman campaign for Iowa State, averaging 10.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, shooting 48.6 percent from the field (121-249 FG) and tallied 39 steals, second-best total on the team. He became one of just 13 Iowa State freshmen in school history to average double figures in scoring, and his 214 rebounds were the third-best rookie total in school history.
One of Iowa State’s top post players, Ejim started 29 games out of 34 in 2011–12, averaging 9.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He earned Big 12 Honorable Mention accolades and was a first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection.
One of the best forwards in the Big 12 in 2012–13, Ejim earned All-Big 12 third-team honors and was an NABC All-District 8 second-team selection; he was also privileged as the initial Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award winner and was a Capital One Academic All-District 6 selection. Ejim became the first Cyclone to lead the Big 12 in recovering (9.3 RPG) since Jackson Vroman and was just the third player in Big 12 antiquity to lead the league in rebounding at 6’6” or shorter.
As a senior in 2013–14, Ejim had one of the best seasons in school history, earning Big 12 Player of the Year honors and All-America honors from five organizations. Ejim was a finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, became the fifth Academic All-American in school history, earned Capital One first-team Academic All-America honors and was named the Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second time. He became just the fourth player in league history to record 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career, finishing his career with the most wins of any Cyclone men’s basketball player at 88 wins. He also finished 12th in scoring (1,643), second in rebounding (1,051), tied for 10th in steals (146) and 15th in blocks (59); he also broke the school record for games played (135) and games started (126).
2014 on February 8, Ejim scored a Big 12-record 48 points
against the TCU Horned Frogs in the Hilton Coliseum, surpassing Michael Beasley
and Denis Clemente who had 44 points in 2008 and 2009 respective.
After going undrafted in the 2014 NBA draft, Ejim played for
the San Antonio Spurs during the Las Vegas Summer League. He then moved to
Italy for the 2014–15 season, signing with Virtus Roma. In 29 league games for
Virtus, he averaged 7.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He also averaged 8.1
points and 4.3 rebounds in 18 EuroCup games.
After initially signing with German team Medi Bayreuth for the 2015–16 season, an impressive stint with the Orlando Magic during the 2015 NBA Summer League led to a training camp contract. He was waived by the Magic on October 21 after appearing in four preseason games, and subsequently joined the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League. He was waived by Erie on March 16, 2016. In 39 games, he averaged 14.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Days later, he signed with Italian team Reyer Venezia Mestre for the rest of the season. In 16 games for Reyer Venezia, he averaged 9.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.
On June 17, 2016, Ejim re-signed with Reyer Venezia Mestre for the 2016–17 season. In June 2017, he helped Reyer Venezia win the Italian League championship while earning the Finals MVP. In 46 league games, he averaged 10.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He also averaged 10.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.4 steals in 22 BCL games.
On July 12, 2017, Ejim signed with Russian club UNICS for the 2017–18 season. In 30 league games, he averaged 9.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. He also averaged 9.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.2 steals in 19 EuroCup games.
In June 2018, Ejim re-signed with UNICS for the 2018–19
season. In 23 league games, he averaged 8.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.5
assists per game. He also averaged 7.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists in
14 EuroCup games.
On July 25, 2019, Ejim signed a 1+1 deal with Spanish club
Melvin Obinna Ejim National team career
In June of 2012, he played for his motherland Nigerian
national team on their tour of China. In July 2013, he played for the Canadian
national team at the World University Games, where he averaged eight points and
four rebounds per game. In July 2015, he was named on the Canadian national
team roster for the Pan American Games. He also played at the Tuto Marchand Cup
and FIBA Americas Championship in 2015. In 2016, he represented Canada at the
FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
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Lithuanian team won the last EuroBasket tournaments previous to World War II, in 1937 and 1939. The 1939 team was running by Frank Lubin, who helped TO promote basketball in the country and was named the “grandfather of Lithuanian basketball”.
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Later the refurbishment of Lithuanian independence in 1990,
the national Lithuanian Basketball team was revived. Lithuania gained bronze
medals in the first three Olympics to include NBA players
– 1992, 1996, and 2000 – in addition to finishing fourth
in 2004 and 2008, and in eighth place at the London 2012 Olympics.
The Lithuanian team gained the FIBA EuroBasket for the 3rd time in 2003,
and also won a bronze medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
Lithuanian Basketball Rosters
Kalnietis has a lot of intriguing aspects as a point guard: he has good size for the position at 6’5”, has the speed to allow him to stay on the floor regardless of the matchup, and has a wealth of experience in the program.
