Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, NBA-heavy roster lead Canada into FIBA qualifying's fourth window

Canada’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) dribbles up the court during second half FIBA international men’s World Cup basketball qualifying action against Dominican Republic, in Hamilton in July.

Canada Basketball will have another strong roster at its disposal for the fourth window of the men’s FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Qualifiers.

NBA star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, of the Oklahoma City Thunder, headlines the group of 15 athletes participating in the senior men’s training camp in Victoria, B.C., next week ahead of a game against Argentina on Aug. 25 in Victoria. The team will then play in Panama on Aug. 29.

The roster also includes Detroit Pistons veterans Kelly Olynyk and Cory Joseph, the Indiana Pacers’ Oshae Brissett, Dallas Mavericks big man Dwight Powell, Utah Jazz guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, as well as international veterans Melvin Ejim, Kevin Pangos, Kyle Wiltjer, Phil and Thomas Scrubb, Kassius Robertson, Trae Bell-Haynes, the CEBL’s Kalif Young and Purdue sophomore Zach Edey.

Additionally, Denver Nuggets star guard Jamal Murray, who is continuing to work his way back from major surgery, New York Knicks standout RJ Barrett, Thunder swingman Lu Dort, Memphis starter Dillon Brooks and Raptors centre Khem Birch will attend training camp but will not play in the games.

Canada, coached for this stage by Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, enters the window at 6-0 and is the only undefeated team in the Americas. Of 80 teams attempting to qualify, 30 will make the World Cup, along with hosts Japan and the Philippines who are already in.

In the Americas region, Canada will be in Group E for this round, along with Venezuela and Argentina (both 5-1), Dominican Republic (4-2), Panama and the Bahamas (both 2-4). There are also six teams vying in Group F. The top three finishers from each group advance to the World Cup, along with the best fourth-place team.

A win over Argentina would put Canada, ranked 18th in the world, into the 2023 edition, which runs from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10, 2023 and will also have some games in Indonesia. Canada is hoping for better than its 21st-place finish in 2019 in China, or its 22nd-place result in 2010 (Canada did not qualify in 2014). Canada’s best finish was 6th in 1978 in the Philippines and 6th again four years later in Colombia.

Moscow said Wednesday it was ready to quickly supply gas to Europe through an undamaged section of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany, after recent leaks heightened geopolitical tensions.

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