Jamal Murray is so eager to represent Canada next summer after missing out on the FIBA Basketball World Cup that he’s already announced his plan to be with the team for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in June.
The fact that one of the four tournaments is going to be on home soil in Victoria, he says, will make the occasion even sweeter.
“It’s huge to be able to play at home, I am so excited about it,” he said. “You always have a special feeling when you can compete in front of your countrymen and I am sure that everyone is very excited and looking forward for this tournament. Victoria’s fans are going to be a huge plus for us, and we’re counting on them to be our sixth man”.
Murray, who last represented Canada when they hosted the 2015 Pan American Games, is also looking forward to suiting up for coach Nick Nurse, who led the Toronto Raptors to the NBA title earlier this year and was then handed the reins to Canada’s national team.
Canada fought hard under Nurse at the World Cup but lost to Australia and Lithuania in the First Round and did not advance.
“We’ll have to be 100 percent focused and playing at our best level to go to the next round and win it all to go to Tokyo 2020”, Murray said. “Greece is a very solid team, they have a lot of experience and they know how to play at this high level. They have very good players, and there is not only Giannis Antetokounmpo. That would be a mistake to just focus on him. They have a lot of very good guys. China is good, too, and we will have to play every game at our best level in order to not be surprised”.