Triano not-so-alone at worlds

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:43 PM ET

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Jay Triano thinks about being the lone Canadian on an American bench just once a game.

It's when the anthems are being played and Triano can't help but search out the Canadian flag.

Other than that he's here to do a job and that job is whatever he can do to help the U.S. win a world title.

And not that he's saying it, but in the process he would actually be helping Canada out as a title for the U.S. here means an automatic berth in the Olympics and no U.S. team in Olympic qualifying at the FIBA Americas next summer in Argentina.

Triano is far from alone at this tournament as being from one country and being on the bench of another.

In what should be the awkward moment of the worlds, Argentina will take on Brazil tonight for a spot in the quarterfinals with the man who guided them to a gold medal at the Olympics in 2004, Ruben Magnano, coaching the opposition.

Angola is coach by a Portuguese; Russia, China, Lebanon and Australia are all coached by Americans; the Greeks are coached by a Lithuanian, Iran is coached by a Serbian, and the Ivory Coast is coached by a Swiss. Even the Spaniards are coached by an Italian. Turkey, the host team, has a coach who carries two passports: Montenegrin and Italian.

And those are just the head coaches.

"This tournament is full of other guys coaching other countries," Triano said after the U.S. trounced Angola 121-66 to reach the quarterfinal round on Monday. "The game has become international and everyone is trying to find different ways and different strategies in order to get an edge. If I can give one, I'm happy to do it."

And the way Triano looks at it, he's here learning and that can only benefit him and, in conjunction, the Raptors.

"Listening to Coach K (Duke's Mike Krzyzewski) every day, we've got (Syracuse legend) Jim Boheim, a guy who has coached forever and has more expertise than most guys, and then Nate McMillan is an NBA coach, so I learn from him. We go through every scenario. We're up until 2 a.m. breaking down tape."

Triano couldn't imagine doing anything else with this summer.

"I'm loving it," Triano said. "Other than being at the Olympics in 2000, this is the best. I'm working with the best players in the world, figuring out what the best teams in the world are trying to do and this coaching staff? You can't buy this experience."

Along the way Triano has been able to catch up with a few of his newer players who will soon be joining Raptors training camp.

Triano was up late earlier in the tournament with the U.S. coaches attempting to find a way to stop Leandro Barbosa before a tight two-point win over Brazil. Soon he'll be divising ways to get him open.

He has also touched base with Australia's David Andersen and while he hasn't seen Lithuania's Linas Kleiza on the court yet, he'll get the chance today when they face China.

Triano admits the job can be tiring, but he figures he'll have a full two weeks before Raptors camp open once he gets home. And when it does, he'll have a whole lot more to bring to the table with this experience behind him.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos