After flaming out of the FIBA World Cup in September, 2019 won’t go down as a banner year for Canada Basketball. It’s beginning to look like 2020 could be a whole lot better though, thanks to Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray announcing he’ll play for his country next summer.
Playing for my country is always an honour and I want to take the step and leadership role to commit to @canadabasketball this summer. I want to play my part to help push our team into the Olympics and compete at the highest world stage. Let’s go Canada🇨🇦🇨🇦
— Jamal Murray (@BeMore27) November 26, 2019
Murray is in the midst of a strong 2019-20 campaign where he’s averaging 18.9 points per game and shooting 36.5 percent from three-point range. The 22-year-old will bring some much-needed pedigree to a Canadian side that has traditionally struggled to bring its stars into the fold.
It’s too early to tell whether Murray’s presence will entice some of the bigger names north of the border to suit up, but it’s getting easier and easier to dream on a possible Canadian roster.
Great get by Michael here. So Murray is in, Brooks says he’s in, you gotta believe RJ is in, plus Birch and presumably Olynyk and Joseph. That’s a pretty good nucleus for @CanBball https://t.co/AR31QyvXH7
— Dan Shulman (@DShulman_ESPN) November 26, 2019
According to Sportsnet’s Steven Loung, that roster could also include big man Chris Boucher who’s establishing himself as an NBA-calibre role player with the Toronto Raptors this year.
In recent years Canadian talent has been ascendant in the NBA, but that has yet to translate to success for the national team. Murray’s decision on Monday could go a long way towards bridging the gap between Canada’s potential and its results in international competition.
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