Q&A with Jay Triano - Post-practice scrum

Head coach Jay Triano spoke to media members following the Canada Basketball Men's National Team's first training session. 

 

Q: What was it like to see all those Canadians in Summer League?

A: It seems to be the buzz around the NBA. Everybody is talking about it, and everybody there knew we were had a camp coming up and they were excited for that for us. It’s a great time for Canadian basketball. Next year, we’ll have more Canadians than we’ve ever had in the NBA and we will be rivalling the other top European countries like Spain and France. That’s great.


Q: Is it tough to not look long term at the potential this team could have? When you look at all the youthful skill and the potential that Canada Basketball could have on the international stage? 

A: That’s what this summer is about. This is a great summer. I know last year, we were a disappointed that we didn’t qualify for the World Championships. But at the same time, we knew we had 22- and 23-year-olds as our best players on the floor. We need to get them international experience. We are going to be playing 11 games and we are going to be play six of those teams on their home soil. That’s going to be a great experience for these young players. We need to go over to Europe and we need to see what the international game is, get experience playing for me, playing the international game. Then, they can return to their NBA teams or club teams and continue to improve. But we are still at an infant stage in who we are as a basketball nation. That’s going to change over the next two, four, six, eight years.

 

Q: Are there people who aren’t here right now that you are expecting later this week? 

A: These are all guys that are part of our pool. There’s a couple more guys who will be flying in – they are still playing in the Vegas summer league. We couldn’t take them away from their teams. For a variety of reasons, there are guys that aren’t going to be here. That is why we have a pool of players, and the players that are here are going to go and represent Canada the best they can. We’ve even asked some guys to not come on this trip – a guy like Joel Anthony, who has got a lot of international experience. We need to get some of these younger players that type of feel for the international game.

 

Q: How important is it to have shooting bigs like Andrew Nicholson and Kelly Olynyk in international basketball? 

A: Those are guys that are prominent players in the international game. When you have a couple bigs that can step out and stretch the floor, it opens up the floor and our offence is going to be centered around how we can create space for them to be able to shoot the ball.

 

Q: With so many young guys, how are you going to manage minutes in the exhibition series?

A: The big thing that we did last year when we went to China and Russia with the Student National Team, we would do five guys on and five guys off. We might look at doing something like that for this tour, that way everyone gets 20 minutes a game and nobody gets taxed by the number of games we have. We have 11 games in a real short period of time. I believe we have six games in six days, in three different countries, which is going to be very, very tough. We want them to get a feel for the international game without wearing them down.

 

Q: From a recruiting standpoint, are you finding it easier than five years ago to get guys involved?

A: For sure. It’s because of the notoriety that the Canadians are starting to receive around the world and especially in the NBA. There’s going to be a day when I have to cut an NBA player from our international team. You’re going to be good enough to play in the NBA but you might not be good enough to play for our Canadian national team. That’s going to be an awkward moment for us.

 

Q: How much are guys like Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson going to have to step up? These are some of the guys with the most experience.

A: That’s why it’s nice to have guys like Jevohn Shepherd and Carl English coming in here, who have played the game overseas. We’ve got two or three guys that have played professionally and know the international game. They can help our NBA players learn to adapt and what to expect with the international game.