Canada finalizes its men's Olympic basketball roster, with 8 returnees from World Cup team


LAS VEGAS — Canada finalized its men’s basketball roster for the Paris Olympics on Wednesday, with eight of the 12 players selected having been part of the run to a bronze medal at last summer’s World Cup.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dillon Brooks, Kelly Olynyk, Lugentz Dort, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, RJ Barrett, Dwight Powell and Melvin Ejim are the eight Olympians who were on the World Cup roster a year ago when Canada won a wild bronze-medal game over the U.S. 127-118 in overtime. It was Canada’s most significant international medal since winning silver at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

The four players on the Olympic team that weren’t part of the World Cup: Jamal Murray, Khem Birch, Trey Lyles and Andrew Nembhard.

“Leading our Senior Men’s National Team into the Paris 2024 Olympic Games is an incredible honor,” Olynyk said. “Since I began playing basketball, my dream has always been to represent Canada at the Olympics. Last year’s third-place finish at the FIBA World Cup was an important step, proving that we belong among the world’s best teams. However, it also showed us that we still have work to do as we pursue our ultimate goal of winning gold in Paris.”

The team opens its exhibition schedule Wednesday in Las Vegas against the United States.

Gilgeous-Alexander is now a second-generation Olympian; his mother, Charmaine Gilgeous, ran for Antigua and Barbuda in the 1992 Barcelona Games. Same goes for Barrett; his father, Rowan Barrett, was on the 2000 Olympic team for Canada and serves as the general manager for Canada’s men’s national team. And for Ejim, it’s a sibling thing; his sister, Yvonne Ejim, will play in France this summer as part of the Canadian women’s basketball roster.

“Representing your country at an Olympic Games is one of the greatest honors in sport and something each of these players will never forget the first time they step onto the court,” Rowan Barrett said. “As we build on our success last summer, maintaining the continuity and cohesion we established with that team was vital to assembling this Olympic roster.”

The team is coached by Jordi Fernandez of the Brooklyn Nets.

“When we opened camp in Toronto last week, I challenged each of the players to improve 1% each day, and every day since I’ve witnessed the work and dedication they have put in,” Fernández said. “With 17 days to go until our first game of the tournament, that’s an opportunity to get 17% better. From the players to the coaches to the staff, the incredible opportunity ahead of us to do something truly historic for Canada this summer is not lost on anyone.”

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AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games



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