The Canadians will have a big challenge on Sunday as they start the World Cup against Australians in Dongguan, China.
Standing 23rd in the world, the Canadian men's team has to contend with a shortage of NBA players. Indeed, only Cory Joseph (Sacramento Kings) and Khem Birch (Orlando Magic) joined the team of coach Nick Nurse. The Australians, 11th in the FIBA standings, have five NBA players in their lineup.
Despite a difficult match, Nurse believes the experience itself is worth it. "It will only be fun for me," said Nurse at a press conference. I had never been to Australia (where the Canadian team played five preliminary games). I had never been to China. I am fascinated every day. It's an adventure. "
However, do not believe that Canada will play a role of spectator during this month of September in China. "It's really a pleasure to coach Canada. The boys have played solid basketball recently and they want to win. Not only that, they are good, "he said of his training.
Nurse is the current coach of the reigning NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors. The American is well acquainted with the Australian squad, having faced him when he was an assistant coach with Great Britain.
"They are good and experienced," Nurse said of Australians. I faced them at the 2012 London Olympics and they have a squad similar to that of seven years ago. I also meet many of their players in the NBA.
Canada will have its first meeting at 3:30 am Eastern Time, as 12 hours in time zone separate China from Canada. The Canadian troupe will then face Lithuania (6th in the world ranking) and Senegal (33rd) to finish its preliminary round.