Jamal Murray headlined a group of 29 players invited to Canada’s training camp on Tuesday ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Murray averaged 18.2 points and 4.8 rebounds for Denver this past season, guiding the upstart Nuggets to within a game of the Western Conference finals. The 22-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., agreed to a five-year, $170-million US contract extension with Denver on July 1, the richest deal for a Canadian player in NBA history.
“Being asked to represent your country is a tremendous honour and we’re excited about the group of athletes that we have invited to training camp next month in Toronto,” Rowan Barrett, Canada Basketball’s general manager for its men’s teams, said in a statement. “These athletes demonstrate the depth of talent we now have in our country, as we prepare to meet the challenge of the FIBA Basketball World Cup.”
Last month, Canada Basketball announced Raptors-championship coach Nick Nurse as the nation’s new bench boss. The Iowa native is tasked with the responsibility of trying to lead the men’s team to their first Olympics since 2000.
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R.J. Barrett, who was drafted third overall by the New York Knicks at this year’s NBA Draft, is also on the list of invitees. The son of Rowan Barrett and godson of Canadian basketball legend Steve Nash, the younger Barrett averaged 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists for Duke University last season.
Other notables include Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson and Miami Heat centre Kelly Olynyk.
A total of 17 NBA players were invited to the camp, but former No.1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins was not one of them. He averaged 18.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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Basketball Canada said a finalized list of training camp attendees will be announced prior to the start of camp.
Canada will open exhibition play with a two-game series against Nigeria, with games in Toronto and Winnipeg on Aug. 7 and 9 respectively.
The World Cup will be held in China from Aug. 31 to Sept. 15. Canada is in a group with Australia, Lithuania, and Senegal, considered by many to be the toughest group in the tournament.
Training camp invites
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Guard, Toronto (New Orleans Pelicans).
- R.J. Barrett, Guard, Mississauga, Ont. (New York Knicks).
- Aaron Best, Guard, Scarborough, Ont. (Riesen Ludwigsburg — Germany).
- Khem Birch, Centre, Montreal (Orlando Magic).
- Chris Boucher, Centre, Montreal (Toronto Raptors).
- Oshae Brissett, Forward, Mississauga, Ont. (Syracuse Orange — NCAA).
- Dillon Brooks, Forward, Mississauga, Ont. (Memphis Grizzlies).
- Brandon Clarke, Centre, Vancouvern (Memphis Grizzlies).
- Aaron Doornekamp, Forward, Napanee, Ont. (Valencia Basket — Spain).
- Luguentz Dort, Guard, Montreal (Oklahoma City Thunder).
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Guard, Hamilton (Oklahoma City Thunder).
- Melvin Ejim, Forward, Toronto (BC UNICS — Russia).
- Brady Heslip, Guard, Burlington, Ont. (Istanbul BBSK — Turkey).
- Cory Joseph, Guard, Toronto (Sacramento Kings).
- Mfiondu Kabengele, Forward, Burlington, Ont. (Los Angeles Clippers).
- Naz Mitrou-Long, Guard, Mississauga, Ont. (Salt Lake City Stars —G League).
- Trey Lyles, Forward, Saskatoon (San Antonio Spurs).
- Jamal Murray, Guard, Kitchener, Ont. (Denver Nuggets).
- Andrew Nembhard, Guard, Aurora, Ont. (Florida Gators — NCAA).
- Kelly Olynyk, Forward, Kamloops, B.C. (Miami Heat).
- Kevin Pangos, Guard, (Newmarket, Ont. (FC Barcelona Basketball — Spain).
- Dwight Powell, Forward, Toronto (Dallas Mavericks).
- Phil Scrubb, Guard, Richmond, B.C. (Zenit Saint Petersburg — Russia).
- Thomas Scrubb, Forward, Richmond, B.C. (Openjobmetis Varese — Italy).
- Marial Shayok, Forward, Ottawa (Philadelphia 76ers).
- Andy Rautins, Guard, (Syracuse, N.Y. (Bahcesehir Koleji Istanbul — Turkey).
- Nik Stauskas, Guard, Mississauga, Ont. (Cleveland Cavaliers).
- Tristan Thompson, Centre, Brampton, Ont. (Cleveland Cavaliers).
- Kyle Wiltjer, Forward, Portland, Ore. (Unicaja Malaga — Spain).