Canada Basketball trims men’s roster to 15

Canadian point guard Myck Kabongo will be attending camp with the NBA finalist San Antonio Spurs, according to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. (AP/Eric Gay)

Canada Basketball has released Carleton swingman Phil Scrubb and former Texas point guard Myck Kabongo to bring the training camp roster down to 15.

Head coach Jay Triano said it was a difficult decision to cut the two guards and that they will remain within Canada Basketball’s talent pool but ultimately still need time to develop.

“Phil had a great summer with us and he’s been on teams wearing the Canadian uniform this summer that have gone 17-2 and a lot has to do with him,” Triano said after practice Thursday. Scrubb was a major player on the student team.

“With Myck, we just think he needs a little bit more time in development. He’s going to go out to Vancouver and start working with Steve (Nash). Steve’s getting ready for next season and we’re going to have Myck go out there and learn how to be a point guard under Steve.”

The decision to have Kabongo work out with Nash was partly hatched by the Canada Basketball general manager himself.

“Before I made cuts I bounced ideas off (Nash) and we think Myck got better while he was here and has a bright future so we’re going to do whatever we can to help him.”

The remaining players will move on to Orlando for four days as they get set to play in the Tuto Marchand Cup, a five-team tournament which will feature South American powerhouses Brazil and Argentina. The tournament kicks off Aug. 22.

The Canadian coaching staff still need to make three additional cuts before they tip off in their attempt to qualify for next year’s World Cup at the FIBA Americas Tournament in Venezuela Aug. 30.

The four Canadian NBA players in camp, Andrew Nicholson (Orlando), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland), Joel Anthony (Miami) and Cory Joseph (San Antonio), are likely all locks to make the roster, along with national team veterans Jermaine Anderson, Andy Rautins and Levon Kendall.

Carl English, who has been sidelined by a hamstring injury, practiced for a short time Thursday and, although he isn’t 100 per cent, figures to be game ready.

“Feeling good, feeling much better,” English said. “Did almost an entire full practice today until you guys (the media) came in there. Legs, body is good. Banged up my elbow a little bit; just fell on the floor. But other than that things seem to be going good, camp is going well and everyone’s working hard and we’re improving.”

Kris Joseph, who finished last season on the Brooklyn Nets’ roster, has also been bothered by a knee injury but was able to practice Thursday so he may be ready to contribute in Venezuela as well.

That leaves six others in camp that may be fighting for as few as three open roster spots: Jevohn Shepard, Aaron Doornekamp, Brady Heslip, Junior Cadougan, Kyle Landry and Devoe Joseph.

Of those six players, Triano hinted that Cadougan and Doornekamp may be on his short list to make the squad as he’s been impressed with their tough, physical play in practice and during the exhibition games against Jamaica. Physicality is a large part of the international game – particularly in the FIBA Americas region in which Canada plays.

Triano also mentioned that he’d be willing to bring anywhere between four and six big men with him to Venezuela, a statement that bodes well for the six-foot-nine Landry.

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