Nick Nurse Set to Embark on New Challenge as Coach of Team Canada
It appears as though the Golden Age of Canada Basketball is set to be delayed yet again.
Despite omitting Andrew Wiggins from the initial invitee, Team Canada was set to present a powerhouse, NBA player-filled roster. September’s FIBA World Cup was set to be the beginning of Canada’s rise to becoming a staple nation on the international basketball scene.
A few weeks later after the impressive list of invitees was issued, Head Coach Nick Nurse’s squad has lost a ton of momentum. Tristan Thompson and Dwight Powell have since both turned down their offers in order to focus on their respective NBA teams. Then, the teams two biggest stars RJ Barrett and Jamal Murray have announced that they will miss the tournaments as they continue to work their way back from nagging injuries.
“Cory Joseph is in and ready to go. R.J. Barrett will be in camp but not participating. Tristan Thompson has pulled out of this session. And Dwight Powell just recently pulled out of the session as well,” Nurse confirmed during the interview on Monday morning.
R.J. Barrett (Knicks, calf strain) and Jamal Murray (Nuggets, ankle) expressing disappointment that they won’t be playing for Team Canada for FIBAs here at OVO Athletic Centre but will still take part in training camp taking place right now
— Harrison D. Sanford (@HarrisonSanford) August 5, 2019
Today, Canada released a shorted training camp list.
The 29-man list has now been cut down to 19 and the likes of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Brandon Clarke, and Dillon Brooks have all been left off, assuming each one is either focused on their respective NBA team or are dealing with some sort of injury. The only non-injured NBA players left on the list are Cory Joseph, Chris Boucher, Oshae Brissett, Khem Birch, and Kelly Olynyk.
The influx of talent is no more as Nurse is set to embark on yet another challenging journey and one that if he could not have expected when accepting the head coaching job.
Canada's roster for training camp is down to 19 from the original invite list of 29. pic.twitter.com/6pIA0JCN9i
— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) August 5, 2019
“We’re really at a beginning stage. I’ve just got to get to know everybody from the PR people to the medical people,” Nurse said. “I’ve got to get the vision in place here quickly because on Wednesday the ball is going up in front of people.”
The Canadians are set to play their first World Cup game on September 1st against Australia.
“I’ve coached in a lot of trenches and now I’ve got two of the best jobs in the world at the same time,” Nurse said. “I’m extremely honoured and humbled to have both these jobs and just like I did with the Raptors, I want to give this one everything I got.”
Overall, the news are disappointing as many expected Canada to enter the tournament as one of the more formidable nations. It will be interesting to see what Nurse does with what he is left with.