Canada is starting to make waves in basketball. Most hardcore basketball fans are aware Canada was able to qualify teams on all 4 levels for the FIBA World Championships. In the first of those Championships, Canada's under 18 women were able to bring home a bronze medal. Canada defeated Chile 81-42 after a narrow loss to Brazil 50-49 in the semi-finals. This was the kick-off to a summer full of events.
Currently the Canadian Men's under 18 team just concluded group play today with a loss to Brazil 83-78 despite 20 points and 12 rebounds from Myck Kabongo who has already committed to Texas for the 2011-2012 season. He could potentially join Corey Joseph and Tristian Thompson who start as freshman there this fall. Canada was able to knock off Uruguay 76-52 and Puerto Rico 100-83 prior to the loss to Brazil. They have qualified to advance to the semi-finals and will face the winner of Argentina and the United States. But regardless Canada at worse will have a shot at another medal in this tournament.
Unfortunately if you want to see these games you are forced to head online to watch them. The Fiba website provides a video feed to all the games from San Antonio. The medal round takes place June 30th with the Semi-Finals set for tomorrow. As for the rest of the Summer the Men's World Championship takes place August 28th to September 12th in Turkey.
Canada will complete in Group D which features France (Who they will play in an exhibition game at the ACC prior to Tournament), Spain, New Zealand, Lithuania and Lebanon . Which just by my limited knowledge of international basketball sounds tough. Although both Tony Parker for France and Pau Gasol for Spain are expected to take a pass on the Worlds. Canada also takes on China in an exhibition game on August 10 prior to the 2 games vs France at the ACC on the 12th and 13th. While the ladies head to Czech Republic from Sept. 23 to Oct 3rd for the Women's World Championships.They will be in group A with China, Belarus and Australia.
While I am on this whole Canadian Content theme. Joel Anthony who will be playing for Canada in those World Championships is now a free agent. The Raptors likely could use a legit option or two at center. It is not likely going to be a pleasant season for the Raptors if the off-season plays out as bad as it could. I think to add the first ever Canadian Raptor could soften the blow for me. Joel Anthony is a decent to good NBA player. He is not likely to be an expensive guy to sign. It seems to make a ton of sense to me that the Raptors should make a serious attempt to bring him home to Canada.
While many see the idea of Canadian on the Raptor roster as not a priority. I disagree, and think in a year where you watch yet another superstar leave Toronto to return to the United States, why not bring home one of our own? Anthony has never had a really chance to play big minutes, and if Bosh leaves you could expect Andrea Bargnani to move over to the 4. So I close this with my humble advice to the Raptors to buy Canadian. If they don't there will be other chances with Thompson, Joesph and Kabongo to draft Canadian, all being realistic NBA Prospects at this point.