He’s been the lead playmaker for Lithuania for the past fourteen years and while he’ll be well into his 30s by the time the Olympics take place, the experience is always going to be the most valuable commodity in international basketball.
Sure, he has a skinny frame and he’ll never be a go-to scoring option for a team, but he’s the scrappy defender and consistent playmaker that Lithuania will be looking to have to lead the office in two years’ time.
If I had to describe Mačiulis’ game in a single word, it’d be “scrappy.” Maciulis plays like the middle-aged guy in every pickup game that knows that every game might be his last: he’s throwing elbows, scrambling for every loose ball, and dodging picks like Neo from The Matrix.
His effort and willingness to leave it all on the court is definitely his calling card, but Mačiulis can also spread the floor and can score pretty well in the paint, especially when he’s crashing the offensive boards. Basically, he’s an ideal “jack of all trades, master of none” type of guy.
As a son of Basketball Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis,
Sabonis has already had more exposure to the game at just 22 years old than
most people have in their entire career. Sabonis began his professional career
at 16 before heading to Gonzaga to compete in the NCAA for two seasons,
eventually getting drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft.
Heading into Tokyo in a couple years, Sabonis will likely be the most talented player on the Lithuanian roster, if he isn’t already. In his sophomore season with the Pacers last year, Sabonis has a fairly pedestrian year in terms of statistics, but his game had clearly evolved and grown from the year prior.
He was in better shape, extended his range, started to work on using his right hand, and was a much stronger presence on the interior. Despite his youth, this steady development is promising and is a big reason why I think he’ll be starting for Lithuania in 2020.
Having two Jonas’ in the same starting lineup is a bold move and one I always recommend against for the sake of confusion, but it’s impossible to keep the face of Lithuanian basketball off the starting lineup.
Valanciunas became the face of the Lithuanian program not simply because his beard makes him look like he just strolled out of the mountains of Juozapinė Hill, but because he’s poured years into the program to help bring it to the height that it’s reached today.
Heading into his seventh season in the NBA and with 10 years of experience under his belt with the national team, Valanciunas will be entering Tokyo as one of the most experienced and matured players the roster has to offer.
In terms of on-court production, Valanciunas will be the best interior defender on the team, a valuable scorer from the post and the midrange, a reliable pick-and-roll option, and the owner of the most inexplicably effective pump-fake the world has ever seen.
In two years’, time, Valanciunas is just going to be entering his prime and will be poised to add the toughness and experience needed in the international game.
Seibutis will be 35 by the time the 2020 Olympics roll around, but a combination of maturity, size, and improved shooting ability should warrant him a starting role at the shooting guard position.
His NBA career isn’t anything to write home about, but Seibutis’ experience bouncing around the EuroLeague and his career with the national team has given us more than enough of a sample size.
His game resembles that of a less-athletic Brent Barry, which actually amounts to a pretty versatile player. He certainly doesn’t have the speed that made him a standout in Lithuania years ago and his defense has gone downhill over the years, but he’s still able to slash to the basket and his long-range shooting has become more consistent with age.
He’s not the scorer he used to be, but his combination of skills, including good playmaking ability, will give the Lithuanian offense the versatility it craves.
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Philadelphia 76ers point forward Simmons announced
that he will not participate in his home country’s 2019 FIBA World Cup big this
summer. Simmons, the former Rookie of the Year for the Sixers, however, does
expect to play for Australia in 2020 for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
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Simmons also thanked those who congratulated him on his
extension. The almost-23-year-old signed a max extension with the club this
offseason—totaling $170 million over five years. Simmons can earn a bonus if he
makes an All-NBA team at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season.
Simmons, the first overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft out of
LSU, was born in Melbourne, Australia, and grew up in Newcastle, New South
Wales. He was sidelined for one year following his draft selection but made his
debut for the Sixers in 2017-18, eventually winning Rookie of the Year and
guiding the team to its first postseason berth in six years. He earned his
first All-Star appearance this past season.
Simmons participated in the 2012 FIBA Under-17 World
Championship for Australia at 15 years old, where the junior team lost to the
USA in the finals. He would appear on the senior team in the gold-medalling run
for the Aussies in the 2013 FIBA Oceanic Championship.
