The Cana­dian men’s team is clearly in good hands head­ing to 2019 World Cup

StarMetro Toronto - - SPORTS - Doug Smith SPORTS RE­PORTER

They knew back in 2012, Steve Nash and Rowan Bar­rett and Jay Tri­ano did, that the path back to in­ter­na­tional men’s bas­ket­ball rel­e­vance wasn’t go­ing to come solely on the backs of Canada’s NBA play­ers, that an­other tier of ex­cel­lent play­ers needed to be de­vel­oped.

Depth would ul­ti­mately be the key to suc­cess, and mak­ing play­ers of every ilk feel com­fort­able and wel­come in the na­tional men’s pro­gram was vi­tal.

Take care of them, they thought, and the re­wards could be sig­nif­i­cant.

That trio of Cana­dian bas­ket­ball icons had a plan when they took over run­ning the pro­gram six years ago — Nash as the over­seer, Bar­rett as the on-the-ground gen­eral man­ager and Tri­ano in his sec­ond go-round as the se­nior men’s head coach.

They had a play and worked it hard and they were re­warded Mon­day night when a group of Cana­di­ans routed Brazil in Brazil to earn Canada a berth in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, a re­turn to the big­gest global stage for the first time since 2010.

“Rowan came to me and had a sin­gu­lar vi­sion of rais­ing the level of ser­vice to our play­ers and cre­at­ing a win­ning cul­ture and team,” Nash said in an elec­tronic con­ver­sa­tion with the Star on Mon­day, min­utes af­ter Canada had earned its spot in the World Cup in China next Au­gust.

“Just so proud of all the play­ers, staff and sup­port­ers who’ve all played a part in stick­ing with this and watch­ing this pro­gram grow. (A) just re­ward for all in­volved.”

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