The Pan Am Games are a memory and the big deal for the Senior Men’s National Team is qualifying for the Rio Olympics next summer.

To do that they will need to win the coming FIBA Americas Men’s Championship.  Canada Basketball had recently announced the training camp roster for trip to Mexico later this month and there is a decidedly different look.

The NPH Family provides their take on who would make their team that would try to make it to the Olympics right here.

What does your roster look like?

Brampton, ON's Anthony Bennett. (PHOTO: Canadian Press)

Brampton, ON’s Anthony Bennett. (PHOTO: Canadian Press)

Can Ball Ray

Starters

  • Kelly Olynyk
  • Dwight Powell
  • Andrew Wiggins
  • Nik Stauskas
  • Cory Joseph

  • Anthony Bennett
  • Melvin Ejim
  • Brady Heslip
  • Olivier Hanlan
  • Jamal Murray
  • Robert Sacre
  • Phil Scrubb

 

I’m going with what I think would make the most sense, for me at least, on the international stage. I’ve seen too many years of minus athleticism cost the Senior Men in FIBA events so I’ve opted for more of that with guys that can play and defend multiple spots. All the players, with the exception of one or two, can defend either big or small at their position. Huge plus. Also, there are more than a few dynamic offensive guys on this team with lots of inside/outside compliments in different lineups. This is something that that was missing on past teams. That is the money.

You’ll notice that there is no Andrew Nicholson on my team primarily because he’s tends to become a black hole with the ball on O and almost non-existent on D. If you remember the contest between Canada and the US at the Pan Am Games he was ejected and the team overall actually played better making a huge run eventually leading to a win. So yeah, for me Nicholson is out.

Lost Invite – Olu Ashaolu/Kyle Wiltjer – I was torn between Olu Ashaolu and Kyle Wiltjer. Olu is a Melvin Ejim type that can defend true fours and still be mobile enough to stretch the D some. Wiltjer is another multi-dimensional tall guy that can post, slash and shoot. I like them both and I’d begrudgingly switch Hanlan or Scrubb for either.

 

Tariq Sbiet

Jamal Murray representing Canada well | image FIBA/ Reel Motion Imaging

Jamal Murray representing Canada well | image FIBA/ Reel Motion Imaging

Starters

  • Corey Joseph
  • Nik Stauskas
  • Andrew Wiggins
  • Andrew Nicholson
  • Kelly Olynyk

  • Jamal Murray
  • Brady Heslip
  • Anthony Bennett
  • Melvin Ejim
  • Dwight Powell
  • Aaron Doornekamp
  • Rob Sacre

Side Note – First off the bench: Jamal Murray – You can plug him in at either guard spots.

I have made my picks based on role definition, as I believe that chemistry will be vital to Canada’s success. Anytime a team is loaded with talent, players must adapt and excel in their new roles, while contributing to the team using their strengths.

The starting five was fairly easy for me to decide when taking into account the combination of overall talent and experience. The rest needed some more thought, with emphasis on toughness, roles and defensive capabilities.

My final two selections were Aaron Doornekamp and Rob Sacre as bonafide intangible providers. Doornekamp brings great toughness and grit, which will be required game in and game out. Designated enforcer.

Sacre will provide positive energy on and off the floor and assist with team chemistry.

You won’t count on either Doornekamp or Sacre to score the basketball but you will depend on them to make plays that swing momentum and bring the team together.

Lost Invite – Tristan Thompson – Canada has more than enough talent to qualify for the Olympics but Tristan is a very unique and rare player that you cannot replace. Good luck to the men that will ultimately represent the maple leaf, but IF they don’t manage to get the job done…many, including myself will certainly begin thinking “what if” Tristan Thompson was on the roster? 

