With Chinese league shut down, Nicholson highlights Canadian basketball roster

TORONTO — Former NBA player Andrew Nicholson highlights Canada's men's basketball team roster for the upcoming FIBA AmeriCup 2021 qualifiers.

The 30-year-old is available to play for Canada after the new coronavirus forced the Chinese Basketball Association to postpone its season.

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Nicholson, who played five seasons in the NBA with Orlando, Washington and Brooklyn, was playing for the Guangzhou Loong Lions.

Canada faces the Dominican Republic in Oshawa, Ont., on Feb. 21 before travelling to Santo Domingo for a rematch on Feb. 24.

Gord Herbert will coach the team in place of Raptors head coach Nick Nurse.

"It is always a great honour to represent Canada," said Herbert. "We're looking forward to facing the Dominican Republic in a home-and-away series which will be a great experience for us as a team. Rowan Barrett, Michael Meeks and David Grundman have done a great job assembling a terrific group and we hope that Canadian fans will come out next Friday."

The FIBA AmeriCup 2021 qualifiers feature 16 teams from the Americas zone divided into four groups. Teams play each other twice, home and away, during the qualifying phase with three windows set for Feb. 21-24, 2020, November 2020 and February 2021.

Canada is in Group C along with Cuba, Dominican Republic and U.S. Virgin Islands.

The top three finishing teams in each group will earn a qualifying berth in the FIBA AmeriCup 2021. The FIBA AmeriCup used to be a qualifying event for the Olympics and World Cup.

Roster:

Trae Bell-Haynes, Unionville, Ont., Helsinki Seagulls (Finland); Aaron Best, Toronto, Paok Thessaloniki (Greece); Kaza Kajami-Keane; Ajax, Ont., Syntainics MBC Weissenfels (Germany); Owen Klassen, Kingston, Ont.; Telenet Antwerp Giants (Belgium); Kyle Landry, Calgary, Ont., KK Buducnost VOLI Podgorica (Montenegro); MiKyle McIntosh, Pickering, Ont., Filou Oostende (Belgium), Conor Morganl, Victoria, B.C., Divina Seguros Joventut Badalona (Spain); Andrew Nicholson, Mississauga, Ont., Guangzhou Loong Lions (China); Duane Notice, Toronto, Raptors 905 (G League); Dyshawn Pierre, Whitby, Ont., Banco Di Sardegna Sassari (Italy); Kassius Robertson, Toronto, Ont., Lavoropiu Fortitudo Bologna (Italy); Phil Scrubb, Richmond, B.C., Movistar Estudiantes Madrid (Spain).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 13, 2020

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