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Canada's head coach Leo Rautins after a game against France at the FIBA Basketball World Championships in August. (SERGIO PEREZ/Sergio Perez/Reuters)
Canada's head coach Leo Rautins after a game against France at the FIBA Basketball World Championships in August. (SERGIO PEREZ/Sergio Perez/Reuters)

Canada Basketball sticks by its coaches Add to ...

For those trying to understand why Leo Rautins and Allison McNeill are returning to coach the senior men's and women's national teams after winning just one game between them at their respective world championships, Canada Basketball executive director Wayne Parrish has some charts he can show you.

On one are the names of 288 players - 12 roster members from each of the 24 teams in the men's world championship held in Turkey last month.

With the help of Maurizio Gherardini, men's team director and senior vice-president of the Toronto Raptors, each player in the tournament was assigned a rank based on the league he played in professionally and the success he had in that league.

Kevin Durant, the star of the gold-medal-winning U.S. team, would have been near the top, followed closely by most of his teammates.

Players such as Canadian forward Jevohn Shepherd, at the time of the worlds still looking for his first significant professional job after an inconsequential career as a backup at the University of Michigan, would have been further down the list.

When the math was done and the grid completed, Gherardini and Parrish rated Canada's talent as 21st in the 24-team tournament. So when Canada finished 22nd at the worlds, it wasn't so much a failure as a predictable result.

Similarly, when McNeill took the second-youngest roster to the world championship in the Czech Republic and went 1-7 to finish in 12th place - the average age of the starting point guards of the eight teams that made it to the quarter-finals was 28.7 - the Canada Basketball number crunchers decided it wasn't time to blow things up, but rather an opportunity to build with the benefit of realistic expectations.

"There is something to be said for having a consistent message," Parrish said after announcing that Rautins and McNeill have had their contracts extended to 2012, or the end of the current Olympic quadrennial.

The message delivered on Monday was that Canada Basketball is an organization with a beguiling future. Its once-desperate balance sheet is vastly improved because of sponsorship and funding arrangements from Bell Canada, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and the federal government's team sport initiative.

And there appears to be a bulge of young talent on the horizon. Five Canadians could be taken in the first round of the NBA draft in the next three years, or as many as have been taken to date.

In addition to the contract extension for the senior team coaches, men's assistant coach Renato Pasquali was announced as the organization's technical director and former Ontario Basketball executive Michele O'Keefe was announced as head of basketball operations with a mission to integrate and harmonize the sport's often fractured national infrastructure.

Parrish said the result of the various efforts being made - on the financial and technical sides - won't likely be fully evident for years to come, which is why he's targeting the 2016 Olympics in Brazil and not the 2012 Games in London as a goal for having both national teams qualify for the same Olympics for the first time since 1984.

Changing coaches now - defensible given the won-loss records - wouldn't automatically help Canada reach its goals, Parrish said, and could well be a setback for an organization trying to build a foundation for lasting success.

For Canada Basketball the motto may as well be: Stability, for a change.

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