Ever the triple-double threat, Simmons averaged
16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game in 79 appearances last
season for the Sixers, shooting 56.3% from the field.
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Ricard Rubio is a Spanish basketball player for the Phoenix
Suns of the National Basketball Association. He became one of the youngest players
ever to play in the Spanish ACB League on October 15, 2005, at the age of 14
years old. He made his Euro League entrance on October 24, 2006, at the age of 16,
and become the first player born in the 1990s to play in a Euro League tournament.
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He is the fifth-youngest player to make their entrance in the Euro League, since the year 2000. On 25 of June 2009, he was enlisted with the fifth pick in the first round of the 2009 NBA draft by the Timberwolves, making him the first player born in the 1990s to be enlisted by the NBA. The Timberwolves had an agreement in belief with his former Spanish team, DKV Joventut, to buy out his contract, but Rubio backed out of the deal. On 31 August 2009, Joventut traded the rights to Rubio to FC Barcelona, and Rubio signed a six-year contract with FC Barcelona the following day. At the beginning of 2011, Rubio has joined the Minnesota Timberwolves, and he spent six seasons in Minnesota before being traded to the Jazz in June 2017.
Rubio playing in Spain
Rubio regarded by some as the best European guard prospect
Rubio entranced in the Spanish ACB League in the 2005–06 season with DKV Joventut. Rubio was the youngest player ever to enter the ACB, at the age of 14 years and 11 months. He has won the FIBA Euro Challenge championship with Joventut that year. He directed the Spanish ACB League in steals during the 2006–07. He has won the Spanish ACB League’s Rising Star Award this season. He was also named the FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year in 2007, 2008, and 2009. He made his Euro League entrance on October 24, 2006, versus Panathinaikos of Athens as Joventut’s backup point guard for Elmer Bennett. He became the fifth-youngest Euro League player at the time. Rubio averaged 2.8 assists per game in his first season of Euro League play. He won the Euro Cup championship with Joventut in 2008. He was also designated as the Spanish ACB League’s best point guard in 2008 and 2010. He has won the 2009–10 Euro League with FC Barcelona.
Despite his notability, he was carefully shielded. DKV
Joventut and Rubio’s parents agreed not to make him available for interviews
until his 18th birthday on October 21, 2008. However, the restrictions were
ended a few months early once he was selected for the Spanish national team
that would play at the 2008 Olympics.
Rubio won the 2008 Mr. Europa Award, which was given out yearly by the Italian Super basket Magazine. In 2009, his club Badalona raised the amount of money his contract paid per year from 80,000 euros net income to 300,000 euros net income. He was named the Defensive Player of the Year for the Spanish ACB League 2008–09 season, and he also led the league in steals that season. Rubio professed himself qualified for the 2009 NBA draft on 20 of April 2009. Rubio’s agent during that time was Dan Fegan. After the 2009 NBA draft, Rubio played for the Regal FC Barcelona for the next two seasons as agreed upon with the Minnesota Timberwolves. During that time, he helped the team win the Euro League Championship in 2010 and the Liga ACB Championship in 2011.
In Phoenix Suns 2019
On July 8, 2019, Rubio signed with the Phoenix Suns for
three-years, $51 million.
In Under-16 national team Spanish
In 2006, Rubio led the growing junior Spanish national team to the FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship. During the tournament, Rubio achieved two triple-doubles and a quadruple-double. In the 106–110 double-overtime finale victory over Russia, Rubio scored 51 points, the first player to do so in FIBA junior tournaments since Luol Deng, grabbed 24 rebounds, made 12 contributions, and garment the ball 7 times. He similarly forced the first overtime with a three-point, buzzer-beating shot from mid-court. Rubio was then named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament after leading it in points, rebounds, assists, and steals.
In Senior national team
The young Spaniard was selected to take part in the Spanish National Team which participated at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The team current and former NBA players such as Pau Gasol, José Calderón, Rudy Fernández, Marc Gasol, Raúl López, Jorge Garbajosa, and Juan Carlos Navarro, among others were calm.
He played in the 2008 Olympics Basketball Tournament’s gold medal game against the USA’s “Redeem Team”, and thus at 17 became the youngest basketball player to ever play in an Olympic basketball final. Rubio public the Spanish national team’s silver medal after his team hurt a 118–107 loss. The next year, he was selected to play for the Spanish team at the Euro Basket 2009 in Poland, where Spain won the gold medal by defeating Serbia 85–63.
