No time to panic, basketball honcho says

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:12 PM ET

Canada’s senior men’s basketball team now has a losing streak of a dirty dozen.

After falling to France by 62 points this week, the team lost 79-72 to Bulgaria — ranked 43rd in the world to Canada’s No. 23 spot — on Friday, but Wayne Parrish, Canada Basketball’s executive director and CEO encourages Canadians not to get overly concerned.

“Last summer we clobbered France in two exhibition games and then beat China handily, so there’s not much stock to be put in exhibition games at this stage,” Parrish said. “I’m counting on this being a mirror reflection of that and later in the summer is where you’ll see the best play from our guys.”

Parrish pointed out that three of Canada’s top players, Miami Heat starting centre Joel Anthony, San Antonio Spurs draft pick Cory Joseph and former scoring leader Carl English will not join the team until later in August and other players such as Kelly Olynyk are nursing injuries.

“We lost Kelly in the first quarter in the first game and he was our best big in camp. Jesse (Young), Andy (Rautins, who led Canada in scoring again with 18 points before fouling out) all are coming off of injuries.”

Parrish said the Spurs are in favour of Joseph suiting up this summer, so he will be coming on board for sure and added he supports the decision of Tristan Thompson to take the summer off.

Parrish also said there has been no consideration given to replacing coach Leo Rautins.

“Leo’s status is not in doubt in any way, shape or form;Leo’s the coach,” Parrish said.

“This is exhibition ... we’re trying to get guys to learn our system. It still is a learning process for a lot of these guys. These games are about getting guys ready and getting them back from injury and working them in slowly.

“We need to get (detractors) on the bandwagon, we need to accomplish that at some point (by picking up wins) and I’m confident that’s going to happen this summer. We’re going to surprise some people.”

Parrish was encouraged by the performance of Canada’s junior women, who started 6-0 at the FIBA U-19 championship in Chile and can still finish fifth, despite a quarterfinal loss to Spain on Friday.


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