Former Toronto Raptors Head Coach Takes National Team To Historic Finish


Jay Triano watches Canada’s Mens National Team get silver medals after losing to Brazil 86-71.

Former Toronto Raptors Head Coach Jay Triano helped coach Canada’s Men’s National Team win their first-ever medal at the Pan Am Games. Team Canada lost to Brazil 86-71 in the gold medal match on Saturday night in Toronto and took home the silver medal. Triano, who was once the captain of the men’s national team is now the head coach.

“We had a quick turn around, we were a little sluggish to start. I don’t think we had the balance we had in other games.” said Triano. “I think we found it at half time. Why it wasn’t there in the beginning ? I don’t know.”

Steve Nash, general manger of Canada’s senior national team with Brady Heslip before gold medal match against Brasil.

The Canadian team seemed confident when they walked on the court to practice before the game. Steve Nash, who is general manger of Canada’s senior national team was joking around and showing soccer moves with the basketball to players Jamal Murray and Brady Heslip,  while Anthony Bennett was dancing to music on his Ipod and practicing  his three point shot. The team seemed more than confident they were going to win the gold medal.

When the game actually tipped off it looked like the Canadian team wasn’t prepared to play. Brazil was moving the ball around and getting rebounds, something the Canadian team lacked. Brazil had 34 points in the paint while Canada had 26. The biggest lead Canada had during the game was 2 points, Brazil’s biggest lead was 25 points. Team Canada’s Anthony Bennett was the top scorer and rebounder with 18 points and 9 rebounds. He shot 75% from the free throw line going 6 of 8.

Toronto Raptors home grown talent Cory Joseph was sitting court-side for the game. ‘There is still a lot of game left’ Joseph responded when asked if Canada could come back from such a deficit. ‘They just need to keep plugging away, it’s possible.”

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At the end of the day it was still a historic moment for basketball in Canada. The men’s team winning silver at the Pan Am Games marks the first time the men’s team has won a medal in the event. The best finish they ever had was fourth place and that was in the 80’s.

“I’m too much of a competitor to feel good about anything.” Jay Triano said. “I don’t like losing a game like that, but at the same time I think we will look back and see we grew up in this tournament and grew up in this game a little bit.”

“In the big picture it’s great because we are moving in the right direction and guys are getting experience.” Said Steve Nash after the game. “In this tournament for us to finish higher than we ever finished is fantastic.”

Toronto Raptors Cory Joseph is expected to suit up with Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Olynyk, Cory Joseph, Nik Stauskas and Tristan Thompson for the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying tournament in August. Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan is expected to attend the USA basketball minicamp in August.

Next: Expectations for Luis Scola

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