It’s going to be an NBA star-studded affair in Vancouver next month.
Canada will play China in an international basketball exhibition game at Rogers Arena on June 22, followed by another on June 24 in Victoria, as the team prepares for qualifying for the FIBA Basketball World Cup next year.
“We’re excited to continue the positive momentum that has been created through the first two windows as we look to take another step forward in our goal of qualifying for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019,” said head coach Jay Triano in a media release.
Canada resumes qualifying on June 29 agains the Dominican Republic in Toronto, before concluding the first round against the US Virgin Islands in Ottawa on July 2.
— Canada Basketball (@CanBball) May 28, 2018
“The new qualification structure has showcased the depth of our program, that we have grown over several years, as we currently find ourselves near the top of our group heading into pivotal matchups to conclude the first round,” said assistant GM Rowan Barrett. “Hosting meaningful games at home on Canadian soil is an experience our players won’t ever forget.”
Training camp will be held at the Richmond Olympic Oval June 20-21, with eight NBA players named to the preliminary 18-man roster.
|Anthony Bennett||Forward||Maine Red Claws (G-League)|
|Aaron Best||Guard||Raptors 905 (G-League)|
|Khem Birch||Centre||Orlando Magic|
|Chris Boucher||Forward||Golden State Warriors|
|Dillon Brooks||Forward||Memphis Grizzlies|
|Melvin Ejim||Forward||BC UNICS (Russia)|
|Olivier Hanlan||Guard||Austin Spurs (G-League)|
|Brady Heslip||Guard||Trabzonspor (Turkey)|
|Cory Joseph||Guard||Indiana Pacers|
|Kaza Kajami-Keane||Guard||Raptors 905 (G-League)|
|Jamal Murray||Guard||Denver Nuggets|
|Andrew Nicholson||Forward||Guangdong Southern Tigers (China)|
|Kelly Olynyk||Centre||Miami Heat|
|Kevin Pangos||Guard||BC Zalgiris (Lithuania)|
|Dwight Powell||Forward||Dallas Mavericks|
|Phil Scrubb||Guard||Fraport Skyliners (Germany)|
|Tommy Scrubb||Forward||S.S. Felice Scandone (Italy)|
|Tristan Thompson||Centre||Cleveland Cavaliers|
Canada’s last exhibition game in Vancouver was in 2010, also against China. This matchup should be hold much more prestige, as eight years ago just one NBA player was on Canada’s roster.
While Canada’s best player, Andrew Wiggins, won’t be attending, there are a number of other stars players to get excited about, including Jamal Murray (16.7 points per game with Denver last season), Kelly Olynyk (11.5 points per game with Miami), and Tristan Thompson (former NBA champion with Cleveland). Other notable absentees include Tyler Ennis, Nik Stauskas, and Trey Lyles.
Tickets for both games start as low as $20, and go on sale on Thursday, May 31 at 10 am. Vancouver game tickets will be available on Ticketmaster, while the Victoria contest can be found on selectyourtickets.com.