What You Should Know Prior to Team Canada vs Brazil: Road to the Inaugural 2019 FIBA World Cup

Team Canada Basketball Senior Team to Face Reigning Brazilieros for First Time

Team Canada tips off against Brazil Thursday night at Place Bell in Laval as both teams fight for a spot at the inaugural FIBA World Cup to be held in 2019. Photo Courtesy Canada Basketball

Having each finished with a 5-1 record in the first round, Thursday’s round two qualifying game between Canada and Brazil is a paramount matchup for both the North and South American sides.

Current Ryerson University Rams head coach Roy Rana will be the Canadian national team’s shepherd as he has been leading the roster since the start of training camp last week.

Having coached and helped team Canada’s U19 team win the gold medal in the FIBA U19 World Cup in Egypt last year, the squad is in very good hands.

However, Rana wouldn’t be able to do it all alone.

“It’s been tremendous to have guys like Kelly [Olynyk], Cory [Joseph] and Tristan [Thompson] in our training camp. It makes all of our jobs easier,” said Rana.

The Canadian team is filled with notable athletes. One of the most notorious names on the roster is NBA center and Ontario native Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is Thompson’s first appearance on the Canadian national basketball team.

Other notable players are the Miami Heat’s forward Kelly Olynyk and Indiana Pacers point guard Cory Joseph. Both have been an imperative presence during the first round games, averaging a combined 19.5 points per game.

The 18-man roster at training camp also includes Montreal native and Orlando Magic power forward Khem Birch along with his colleague and forward, Justin Jackson.

“I’m very excited to be playing for the national team in Montreal for the first time. It’s a humbling experience,” said Birch.

The roster also consists of many overseas players such as FC Barcelona’s Kevin Pangos and Montreal born and raised Joel Anthony among others.

18-year-old prodigy R.J Barrett joined the national team during training camp on Tuesday night. However, he will only be present to support the team as he is not allowed to take the court. Barrett was a revelation during the first round games this summer against the Dominican Republic and the Virgin Islands.

Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks will not be present during the game on Thursday due to heavy flu that has prevented him from being around his team.

Coach Rana’s intent is to allow everyone on the roster to have some playing time at some point during the two-game cycle as the national team will be heading to Valdivia, Chile on Friday morning after the game against Brazil to face Chile for the second game of round two.

“Everybody here in the gym will play at some point in time. That’s my plan,” said Rana.

One of the special stories out of training camp was the interaction that U Sports players had with the national team during training camp at the Université de Québec à Montréal Citadins practice facility.

Canada Basketball and the coaching staff decided to have the best local university players make an appearance to play against the national team during practice. A few of the familiar faces that were selected were McGill’s Alex Paquin and Noah Daoust alongside UQAM’s Karim Sabban.

The Concordia Stingers men’s basketball team was also part of a controlled game scrimmage held Monday night at the Citadins gym with the score reset to zero every single quarter.

The Canada vs. Brazil second round World Cup qualifier match will take place this Thursday evening at Place Bell in Laval.