Canada Basketball just announced the roster for the Men’s Team that will be playing at the Pan Am Games this week earlier today and to say it’s interesting is about right. The team will feature a mix of long time vets along with young rookies to the Senior level of the National Program, some of which are probably on their last run with the Senior Team.
This version of the Senior Team will have three players with NBA credentials along with three NCAA players (one an incoming freshman) as well as an assortment of overseas pros. Carl English and Aaron Doornekamp are the only players from the Leo Rautins era and will provide some leadership to the relatively young team. Former Carleton Raven Thomas Scrubb, Senior Team mainstay Jermaine Anderson and NPH Pro-Files diarist Olu Ashaolu were all left off the final roster.
Of the twelve players on this roster seven (Jamal Murray, Dillon Brooks, Daniel Mullings, Melvin Ejim, Kyle Wiltjer, Sim Bhullar, Anthony Bennett) are making their Senior Team debuts. All seven have been in the National Program before and have played on either a Cadet, Junior or Development Team previously. The remaining five (English, Doornekamp, Brady Heslip, Andrew Nicholson, Junior Cadougan) have played at least two summers with SMNT which gives some balanced experience over the front and backcourts.
This is obviously not the team that will be going to try and get an Olympic spot at the FIBA Americas later this summer but definitely consider it a try-out of sorts. I’m not entirely sure what will be the final head count of the top players with Canadian citizenship later on but a few of these players could possibly vie for a spot at the training camp depending on how they show out this week. There is almost a 50/50 cloud hanging over a few of the NBA who for the most part are awaiting contracts to be signed. The same is true of the non-NBA guys who could be looking for employment overseas this season. That means that who among our top pros will be committed to the team is still really up in the air, despite what they may say in the media, so if any one or two of these guys shows they can play in the system and help the team win you can bet they get a sniff in a few weeks.
Outside of that I really think this could be an exciting team to watch. In the world of FIBA basketball there always seems to be a reward for those that can either play in a system, flat out shoot the ball or play a two-man game. This squad has guys that can do these so enjoy the show.