 

Andrew Nicholson on the box out | Courtesy: @RonnieMexx

Andrew Nicholson on the box out | Courtesy: @RonnieMexx

Srdjan Pejicic

Starters

  • Cory Joseph
  • Brady Heslip
  • Andrew Wiggins
  • Kelly Olynyk
  • Andrew Nicholson

  • Jamal Murray
  • Phil Scrubb
  • Robert Sacre
  • Sim Bhullar
  • Dwight Powell
  • Anthony Bennett
  • Nik Stauskas
  • Carl English

The starting line up of Cory, Brady, Wiggins, Kelly and Nicholson will force teams to not have the ability to over help or double off of anyone as each player is a good shooter/can get to the rim easily of the reversal. I put Brady in the starting 5 because he has proved himself at every level as well as he will be WIDE OPEN with all the pressure Wiggins and the skill low post work of Kelly and Nicholson.

Every team needs veteran presence on a team and to provide a boost off the bench when maturity needs to be shown. That’s why I added Sacre and English. I believe everyone will be surprised how well Dwight Powell plays and how useful he is for Team Canada. He can adapt to any style of game as well as he doesn’t shy away from contact. He’s a perfect 4 man for the FIBA game.

Lost Invite – Olu Ashaolu – A player that needs to be invited to the roster is Pro-Files diarist Olu Ashaolu aka the human highlight film. After another dominate season in Japan he proved yet again that he is a man among boys. He doesn’t back off of any challenge. Putting him in the scrimmages would increase the physicality in the post and make most bigs move due to his ability to put the ball in the floor and shoot the outside shot. Also most people are scared to jump with him.

 

Melvin Ejim holds it down for Canada | image FIBA/ Reel Motion Imaging

Melvin Ejim holds it down for Canada | image FIBA/ Reel Motion Imaging

Deon Wilson

Starters

  • PG Cory Joseph
  • SG Nik Stauskas
  • SF Andrew Wiggins
  • F Anthony Bennett
  • C Kelly Olynyk

  • Brady Heslip
  • Aaron Doornekamp
  • Dwight Powell
  • Jamal Murray
  • Melvin Ejim
  • Andrew Nicholson
  • Robert Sacre

Predicting the team assembly of probably Canada’s most talented senior men’s roster has to take in account international versatility and defending and generating points from beyond the arc.

As we saw at the Pan Am games the rotation got shorter as the games wore on.  With greater talent on this roster that won’t be a factor but as roles settle out I see Brady Heslip, Aaron Doornekamp, Dwight Powell and Jamal Murray being major contributors off the bench.  Rounding out the 12-man roster will be Melvin Ejim, Andrew Nicolson and Robert Sacre.  Another possibility is for Doornekamp to slide into the starting roster as Mr. Intangible and Wiggins moving to the SG to give some serious pop off the bench with Stauskas.

Again back to the Pan Am Games I felt that Canada broke down to individual heroics to deliver success instead of combined team flow.  This can be a trap for this team as Wiggins can do major damage but really looking for the sum to be greater than the individual parts … Olympics here we come.

Lost Invite – Kevin Pangos – Kevin Pangos is a guy that could have made an impact.  His ability to shoot the ball as well as direct a team fluently are exceptional skills on the international level and are akin to what Steve Nash brought his early National Team days.

 

Odessa, ON's Aaron Dornekamp. (PHOTO: Dave Abel, Toronto Sun)

Odessa, ON’s Aaron Doornekamp. (PHOTO: Dave Abel, Toronto Sun)

 

Devin Gray

Starters

  • Cory Joseph
  • Nik Stauskas
  • Andrew Wiggins
  • Anthony Bennett
  • Kelly Olynyk

 

  • Andrew Nicholson
  • Robert Sacre
  • Phil Scrubb
  • Olivier Hanlan
  • Brady Heslip
  • Melvin Ejim
  • Aaron Doornekamp

The big three from my starting lineup are Cory Joseph, Nik Stauskas and Andrew Wiggins. Joseph is already entrenched as the floor general for Team Canada he’s now joined Canada’s Team in Toronto with the Raptors. Not much competition for him at the spot but he’s definitely earned it. Stauskas is a shooting threat with some defensive toughness will give Canada some space to breathe on offence without too much of a drop-off at the other end. Spotted courtside at Pan Am games wishing he could have played. You can pencil Wiggins in here for the next 15 years and see him in his prime in the 2024 Olympics in Toronto. Canada’s best talent ever produced will see his share of touches though it’s not clear how he’d change his game for the international style.  Bennett and Olynyk round out the five.

