Bennett, Anthony top preliminary list for FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifying

TORONTO — Anthony Bennett and Joel Anthony headline the preliminary roster for Canada’s pair of FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifying games this month.

“This group of young men embody the passion and sacrifice needed to be successful in international competition,” head coach Roy Rana said in a release. ”I admire their commitment to Canada, and I hope all Canadians will support us loudly in Halifax and across the country.”

Canada will open World Cup qualifying versus the Bahamas on Nov. 24 in Halifax. They’ll then travel to face the Dominican Republic on Nov. 27 in Santiago de los Caballeros.

FIBA’s new qualifying format poses a unique challenge, because of a lack of player availability at this time of the year. Canada has 11 players in the NBA.

Bennett and Anthony aren’t currently on an NBA roster.

The team’s preliminary roster also features six players from the G-League, including Richard Amardi, Aaron Best, and Kaza Keane of the Raptors 905.

Bennett was drafted No. 1 overall in 2013 by Cleveland, but has bounced around various leagues since, and now plays for Northern Arizona of the G-League. Anthony played 10 seasons in the NBA, seven of them with Miami.

Canada will also face the U.S. Virgin Islands in Americas Qualifiers, which feature 16 teams competing for seven World Cup spots, in a home and away format.

FIBA’s new qualifying format sees 80 countries battle over a two-year period for the World Cup, Aug. 31-Sept. 15, 2019 in China.

Canada’s men’s team is currently ranked eighth in the Americas and 25th globally.

Roster:

Richard Amardi, Toronto, Raptors 905 (G-League); Jermaine Anderson, Toronto, free agent; Joel Anthony, Montreal, free agent; Olu Ashaolu, Toronto, Sendai 89ers (Japan); Anthony Bennett, Toronto, Northern Arizona Suns (G-League); Aaron Best, Toronto, Raptors 905 (G-League); Sim Bhullar, Toronto, Dacin Tigers (Taiwan); Melvin Ejim, Toronto, Unics (Russia); Joel Friesen, Abbotsford, B.C., London Lightning (NBL of Canada); Grandy Glaze, Toronto, St. John’s Edge (NBL of Canada); Olivier Hanlan, Aylmer, Que., Austin Spurs (G-League); Brady Heslip, Burlington, Ont., Trabzonspor (Turkey); Kris Joseph, Montreal, Que., free agent; Kaza Keane, Ajax, Ont., Raptors 905 (G-League); Levon Kendall, Vancouver, free agent; Owen Klassen, Kingston, Ont., PAOK (Greece); Duane Notice, Woodbridge, Ont., BM Slam Stal (Poland); Adika Peter-McNeilly, Toronto, Ludwigsburg (Germany); Dyshawn Pierre, Whitby, Ont., Banco di Srd (Italy); Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Toronto, Westchester Knicks (G-League); Phil Scrubb, Richmond, B.C., Fraport SKY (Germany); Thomas Scrubb, Richmond, B.C., Scandone AV (Italy); Marc Trasolini, Vancouver, Hokkaido L. (Japan); Warren Ward, London, Ont., Caceres (Spain).

The Canadian Press

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