Record of Medals
In the 2005 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship, he won Bronze.
In 2006 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship he won Gold
In Spanish senior national team
2008 Summer Olympics:
2016 Summer Olympics:
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Nick Nurse, who is coming off the Raptors’ championship and just took over as head coach of the national team, he knows how important his team’s seven exhibition games leading to the international rivalry are going to be in finding the right interaction between players. Olympic Basketball Fans from all over the world can book summerOlympic Basketball Tickets online from our trusted online ticketing market platform.
“We have to learn as fast as we can,” Nurse said. “Keep the good stuff, throw out the bad stuff and keep trying to tinker as fast as we can.”
Nineteen players exhibited for Day 1 of training
camp in Toronto on Monday. Since then, Nurse and his coaching staff have been
on the court twice with the team, carefully evaluating every step, shot and
Canada opens the World Cup in China on Sept. 1 against Australia. They’ll need to finish as one of the top two teams from the Americas to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. There are seven such teams at the World Cup. The others are the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.
Much has been made about who isn’t at training camp this
week in Toronto, but Nurse says he’ll do everything he can to get the most of
the players who are on the court wearing the maple leaf.
“I’m excited and proud of the guys that are here already,” he said. “This is a huge personal commitment away from family, but saying all that — it’s a tremendous honor.”
The coach is under no illusions about the difficulty of
qualifying for the Olympics.
“It’s going to take some guys to play better than they’ve ever played,” Nurse said.
One of the players he’ll be looking to for leadership is Cory Joseph. Joseph turns 28 this month and has been around the national team for longer than most on the roster.
“It doesn’t get old,” said. “I’m getting a little older but I’m still young. It’s an honor.”
Devin Heroux CBC news reporter, dialogs
with Toronto Raptors and Canadian Basketball team head coach Nick Nurse on the
challenges ahead for Canada imminent the FIBA World Cup.
Joseph knows it’s been far too long since Canada qualified
for the Olympics and would love nothing more than to help guide the team back
to the Games.
“When I was growing up, I watched Nash and guys
like Rowan Barrett and you know I watched them a lot,” Joseph said.
“And that inspired me to play basketball and just work on my game to hopefully one day be there. So it’ll mean a lot. It’ll be a dream come true.”
The challenge facing the team is as daunting as ever — qualifying for the Olympics for the first time since 2000 when Steve Nash led the team to the Sydney Games. But the star power and skill level have never been greater. And there’s no more momentum around basketball in Canada.
The Raptors won a historic NBA title. More Canadians than ever were selected in the NBA draft, including R.J. Barrett being selected third overall. Then Nurse agreed to take over the national team.
Finally, it appeared, Canada’s team was destined to live up
to the hype surrounding what is being called the golden age of basketball in
this country. Twenty-nine players were invited to camp, many of whom are
active NBA players.
Then, Canada’s camp started Monday morning, and the list of absent players was somewhat alarming. Barrett, Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Dwight Powell, Jamal Murray, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will not play at the World Cup come September.
Canada still has a cast of characters who will be competitive and have every opportunity to qualify.
Their best talent and most well-known players, Joseph and
Kelly Olynyk, will no doubt be leaned on heavily by Nurse. Joseph is an
eight-year veteran who averaged 6.5 points and 3.9 assists per game last season
for Indiana. Olynyk has six NBA seasons under his belt and just averaged 10.0
points and 4.7 rebounds for Miami.
The supporting cast surrounding Joseph and Olynyk has been
strengthened over the years — that’s the biggest difference now for Canada. The
drop-off from the top one or two players used to be dramatic. That isn’t the
“Those young guys are very talented,” Joseph said. “They’re coming out here playing hard and we’re all in.”
Those young guys Joseph is talking about include Khem Birch, Chris Boucher, and Oshae Brissett — all players who have some NBA experience and will play a crucial role in determining whether Canada qualifies for the Olympics or not.
There have been so many disappointing international events
over the past two decades for the team, something Nurse is well aware of and
hopes to change.
This is his team now. And he’s trying to do what he did with
the Raptors in his first season as head coach — get them to the top of the
“People say we can’t do this; we can’t do it. We don’t want to speak that way. We see the goal. We start visualizing it. We try to start convincing everybody around the program to become maybe even more than they think they can become. And that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
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