The one biggest goal needs to be met first and foremost
It is a measure of the newfound prominence and relative importance of the senior men’s basketball program that it wasn’t minutes after the very first short story hit the interwebs before the first “what the hell are they doing?” e-mails arrived.
Where was this kid on the invite list?
How come so-and-so won’t be here?
How could they possibly have left this fellow out?
There were years when the start of any training camp, for a world qualifier or an Olympic qualifier or whatever, would be greeted basically with yawns and the list of players coming wouldn’t have caused an eyebrow to be raised.
These days the news conference they held was packed – used to be me and maybe two others who wrote about it – and the dissection of the roster began immediately while the expectations are over the moon.
Here’s the thing about the roster, that I hope answers some of the questions that came pouring in so quickly.
One thing Steve Nash and Jay Triano have to do this year is pull off some delicate balancing act.
They know, and I know, and you should know, that it’s all well and good to talk about young talent and the future but they need to get to the worlds next year for so many reasons that loading up this team with kids who’ve never been at a significant senior international event makes no sense whatsoever.
Yes, young, unproven, collegiate talent like Kevin Pangos or maybe Nick Stauskas and the rest of the people everyone mentioned could very well end up being central figures on the senior team and they are very much in the minds of Steve and Jay for the future.
But now? Now they are not ready, not even close, for something as big and as important as a worlds qualifier and even bringing them into camp doesn’t make a lot of sense. There’s not a lot of time to get ready for Venezuela and Jay needs to be able to focus almost entirely on the players he’ll have to call on later this month.
Only bringing in 18 – and they’re likely to only take 14 to a tournament in Puerto Rico right before the qualifier and then only 12 to Caracas – will allow Jay and his staff to hit the ground running with a manageable number of bodies around.
This how Jay put it:
“I think we’re pretty good with everybody who’s here. It’s a good mix of guys who have represented Canada before and know the international game and have some international experience and guys who are going to mainstays in this program for years to come.”
No, this group is not the group that will make its big push to international prominence in three or four or five or six years.
That group will include Anthony Bennett and Kelly Olynyk and Andrew Wiggins and probably three or four kids who people are clamouring for now.
But for what has to be done this year, and given the injury circumstances to two players who would be huge components, they’ve done just what they have to do.
This one makes me smile. Solid music. Great song. Smart people like it.
Yes, we should start the mail early because I may have some time over the next couple of days and really want to loaf on Friday doing nothing but having fun.
So help out, would you? You know the firstname.lastname@example.org drill.
Oh yeah, one more on Canada.
Nash was in rare form discussing why the game has developed into this Golden Age, insightful, speaking from personal experience and pretty much from his heart.
It is not only the chance to improve their skills and become better passers, shooters, dribblers and defenders, that he wans to give this group.
What he wants them to know is that it’s okay to dream big dreams, to set lofty goals, to know that there are others with the same intentions and now a support system in place that welcomes that, encourages that.
When he said this, it caught my ear.
“I think their goals are high ad it’s exciting because we want to give them a framework for those goals and make sure that no goal is to high for any of these kids because there was a time, I think, in this country where people would look down upon you if you had a goal that was too high in this game. That no longer is the case here so we’re thrilled.”
Interesting, isn’t it?
That sometimes kids would be dissuaded from their dreams because they were too lofty, because no one thought they were realistic. I wonder if that happened to others who didn’t the steadfast belief that they could do anything they wanted, the belief Nash had when he was tilting at windmills as a teenager.
It can’t be true today, can it? Shouldn’t every kid in every aspect of life be able to dream big and find the support system necessary to let those dreams become reality?
I would hope that those among us who have that chance, to support and encourage and urge young people to whatever they want understand that responsibility, take it seriously and do whatever they can to help.
It’s a duty.
Well, this will be a When Worlds Collide kind of minute.
Hear that Anthony Bennett’s doing the coin toss at the Argo game tonight; it might be too much and confuse my little mind.
Speaking of When Worlds Collide …