Canada draws Bosh

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

Raptors all-star Chris Bosh will not have any mixed emotions when he takes to the court at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Aug. 25.

That's the day that Team USA, with Bosh in the lineup, faces Team Canada at the FIBA Americas championship -- the qualifying tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Bosh said he wishes the Canadian team well, but won't let up when his squad takes on the boys from north of the border.

"We definitely have to win the game, because pride is what you play for," Bosh said. "It's not going to be awkward or anything, because I have some prior experience against them."

The preliminary draw for the tournament was held yesterday in Las Vegas with Canada, coached by Raptors commentator Leo Rautins, and the USA landing in Group B with the U.S. Virgin Islands, Venezuela and Brazil. Group A will consist of Argentina, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Uruguay and Panama.

The top four teams from each group move on to the second round, with the two finalists at the end of the event qualifying for the 2008 Olympics. Teams that finish third to fifth in the tournament move on to a last-chance Olympics qualifier in 2008.

"If you're looking for an easy run, it's not going to happen," Rautins said.

"You've got to go in there and let all hell break loose every game and go for it.

"You really can't worry about who (we draw) because everybody's a good team, you don't know who's going to bring in what player. We just have to worry about ourselves. No matter what, we have to scrap, claw and fight and be ready."

Bosh played for the American team at the 2007 world championship in Japan and is expected to do so this summer.

Good news for the Canadian team arrived earlier this month when the squad was invited to all-expenses paid tournaments in China and Puerto Rico this summer, prior to the FIBA Americas championships, which means Basketball Canada will have enough money to send a second team to the Pan-American Games in Brazil.

READ TO ACHIEVE

Raptors Morris Peterson and Joey Graham will join students from Toronto's St. Norbert school and Cardinal Newman school in Brampton at the Gibson Guitar Artist Showroom this afternoon as part of the team's Read to Achieve program. The Raptors will speak to the students about the importance of literacy and developing a love for reading.


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