Draws take place for Olympic basketball qualifying tourneys with games in Victoria

Canada drew Greece as one of the five teams coming into Victoria next summer

If Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to compete in the Olympics next summer, Greece will have to win a few games in Canada first.

The draws to see which countries will grab the remaining basketball berths in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — four men’s spots and 10 women’s spots in the 12-team fields — were held Wednesday in Switzerland, and a Greece-Canada matchup in one of those tournaments is guaranteed in the early stages of the event next June.

And there’s a chance that the turnaround for some players and coaches could be incredibly quick. The men’s qualifiers start on June 23, just two days after a possible Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

Canada drew Greece as one of the five teams coming into Victoria next summer — so there will be some player and coaching star power. Greece will be coached by Rick Pitino, Canada is being coached by Nick Nurse of the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors and some top Canadian players already are starting to commit to the event.

“I want to play my part to help push our team into the Olympics and compete at the highest world stage. Let’s go Canada,” Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets wrote Tuesday on Twitter. Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, New Orleans’ Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Toronto’s Oshae Brissett also have committed, and Miami’s Kelly Olynyk said earlier this fall that he would consider it as well.

It’s unclear if Antetokounmpo intends to play in the qualifiers. His Milwaukee Bucks are one of the top teams in the NBA, with a good chance of reaching the NBA Finals or at least making a long playoff run.

Canada, Serbia, Lithuania and Croatia are the host sites for the men’s qualifiers. There are six teams in each, split into a pair of three-team groups at each site. Teams in the same group will play each other once to determine two semifinalists from each side. Those four teams will play a single-elimination tournament to decide the winner, and each of the four winners will get an Olympic berth.

“Being able to host a FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament at home is a great opportunity for our team on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” Canada Basketball CEO Glen Grunwald said when his nation was announced as a host for the qualifiers.

The women’s qualifiers to be held in France, Serbia, China and Belgium are not as daunting as the men’s events.

There are 16 teams playing, with two — the U.S., as World Cup champions, and Japan, as the host nation — already having earned berths into the Olympics. That leaves 14 teams playing for the final 10 spots.

There are eight men’s teams already in the Olympics: host Japan, along with Nigeria, Argentina, the U.S., Iran, France, Spain and Australia.

WOMEN’S QUALIFIERS

Games to be played Feb. 6-9

(World ranking in parentheses)

Format: Round-robin at each site, top three finishers qualify for the Olympics with the exception of the U.S. and Japan, which already are in the Tokyo field.

At Bourges, France: France (5), Australia (2), Brazil (15), Puerto Rico (23).

At Belgrade, Serbia: Serbia (7), U.S. (1), Nigeria (17), Mozambique (43).

At Foshan, China: China (8), Spain (3), Britain (18), Korea (19).

At Ostende, Belgium: Belgium (9), Canada (8), Japan (10), Sweden (22).

MEN’S QUALIFIERS

Games to be played June 23-28

(World ranking in parentheses)

Format: Teams in each group play once, and the top two finishers from each group advance to qualifying semifinals. Only one team from each site will qualify for the Olympics.

At Victoria, Canada

Group A: Canada (21), Greece (7), China (27)

Group B: Czech Republic (10), Turkey (15), Uruguay (43)

At Split, Croatia

Group A: Germany (18), Russia (9), Mexico (25)

Group B: Croatia (14), Brazil (11), Tunisia (33)

At Kaunas, Lithuania

Group A: Lithuania (8), Venezuela (20), Korea (30)

Group B: Poland (13), Slovenia (16), Angola (32)

At Belgrade, Serbia

Group A: Serbia (6), Dominican Republic (19), New Zealand (24)

Group B: Italy (14), Puerto Rico (23), Senegal (35)

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Just Posted

500 pounds of turkey served at Cool Aid community Christmas dinner

Annual dinner serves hundreds of community members

VIDEO: Annual Tuba Christmas concert draws large crowd to Market Square

Over 100 tuba and euphonium players gathered to play festive tunes

Revisit Christmas past as Point Ellice House displays Victorian-era traditions

Antique bobbles, cards, decor and more are on display

Bold and brassy quintet touches down at UVic

Internationally recognized Canadian Brass performing with Victoria Symphony on Dec. 21

Saanich church kicks off holidays with peaceful Winter Solstice service

St. Luke’s song-filled Christmas services come later

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Most Read