Andrew Nicholson Makes Canada Summer Exhibition Roster
Orlando Magic big man Andrew Nicholson will indeed play for the Canadian senior national basketball team this summer. Even though Canada didn’t qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Cup which begins August 30th in Spain, Canada Head Coach Jay Triano still wants to go on an 11-game, 20-day European road trip to prepare for the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship which will also help determine who qualifies for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The precise schedule hasn’t been released just yet, but Canada will play in the countries of Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, and Spain from July 24th through August 12th. The eleven teams they will face are: World Cup host Spain, Slovenia, Ukraine, Croatia (twice), Serbia, Turkey, and Angola, as well as teams that didn’t qualify for the World Cup, Georgia, Italy, and Bosnia & Herzegovina. That’s a solid schedule filled with plenty of quality big men for Nicholson to face. Canada’s first game will be on July 24th against Slovenia.
Below is the internationally inexperienced roster that will depart Canada for Europe:
Andrew debuted his 3-point shot at the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship last August in Venezuela. There’s a reason why Nicholson carried over that 3-point shot to Magic training camp, it was beyond accurate. Had Canada stayed a bit more healthy and dealt with the wear-and-tear of playing back-to-back-to-back contests, they would be playing in the World Cup. In 8 games in Venezuela, Andrew averaged 15.0 ppg and 3.4 rpg at 52.9 FG%, 45.5 3PT% (10-for-22) and 94.7 FT% in 20.3 minutes per contest. If Andrew can find that type of top notch form again, he has high hopes of getting back into Jacque Vaughn‘s rotation.
Nicholson and his teammates will actually get to know what a ‘hostile’ international environment looks like in a handful of those upcoming European exhibitions they’ll be playing. Venezuela didn’t exactly fill up the stands last summer. All of this benefits the 24-year-old and his road to recovering from a bad sophomore NBA season. Nicholson started every game last August for Coach Triano and I expect that to be the case again with Kelly Olynyk sliding in to replace Tristan Thompson to play next to Nicholson in the frontcourt. Robert Sacre will be a backup upgrade as he’s replacing Joel Anthony.