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JWalk126
06-29-2008, 05:20 AM
Source: FIBA (http://www.fiba.com/pages/eng/fc/news/lateNews/p/newsid/26190/arti.html)

TORONTO (FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men) – Canada coach Leo Rautins couldn’t be happier with the competition for places in the squad ahead of next month’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

The Canadians are at their national team training camp in Toronto, gearing up for the event where three spots for the Beijing Games are on offer.

It is a marked contrast to just three years ago when Canada were preparing for the FIBA Americas Championship.

“In 2005, we were trying to find 12 guys to put on the floor, and here we’re in a situation where we have to make a tough decision,” said Rautins on www.basketball.ca.

“There are guys here who in a normal year would have no issue being on the team, and now it’s a tough call, so that’s where you want the program to be, where you’re making tough decisions every time.”

Canada will take on Slovenia and Korea in Group C and if they finish in the top two, a quarter-final date against Croatia, Puerto Rico or Cameroon would be next.

One place in the Canadian roster that is being hotly contested is the back-up point guard spot where Tyler Kepkay is pushing Ryan Bell, a member of last year’s team at the FIBA Americas Championship in Las Vegas, extremely hard.

Kepkay, a native of British Columbia who plays college basketball for the Utah Utes, said: “Everybody knows what’s on the line and what’s at stake right now.

“Everybody’s just playing hard trying to get ready.”

Bell impressed at least year’s Pan American Games and earned a place in the team. He knows he’s in a dogfight to hold on to the place.

“Guys want to make this team and guys want to get better individually, so everyone’s going pretty hard,” he said.

“I just have to keep playing my game, rebounding, take care of the ball, make open shots when I get them, create a little bit and do whatever they ask me to do basically.”

Rautins isn’t willing to commit to either player right now.

“Tyler has played very well in this camp - he’s done a lot of things that you want to see a point guard do,” Rautins said.

“Ryan has the experience of being here. He has size at his position, so you get a bit of an advantage on the defensive end and rebounding. So it comes down to the chemistry with both, and we’re certainly in no rush to make that decision.”

One area where Canada may be much improved is on the frontline now that 6ft 9in 245lb Joel Anthony is in the squad.

The Miami Heat center and Philadelphia 76er Samuel Dalembert give the Canadians a mean one-two punch.

With Slovenia losing power forward Matjaz Smodis to a foot injury, and Erazem Lorbek unavailable this summer, they may have the edge down low against the Europeans now when the teams meet in Greece.

cambovenzi
06-29-2008, 12:26 PM
good for them they can field a team.
but its nothing special.
dalembert and joel anthony is not exactly scary.

i see them maybe moving past their group.
and losing to PR in the quarterfinals.

Reezy
06-29-2008, 06:18 PM
Magloire and Nash would be a better one-two punch.

JWalk126
06-30-2008, 12:39 AM
Nash doesnt want to play though

cambovenzi
06-30-2008, 02:07 AM
Nash doesnt want to play though

im sure he'd be thrilled to be shown up by kidd and cp3, if the can"eh"dians got that far.

Reezy
06-30-2008, 05:09 PM
Nash doesnt want to play though

I never said they were going to play or wanted to play.

My point is that would be a better one-two punch (Nash-Magloire).

JWalk126
06-30-2008, 08:02 PM
I'm aware of that, I just thought it was important to point out to other posters that Nash isnt playing