Ironically I was in Toronto today, but was not able to attend the press conference that announced Jay Triano as the New Coach of Team Canada. You may recall that I was a pretty harsh critic of Jay's time as the head coach of the Raptors. I was also though a harsh critic of Canada Basketball for letting him go and hiring Leo Rautins as his replacement. Jay never should have lost his job as the Head Coach of Canada Basketball. Their reasons for doing so were foolish and short sighted. Triano's involvement with U.S basketball spoke to just how stupid it was. If the best nation in the world in terms of overall talent felt Triano could offer them something maybe that was a sign to what was wrong with Canada Basketball for not seeing what they had in Jay Triano.
While the Raptors did not land Steve Nash, Canada Basketball did. The firing of Triano regardless of what people want to say on the record strained the programs relationship with Nash. They were able to mend fences and bring in Steve Nash to run the program as the GM. It was highly speculated at the time this would lead to a return of Triano to the job he never should have lost. Today that speculation became reality. Triano returns at a vital point in the history of this program. There has never been a time with so much young Canadian Talent in basketball in the history of this country. If you are a hoops junkie the list does not end with Joel Anthony, Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph. DNB readers have got to know Myck Kabongo as well, as we built a relationship with him prior to his going to Texas where Thompson and Joesph starred for the Longhorns. If you haven't heard the name Andrew Wiggins and you are a hoops fan you might well be asleep at the wheel. He is considered the best player in North America not in the NCAA or NBA. He continues to amaze scouts and people have huge expectations for his future.
The list of talented players is long and not only was Triano announced as coach, he is getting right to work with a camp being held over the weekend in Toronto. The list of who will be there is a who's who of Canadian Basketball. If these guys were hockey players they would all likely be known from coast to coast. This list below came from North Pole Hoops twitter feed, which if you have any interest in the future of Canadians in basketball is honestly one of the best sites on the internet if not the best.
Braeden Anderson, Jermaine Anderson, Joel Anthony, Khem Birch, Junior
Cadougan, Aaron Doornekamp, Justin Edwards, Brady Heslip, Cory Joseph, Devoe Joseph, Kris Joseph, Myck Kabongo, Owen Klassenm Trey Lyles,
Andrew Nicholson, Kelly Olynyk, Kevin Pangos, Dyshawn Pierre, Dwight
Powell, Laurent Rivardm, Robert Sacre Philip Scrubb, Jevohn Shepherd, Nick Stauskas, Tristan Thompson, Kyle Wiltjer
This is step one of the Nash/Triano reign of Canada basketball and it is damn impressive. Canada failed to qualify a team on the men's side of basketball in the recent London Olympics. If Nash and Triano can keep this pool of talent that is out there engaged and committed to the program it should mean the end of Canada just worrying about qualifying for the Olympics or World Championships. The Olympics in Rio in 2016 could be a coming out party for basketball in this country. Something for people who have been desperate to have reason to get behind Canada Basketball. The reason to do it with all their heart and soul. We watched a pretty big moment for soccer in this country in London with the ladies bringing home a bronze medal. In Rio 2016 while a medal might be dreaming very big, this is a group that potentially could be that good. When you consider what Triano was able to do with a team that had Steve Nash and a lot of supporting players that were several levels below him. It only stands to reason with this amazing pool of talent Triano could far exceed what he accomplished with Nash in Sydney in 2000. The days of people moaning on both sides of table on if Steve Nash should play for Canada again can finally call it a day. Truth is we have a talent base that doesn't require him to step on the floor. However his legacy when he did and what he has accomplished in the NBA will go a long way in selling these young stars and future stars on banding together to represent Canada and maybe shock the entire World a little.
Both Nash and the Raptors have build a legacy or a generation of basketball talent in this country. I have spoke with some of these guys and they all have nothing but praise for Nash and all have a story about being Raptor fans. While the Raptors success for themselves has been far from good. They have accomplished one of the goals of this organization. It was to grow the game in this country. All of those kids watching Vince Carter and Mighty Mouse have grown up and are pretty good. It makes you smile as a Raptor Fan, a basketball fan and as a Canadian.