Triano shares expertiseEx-Raps coach speaks in Winnipeg
By DAVID LARKINS, QMI Agency
|Jay Triano has years of experience as a basketball coach at all levels and he's sharing that with Manitoba coaches this weekend. (ROBERT GALBRAITH/Reuters file photo)
WINNIPEG - Jay Triano has some feelings on the NBA lockout, you can be sure: But he ain’t sharing them.
So when approached for a quick interview Friday at Basketball Manitoba’s Super Coaches Clinic at the Duckworth Centre, Triano, now a member of the Toronto Raptors front office, politely mentioned he wouldn’t be able to discuss the lockout that has already wiped out a portion of the NBA season.
With Triano, however, there’s plenty more to talk about than Basketball Related Income, hard caps and mid-level exceptions.
Triano joked during his two-hour presentation to about 200 local coaches that not only was he the first Canadian hired as an NBA head coach but, when the Raptors didn’t extend his contract in June, also the first Canadian to be fired as an NBA head coach.
That unprecedented rise through Canadian basketball is what brought Triano to Winnipeg to share his expertise.
“You talk about the future of basketball in this country and this is it when you have young coaches here who will coach our youth, any time you can share information with them it’s only going to help,” Triano said.
“If it wasn’t for coaches like this who are here now, I would never have had the opportunities that I had as a player or as a coach.”
When the Raptors relieved Triano of his head coaching duties, they kept him on board as a special assistant to GM Bryan Colangelo.
He is one of the preeminent voices of basketball in this country, having gone from a youngster in Niagara Falls, Ont., to eventually a successful stint as the head coach of Canada’s senior team that went to the 2000 Olympics.
His career arc is most certainly a unique one for a born and bred Canadian, but Triano is hopeful more Canadians could follow him.
“I hope that other Canadians have the opportunity to do this,” he said. “Coaching in the NBA, it’s the best league in the world, I loved every minute of it and if it opens the door and other Canadians get the chance, which I hope they will, then I’d be very happy.”
When Canadians look at the country’s young talent — from first-round draft picks Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph to 16-year-old Andrew Wiggins, regarded as the best player in his age group in North America — they’re excited for the national program.
Count Triano, 53, among them.
“I don’t think we’re too far away,” Triano said. “I think when you look at how we do in the age-group championships we always seem to be right there ... I would anticipate that we would have six to seven, or eight, players that are Canadian in the NBA in the next four or five years.”