FYI: (Watching the end of Team Canada practice at the ACC the four aforementioned ballers were participating in white jerseys, the same colour the starters wore for the Pan Am team before the starters were named. Bennett was taking the day off for rest and his play this summer should lock this spot in.)

My 6th man is Andrew Nicholson. He led the team in scoring during Pan Am play he’ll be back for sure but might be best used off the bench as a scoring weapon with the wealth of forwards Canada now has. Olynyk should draw the start, and he balances better with Bennett.

Rob Sacre should replace Sim Bhullar as the rim-protector

Triano mentioned Phil Scrubb and Olivier Hanlan when I asked him who else does he see handling the ball. Stauskas and Brady Heslip were specifically mentioned too. No mention of Jamal Murray, which probably means the NCAA, is making him go to school.

The big question is what happens to Aaron Doornekamp and Carl English, both veteran international players who started on the Pan Am team but didn’t produce much. If all the players above make the team and Triano wants to keep this duo then two NBA players in Dwight Powell and Melvin Ejim would get cut. Don’t count on it. My best guess: Ejim and Doornekamp make the team.

Lost Invite – Daniel Mullings – One Player I’d like to see who wasn’t invited to camp is Daniel Mullings who really impressed me with his athleticism and defence at the Pan Am Games. He was left off this training camp roster perhaps because he’s nursing some injuries, but his ability to rip a steal to start transition or soar out of nowhere to grab a rebound over a smaller player will be missed.

Ray Bala

Written by Ray Bala

Can Ball Ray has been a freelance writer for a few years and Canadian basketball junkie since the he found out Rowan Barrett was heading to St. John's on a full ride. He's spent many sleepness nights and many billable hours searching and tracking the many Canucks that play basketball online. When he's not writing about the game in Canada he's looking for new basketball sneakers or searching for vintage Nike Flight suits online ... or changing diapers.

Website: http://www.NorthPoleHoops.com

22 thoughts on “Who Would you Select for your Canadian Men’s Basketball Roster?

  1. Nate says:

    I haven’t heard much about Pangos and team Canada this summer. Although it was cool to see him suit up for the Mavs in the NBA Summer league (but with 24 teams, what decent college player didn’t make a roster). At this point in his career it’s obvious the NBA is not an option, but I thought he would at least be a staple on the Canadian national teams. After a great college career, did he just not develop into that ‘next level’ type of player? Anybody have any thoughts on this? And Why?

  2. Myles says:

    Cory Nik Wigs Kelly Nicholson Bennett and Haslip are locks IMO. You need a bonafide 7fter so NBA vet Sacre makes it. You need to address ball handling and leadership from the back court and so Phil Scrubb becomes a no brainer to me (with Jamal and Olivier as backups who cam play both guard spots) leaving 1 spot which becomes Melvin who can at behind Wigs and provide a utility small ball PF role.. Depending on the style we play you could look at Aaron or Dwight to replace one of the backcourt players, most likely Dwight replacing Murray.
    Obviously since Tristan and Ennis cannot play I’ll make my Lost Invite. I’ll take the Gonzaga duo of Pangos (great floor general) and Wiltger (maybe the best stretch 4 in the NCAA) whom I’d have invited regardless (they’re chemistry undeniable). They must have been omitted knowing neither would make the roster which leads me to Trey Lyles, whom I believe might be the best big outside of Thompson and Olynyck a summer from now.

