Canada's road to the world men's basketball championship will start at home.
The national team announced Thursday it will play a pair of exhibition games against France at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Aug. 12 and 13.
This year's edition of the Jack Donahue International Classic marks the beginning of an ambitious summer schedule for Canada, leading up the world championship in Turkey (Aug. 28 to Sept. 12).
The Canadian men will travel to Greece for a tournament which includes Greece, Slovenia and Serbia, and then to Turkey for a tourney featuring Argentina, Turkey and Lebanon.
France is one of the team's in Canada's group at the 2010 world championship. The two teams last played at the 2000 Olympics, when France eliminated Canada from medal contention in the quarter-finals.
Boris Diaw of the Charlotte Hornets, Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers and Mickael Pietrus of the Orlando Magic are among the NBA players who could potentially be on the French roster.
"It means so much for our team to be preparing for the FIBA world championship right here at home, in front of friends, family and Canadian basketball fans," Canadian head coach Leo Rautins said.
"There is nothing like a home court filled with cheering fans in red and white to motivate our team. We have a great group of guys coming back this year, and look forward to continuing to build on the successes from last summer."
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