"Now we get to play in the quarter finals of a FIBA World Championship, and that’s a good thing for Canada."Point guard Cory Joseph (younger brother of Devoe Joseph, a sophomore guard with Minnesota in the Big Ten) had his second efficient 20-point night (9-for-14 shooting) and Gonzaga-bound wing Mangisto Arop hooped 18. As so often happens with a Canadian national team in a non-ice-based sport, there's always a twist. Canada was a missed three-point shot from coming out ahead in a three-way tie-breaker with Argentina and Spain and avoiding a quarter-final matchup vs. the Americans. (All three teams ended up 3-3; Canada was plus-3 in the head-to-head matchups, Argentina was plus-7 and Spain was minus-10).
Learned hoops chroniclers such as the Toronto Star's Doug Smith have said there are great things starting to happen with Canada Basketball, notwithstanding the loss of the National Elite Development Agency. Canada's been in every game at the U19s; they were in the game all the way in their losses to Australian, Croatia and Spain. A basket here, a stop there, you know.
Who knows how it will shake out Friday vs. Team USA. The Americans should always win a major basketball tourney, but hey, Canada gets to take a shot on Friday. That's a building block.
Smith has been posting each morning on the team at his blog and Gregg Drinnan at Taking Note has been having regular e-mail exchanges with Canada forward Kelly Olynyk, who will be joining Arop and Vancouver swingman Bol Kong at Gonzaga in a few weeks.
Composed Canada move through (FIBA.com)