  3. ws says:

    Devan Gray and Deon Wilson seem the most tuned in to what is going on (really Can Ball Ray? No Nicholson?)
    With rumors of Murray being out (No surprise really – where is the scoop guys?) I think it really comes down to this.

    Cory Joseph
    Nik Stauskas
    Andrew Wiggins
    Anthony Bennett
    Kelly Olynyk

    Andrew Nicholson
    Robert Sacre
    Carl English
    Olivier Hanlan (or Scrubb)
    Brady Heslip
    Dwight Powell
    Aaron Doornekamp

    I do think Bennett/Olynyk mix better than Nicholson/Olynyk and Nicholson’s offensive punch can be very valuable in a reserve role. I think Powell is too versatile to leave off this team and Sacre is a far, far better and more valuable than Bhullar.

    Also Doornekamp’s role player status, FIBA experience and his ability to play SF will get him on the team over Ejim (even though I wish that wasnt true). English by experience alone should be on this team (listen to Nash/Triano harp on and on about the need for vet experience and leadership and how different FIBA ball is to NBA/NCAA).

    Lastly it come down to Scrubb v Hanlan for the back-up PG spot. The coaching staff may have more confidence and familiarity with Scrubb than Hanlan. But that spot is up in the air to me. You need to ask what is needed from a back up PG?

    For Nate – it seems Pangos decided not to participate in SMNT duties this summer in order to focus on Summer League and then get to Spain early to get his rookie season off on the right foot (common for most going into their rookie season). KP will be around in the future – the kids bleeds maple syrup.

    1. Fake Rapper says:

      Does anyone know what players are standing out in camp?

  4. Paul says:

    Pejicic’s team has 13 guys.

    I think the three cuts will be Bhullar, Ejim, and English

    Sacre over Bhullar for the true C role is a no-brainer. I don’t think there is any chance they take both and cut Powell.

    I like Ejim, but staff views him as a PF (he didn’t play a minute at SF at the PanAms), and Canada is stacked at PF. Doornekamp is the only viable backup 3, and I think he makes it over Ejim.

    Toughest call is at guard. Hanlan, Scrubb, and English battling for two spots behind Joseph, Stauskas, and Heslip. I can see this going either way, but my guess is they cut English. His game is too similar to that of Stauskas and Heslip. Hanlan and Scrubb bring different things to the table, including ability to play the point.

    Its really too bad they aren’t waiting until after Marchand to make the cuts – would be nice to see how Scrubb and Hanlan do in some FIBA games before making the decision.

    Missing invite: In addition to the ones discussed, how about Kris Joseph? Yes, he has been mediocre since leaving Syracuse, and he left camp under somewhat mysterious circumstances in 13, but it would be nice to have someone competing with Doornekamp for the backup SF position.

  5. FFS says:

    Really have to wonder about the writer’s bias sometimes. The go to backup guard first off the bench is Phil Scrubb, with a dogfight for minutes with Olivier Hanlan. Jamal Murray before either of them? Cmon. Seriously, cmon.

    1. Tariq Sbiet Tariq Sbiet says:

      @FFS – Thanks for your comments. But I’m wondering what you mean by Bias, and if you know the definition of bias? Bias to who? Phil Scrubb is a kid I have covered for the last 5 years+ just like all these guys. – I’m very in tuned with all the players on the roster have known them for a long time. That said, we found Jamal Murray in Kitchener a couple years ago and the kid has excelled on EVERY stage. That boy is special, mark my words. I want you to know that I have never seen anything like him in 10 years. No bias. #GameSpeaks – I want to make sure you understand who Jamal Murray is and what he is capable of. He has the size at PG or SG and is a two way player. Phil can’t defend like Jamal, and olivier Hanlan isn’t a PG…yet. Remember this…Jamal Murray is the 2nd best to Cory Joseph at the position and could over take him in due time, but I will not give it to J yet…Cory is an NBA champion. For you to say a comment like that, shows me that you are not familiar with who Jamal Murray REALLY is. He is the future and he proved it in the present (PAN AMS). I’m going to war with him any day of the week, and if he didn’t have school obligations, he would likely be on this teem. Once again, no bias…that’s silly. #GameSpeaks

