Team Canada Notes: QF Win, SGA, Brooks, Nurse

In addition to qualifying for the 2024 Olympics, the Canadian men’s national team has earned a spot in the FIBA World Cup semifinals for the first time in the history of the event. However, star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and his teammates aren’t happy to simply leave the Philippines with a spot in the final four.

“It feels good, but we are not satisfied,” Gilgeous-Alexander said after Wednesday’s victory over Slovenia, according to Cesare Milanti of “We didn’t come here only to get to the semifinals, we came here to try to get gold.”

Team Canada will be in tough in the semifinal against a talented Serbian squad that played in the gold medal game in the 2014 World Cup, and would be an underdog against Team USA in a potential final. However, Slovenia’s head coach Aleksander Sekulić is bullish on the club’s chances after seeing his team fall to the Canadians on Wednesday.

“Canada has a hell of a team,” Sekulić said, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “They can play different lineups, small-ball and two bigs. They have big guards, strong guards. They have guys who can create. So they have everything they need to go all the way. I think they can match up with (the) United States.”

Here’s more on Team Canada:

  • Although the Canadians made it past Slovenia in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, head coach Jordi Fernandez chided forward Dillon Brooks after the game for his fourth-quarter ejection. “He has to be better,” Fernandez said, per Donatas Urbonas of “We need him on the court. You can’t get disqualified. We have to have better composure as a team.” The head coach did laud Brooks for playing his role “at a high level” prior to his early exit.
  • Although he’s no longer the head coach of Team Canada, having been replaced by Fernandez when he stepped down earlier this year, Nick Nurse continues to keep a close eye on the club’s performance on the international stage, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. “An awesome job by them, so very happy for them,” Nurse said before Wednesday’s semifinal win. “Just in my time, from 2019 to now, it was a big process to get here and I’m just glad to see them realize the vision, the goal, the dream.”
  • Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman shares his takeaways from the Canada/Slovenia game, noting that Gilgeous-Alexander and Luka Doncic entered the World Cup as the consensus top two players in the event and the Thunder guard won their head-to-head battle on Wednesday.
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