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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Capital Regional District is considering adding another dollar a year to the parkland acquisition fund fee for homeowners. (Black Press Media file photo)
One dollar or two? Greater Victoria parks acquisition fee hike spurs debate

$2 a year too steep, CRD committee recommends $1 a year increase per household

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

Patrol officers from VicPD’s Esquimalt division responded to a call about hateful graffiti in Macaulay Park Wednesday evening. (Black Press Media file photo)
Anti-Semitic, hate-based graffiti found in Esquimalt park

Police seek suspects after fresh hate-based graffiti found Wednesday evening

Alyssa Gerwing, executive director of the Sidney Museum and Archives, gets into the Halloween spirit with a lit-up jack-o-lantern. With Treat Street cancelled, the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society has organized a series of other events and activities under the heading of Halloween Spooktacular. (Wolfgang Depner/News Staff)
Sidney serves up ghoulish spills and thrills during Halloween

A virtual Halloween treasure hunt and scary drive-in movies among tricks and treats

Artists, activists and supporters stand at the ‘More Justice, More Peace’ mural in Victoria’s Bastion Square after the letter ‘S’ was painted over in black. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
ACAB removed from Victoria’s More Justice, More Peace mural

New message points to VicPD, City of Victoria for silencing BIPOC voices

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Pilot Kevin Maher participated in a flyover of a ceremony at the Cobble Hill cenotaph on Oct. 22 in a 1940 North American (Noorduyn) Harvard aircraft. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cobble Hill remembers lost military members with ceremony, flyover

Annual event commemorates those who died in non-combat roles

Adam Ireton holds his son Weston, along with Kristen and Beckett as they celebrate Weston's last day of treatment for lukemia. (Kristen Ireton photo)
799 days: ‘Super’ Weston defeats cancer

‘Weston is disease-free now, so we will be going into a period of checkups and things until he’s 18’

Most Read