TORONTO — Darnell Nurse doesn’t know how he can keep up with his younger sister Kia.
Kia helped Canada win the FIBA Americas women’s championship on Sunday night, clinching an Olympic berth at the 2016 Rio Games. She was also instrumental in Canada’s gold-medal performance at the Pan American Games in Toronto earlier this summer.
"I’m not sure what I can do," said Darnell, a defenceman in the Edmonton Oilers’ organization. "Maybe I’ll have to get out of my comfort zone and challenge her to a one-on-one game on the street before I leave for Edmonton. We’ll see, I’ve got a lot of practising to do."
Asked if he’d played Kia at basketball recently, Darnell said that discretion had been the better part of valour.
"Not for a long time, I’m smarter than that," he said on Monday at a pre-season training camp in midtown Toronto. "That’d be tough on the confidence, going out there and losing to your little sister."
Kia scored 20 points as Canada beat Cuba 82-66 in the gold-medal game on Sunday in Edmonton. Canada needed to win the tournament to guarantee a trip to the upcoming Summer Olympics.
It’s only the second time that Canada has won the Americas tournament, previously winning it in 1995 in Hamilton — the Nurses’ hometown.
"I watched it and couldn’t be more proud," said Darnell of Kia’s performance. "It’s going to be exciting. I’m looking forward to booking my trip to Rio."
Kia also had 33 points, five rebounds and three assists in Canada’s 81-73 win over the United States for gold at the Pan American Games. That effort saw her named Canada’s flag-bearer at the Pan Am’s closing ceremony.
"It’s not a rivalry anymore," said Darnell. "I think we’re just each other’s biggest supporters, each other’s biggest fans. It was awesome to see her go out there and put on a performance like she did. She’s showing the type of leadership that she has. Her ability to step up in big moments it’s definitely inspiring. She’s one of my greatest inspirations to see what she’s doing now.
"I’m just looking forward to going and trying to one up her somehow in the next year."