      1. ws says:

        @Tariq – saying you “found” Jamal sort of tips your cards. You guys are too emotionally attached to some of these high school age kids. It permeates all over this website. Most don’t turn out to be much more than midlevel NCAA players – yet they get hyped so much here. Jamal is certainly a deserving exception and do think he will be special. But your team typically doesn’t come across as impassioned unbiased observers. Which you should be if you consider yourselves journalists – or if you guys want your writings to be considered anything more than hypey bloggy fanboy posts. You guys are filling a good niche here and are putting out good stuff – but I think you need to take a step back and emotionally disengage a bit.
        Is Murray really so clearly better than Tyler Ennis right now? How about Pangos? Or Jermaine Anderson for that matter? I’d take any of them as a back up PG over Murray right now. Hanlan and Scrubb too. Jamal has some great offensive games in the PanAms but he played horrible defense and looked overwhelmed at times. As FFS said, he is green, and very inexperienced. The tools and upside sure seem there – he is obviously far more advanced than almost all other 18 year olds in the world. It seems he is on track to be far better than Scrubb once he is Scrubb’s age but he is fundamentally not someone for Team Canada should be relying on at this point. It is human nature to get caught up on the “next big thing” and saying “we called it!”. This is fine for us message board goons but if you guys want to be taken seriously you may want to pull back on the hyperbole. Not too long ago Myck Kabongo was the next big thing. Junior Caduogan and Kevin Pangos before that. Not everyone progresses at the same trajectory – some plateau, some keep going, some fade away. Not everyone is a Wiggins. However we are all hoping Murray is the next big thing for Canada. I just don’t think his is there yet. Anyways – no offense – I appreciate what you guys are doing, but think you can do better.

        1. Nik Zefi says:

          Thanks for the comment WS, it shows that you are a passionate fan of Canadian basketball. When commenting that you would take Jermaine Anderson over Murray at this point a lot of red flags are raised. The rock is a great player, but Murray put on a historic performance on a former NBAer in Bobby Brown. Who is a better 6th man option at this point because Corey Joseph has the starting point locked down. Known as a energy, tempo changing, scoring position, you are saying the rock is more suitable for the 6th man role? I cant follow that logic. Anderson, 35, a great steady, consitent player, but no where near the scorer, energy player, tempo changer, Murray, 18, is. At this point no one is for the Canadian basketball team. Hanlan can score but his playmaking isnt at murrays level. Ennis can play make but his scoring isnt at Murrays level. Pangos, with all due respect, is simply not close. The kid is on his way to stardom and thats no BIAS, and all #gamespeaks.

      2. FFS says:

        1. Thanks for illustrating the classic textbook definition of bias.

        2. What WS said, below.

        3. What big name older international guards has Murray triumphed over, again?

  6. Myles says:

    The real questions surrounding this team are rim protection, and offensive flow. Defensively we have some good individual defenders but we lack size and shot blocking ability in the paint. Offensively, are we going to play small ball screen roll, are we going to play through the block, are we going to play through Wiggins?. I see us most successful playing Spur basketball. Ball movement, aggressive individual defense without fouling. If were gonna qualify through this tournament we need Cory and Andrew to be tourny stars.

  7. Robert Bertuzzi says:

    Why does everyone seem to think that Scrubb is a better player than Hanlan?

    Scrubb is the best CIS player I have ever seen. But while he was playing against Western and Windsor and Algoma and Algoma and Laurentian Hanlan was playing against Jerian Grant, Tyus Jones, Marcus Paige, Melo Trimble, etc.

    Despite his poor showing in Vegas I’d go so far to say that Hanlan has a better offensive game than Joseph and that he brings to the team something it lacks with his ability to create off the dribble where he can get to the rim or rely on his excellent mid-range game.

