The picture became clearer today on who will compete for Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team during this Olympic summer, as Canada Basketball announced the 21 players who have accepted invites for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Victoria, B.C.
Part of this (very strong) group is Khem Birch, the only current Toronto Raptors player on the roster — though many former Raptors adorn the list. Anthony Bennett, Oshae Brissett, and Cory Joseph are also on the list of invitees. Twelve of the 21 listed will make the final squad.
One notable exception is Chris Boucher. According to Sportsnet’s Michael Grange, Boucher is not a firm “out” from participating with Canada Basketball, but has prioritized rehabbing a sprained knee this off-season.
Chris Boucher wanted to focus on rehabbing sprained knee to make sure he was 100% healthy heading into 21-22, which is why he declined @CanBball invite, per sources. Boucher, 28, has 1yr left on a team option with Raptors for this coming season and a free agent in summer of ‘22.
— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) May 27, 2021
The plan for those who are on the list is to train in Tampa, Florida using existing Raptors facilities — a convenient spot for Canada coach Nick Nurse — before travelling to Victoria, B.C. to take part in the qualifying tournament from June 29 to July 4. Even missing two big stars to injury in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jamal Murray, on paper this is the strongest squad that Canada has ever fielded, with both extensive international experience (Joseph, Kelly Olynyk) and NBA playoff experience (Dillon Brooks, Tristan Thompson).
It’s also the long-awaited international debut of Andrew Wiggins, who may not be the Canadian basketball saviour he was once pegged as, but is coming off his best professional season with the Warriors and whose game suits itself very well to FIBA ball.
Training camp begins June 16 and ends on June 24.