Duke University’s R.J. Barrett could potentially help Canada through a tough group stage at the 2019 FIBA World Cup (via @timandsid/Twitter).

Canada drawn into tough World Cup group with Lithuania, Australia and Senegal

Canada’s men’s basketball team will face No. 6-ranked Lithuania, No. 11 Australia and 37th-ranked Senegal

Canada might have been drawn into arguably the toughest group for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, but Rowan Barrett isn’t complaining.

With a berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on the line, Canada’s men’s basketball team will face No. 6-ranked Lithuania, No. 11 Australia and 37th-ranked Senegal in Group H of the tournament, Aug. 31 to Sept. 15 in China.

“I don’t think that as hard as we have worked to get to the World Cup that we will now complain about the draw,” said Barrett, Canada Basketball’s general manager of the men’s program.

The top two teams in each group advance, and carry their records to the next round. The bottom two teams are bumped to the consolation side of the draw.

“Each one of (Canada’s opponents) was first in their group so they’ve clearly been performing well,” Barrett said. “I think it’s good that (the draw) was this far out, it gives us the opportunity to look within our depth pool as we form our team to counteract the strengths of the other teams.

If Canada advances to the championship side of the 32-country draw, it will face the best two in Group G of France, Germany, Dominican Republic and Jordan. The top two teams from each group then advance to the quarter-finals.

Canada hasn’t had a team in the World Cup since a disastrous 22nd-place finish in 2010 in Turkey, where the team went 0-5.

There’s plenty on the line this time around for a Canadian team on the rise. The top seven clubs in China will punch their tickets to the Olympics, where Canada’s men’s squad hasn’t played since 2000 in Sydney.

The Olympic field features just 12 teams, and so Japan as host takes one of the five remaining spots, with the final four awarded at a last-chance qualifying event in 2020.

The Canadians will open against Australia. Canada hasn’t faced the Aussies in world championship action since 1998 — an 88-71 loss — and is 3-2 all-time against them.

They’ll play Lithuania, a team they’ve faced only once in the world championships — a 70-68 loss in 2010.

The Canadians will wrap up the preliminary round versus Senegal, against whom they’re 2-0 — most recently a 70-57 win in 1998.

Canada’s preliminary-round games are in Dongguan, an industrial city on China’s south coast.

Barrett’s next step is to hire a head coach, and he expects to have that person in place by the end of March. Canada, which went 10-2 in qualifying, used three head coaches for its dozen games: Jay Triano, Roy Rana, and Gord Herbert.

Canada Basketball has cast a wide net in its search, Barrett said.

“I think that it was important to look internally first,” he said. “Nobody is going to have more familiarity with our players than our coaches, and we’ve had three head coaches in the windows coach us. So you start by looking there and have each share their vision and their plan.

“At the same time it’s important with our athletes, and the sacrifice our athletes have shown, and the growth and development in their games, they’re working hard and they want every chance to win that they can have. So it’s incumbent upon us that we’re evaluating our whole program, whether it’s our analytics department, our medical staff, our therapy team, all of it, as well as our coaching to ensure we’re putting our best foot forward to lead the group.”

The Canadian team will gather for camp in Toronto in early August.

Lori Ewing , The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

ChargerQuest expands its EV charging network into Kelowna

The new stations can be found at Manteo Beach Resort and the Eldorado Hotel

Kelowna resident warns North Glenmore community of active thieves in the area

Two thieves stole a pontoon boat from a residence on May 23

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Penticton Search and Rescue airlifts injured mountain biker near Naramata

The Penticton Fire Department initially took the call and attended to the injured biker.

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Vancouver Foundation grants benefit Okanagan-Shuswap residents

Grants of up to $500 available for ideas that connect people socially or involve sharing skills

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Water quality advisory rescinded for Central Okanagan system

Turbidity levels improve enough to rescind advisory issued for Killiney Beach system May 11

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

UPDATE: Two sent to hospital following Okanagan highway accident

Drivers in head-on collision air-lifted to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries

Most Read