    When Scrubb played in those exhibition games against Jamaica in ’13 at the Mattamy he did not look like he belonged on the floor. The bit I saw of him play on the European tour showed marked improvement but it is still not clear to me why he is a seeming favourite over Hanlan.

    With Murray ruled out my first two cuts are Bhullar and English. The small forward position behind Wiggins is a bit of a mess. But if the coaching staff don’t see Ejim playing the three at all then he’s probably cut because of the glut of fours.

    Perhaps Stauskas can play the three with Hanlan or Scrubb teaming with Joseph in the backcourt on occasion. Either that or Doornekamp is going to have to play between 10-15 minutes a game with so many games in so few days. With the lack of depth at the three it might have been worth bringing K. Joseph to camp, but whatever happened in ’13 was certainly odd. It was announced, I believe, that he had left the team because he had signed in China. But I think he ended up going to an NBA training camp in the fall and then over to France.

  8. Fake Rapper says:

    The starters should be

    Cory Joseph (Defense/leadership)

    Nik Stauskas (3pt threat/ additional ballhandler)

    Andrew Wiggins (great versatility on both ends)

    Dwight Powell (perfect skill set for the team offensive and defensive philosophies)

    Kelly Olynyk (stretch 5/allows wiggs to ocuppy post)

  9. IceManLikeGervin says:

    STARTERS:

    C Olynyk
    PF Nicholson
    SF Wiggins
    SG Stauskas
    PG Joseph

    BENCH:

    Sacre
    Bhullar
    Powell
    Bennett
    Ejim
    Hanlan
    Heslip

    SMNT veteran Joel Anthony deserved a camp invite especially with Tristan Thompson sitting out as he provides championship veteran leadership and toughness plus is a positive in the locker room. Wiggins may end up playing the whole game at SF for Canada depending on the score of the contest same with CoJo at the point. I predict FIBA Americas gold for this group. CHT Forum http://www.canadianbasketball.net/chtboard/index.php .

  10. James Kardashian says:

    The most important part of this team is how much will the second unit separate themselves vs other benches

  11. Paul says:

    Robert Bertuzzi,
    I don’t think many are saying that Scrubb is better than Hanlan, only that he is at least as likely to be selected.

    I would prefer they take Hanlan, but given the staff’s higher familiarity with Scrubb, I would not be surprised if they take him. Of course its not either/or, as maybe they take both and cut English.

  12. FFS says:

    Absolutely agree with Paul above. Didn’t mean to indicate that Scrubb would get picked over Hanlan, both of them belong on the team and will dog it out for minutes. Biggest point was the ridiculous claim that Murray would get the nod over either of them. Notwithstanding a decent showing for us at Pan-Am, he looked very green still, is very young and when put up against the better/more experienced international guards, this showed. Having watched Murray recently, and both Hanlan and Scrubb extensively over the last 2-3 years, I maintain that any writer picking Murray over either of them is suffering from media-darling hype bias and needs to reevaluate their understanding of high level international competition. He did well for us at Pan Am, yes, it was a great opportunity for him to show what he can become..but he’s not there yet at age 18 and key here is the absence of Joseph, Hanlan and Scrubb. Any thought that Triano wouldn’t have jumped at the opportunity to have those guys on the squad for Pan-Am first and foremost is..well, think again.

  13. Robert Bertuzzi says:

    Looks as though Doornekamp, Ejim, Hanlan, and Scrubb still in the mix for final roster spot. This process for securing the final roster position will literally play out at Tuto Marchand.

  14. ws says:

    FFS – keep in mind where you are as this website is all about the hype. This is who they are.
    Unbiased is not a thing here.
    Just saying….

  15. Devin Gray Devin Gray says:

    All about the hype since ’09!

  16. IceManLikeGervin says:

    Jamal ‘The Equalizer’ Murray > Hanlan or Scrubb…….age ain’t nothing but a number…..

    1. FFS says:

      Lol. Gotta love Canadian Bball politics

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