Canada's Head Coach Nick Nurse leaves the court following second half FIBA Men's Olympic Qualifying basketball action against Greece, at Memorial Arena in Victoria, Tuesday, June 29, 2021. Nurse will remain the head coach of Canada's men's basketball team in its quest for a berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Nurse says continuity, long-term commitment key to getting Canada to Paris Olympics

Nurse says continuity, long-term commitment key to getting Canada to Paris Olympics

TORONTO — Nick Nurse will remain the head coach of Canada’s men’s basketball team in its quest for a berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Nurse and Canada Basketball made the joint announcement Monday, less than two months after Canada failed to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

Nurse said his commitment to Paris began about 48 hours after his team was dispatched in the semifinals by the Czech Republic in Canada’s last-chance qualifying tournament in late June in Victoria.

The 54-year-old said Canada needs to develop a culture of excellence and a long-term commitment from players that was evident among the countries that played in the Tokyo Games.

Nurse was hired as Canada’s coach in 2019, the same year he led the Toronto Raptors on their historic NBA championship run. And boasting the best NBA depth in Canadian history, hope for the national men’s team ahead of Tokyo had been at an all-time high.

The Canadians could have clinched a Tokyo berth at the 2019 World Cup in China, but fielding a team with only two NBA players — Cory Joseph and Khem Birch — Canada went 2-3 to finish 21st.

Canada Basketball pulled out all the stops for the last-chance qualifier, winning the right to host the tournament in Victoria.

But a Canadian squad featuring RJ Barrett, Andrew Wiggins, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, lost to the Czechs 103-101 in overtime in the semis.

The Canadian men haven’t played in the Olympics since the 2000 Sydney Games.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Olympics