Canada Basketball announces 14-player core for upcoming men's World Cup qualifiers

Will Lou is joined by Blake Murphy as they discuss Canada Basketball's announcement that detailed what they expect from their core group of players via their commitment to the team over the next three years.

Canada Basketball announced a 14-player core for this summer's FIBA men's World Cup qualifiers, highlighted by NBA talents Jamal Murray, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and RJ Barrett.

All 14 have made a three-year commitment to the senior men's national team and will represent Canada between now and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The 2023 FIBA men's World Cup takes place from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10, 2023, in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.

One of the notable players missing from the list of 14 players is Andrew Wiggins, who's currently one win from making the NBA Finals with the Golden State Warriors.

Canada head coach Nick Nurse said Wiggins hasn't ruled out playing for Canada, but couldn't commit to the three-year summer plan.

Nurse, who coaches the Toronto Raptors, also said: "If you commit you're in...if you don't commit, you're going to have to hope there is a spot," according to Sportsnet's Eric Smith.

He and team general manager Rowan Barrett later added that Wiggins and others that haven't joined could play, but only if one of the 14 players is unavailable.

Core 14 Players:

Nickeil Alexander-Walker — Utah Jazz (NBA)
RJ Barrett — New York Knicks (NBA)
Khem Birch — Toronto Raptors (NBA)
Oshae Brissett — Indiana Pacers (NBA)
Dillon Brooks — Memphis Grizzlies (NBA)
Luguentz Dort — Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA)
Zach Edey — Purdue (NCAA)
Melvin Ejim — Cedevita Olimpija (Slovenia)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA)
Cory Joseph — Detroit Pistons (NBA)
Jamal Murray — Denver Nuggets (NBA)
Kelly Olynyk — Detroit Pistons (NBA)
Kevin Pangos — Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)
Dwight Powell — Dallas Mavericks (NBA)

Canada Basketball also announced the men's team will host the Dominican Republic in a qualifier on July 1 in Hamilton. Canada will then face the U.S. Virgin Islands on the road in Saint Thomas on July 4 to wrap up the third window of qualification. Canada will also have World Cup qualifiers in November and February.

The men's team is in Group C of qualification with the Dominican Republic, U.S. Virgin Islands and Bahamas, and is currently 4-0 through two windows of competition. Twelve of the 16 teams in this round of qualifying advance. Seven teams from the final round will earn a spot at the World Cup.

The Canadian men missed out on the Tokyo Olympics, losing 103-101 in overtime to the Czech Republic in the semifinals of an Olympic qualifying tournament last July in Victoria. The Czechs went on to win the event and book their ticket to Tokyo.

Nurse says that experience showed the need for continuity in the national team program. 

The Canadian men have not made the Olympics since 2000 in Sydney, Australia.

Canada is currently ranked 18th in the FIBA men's basketball world rankings.

With files from The Canadian Press

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