Centre Chris Boucher and forward Oshae Brissett of the Toronto Raptors have said they intend to play for Canada at an Olympic men’s basketball qualifying tournament next year in Victoria.
Boucher, a Montrealer, has seen increased minutes with the Raptors since bench leader Serge Ibaka was injured. The former MVP of the developmental G League is averaging 6.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 13.5 minutes a game. He has posted a double-double in three of his past five games.
“To shut down all the rumours, I [would] love to play for Team Canada this summer,” Boucher posted on Twitter.
Brissett, from Mississauga, signed a two-way contract with Toronto before the season. He had gone undrafted after two years at Syracuse. He’s averaging one point, 0.3 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 4.3 minutes a game.
With Raptors 905 of the G League, he’s averaging 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 32.3 minutes
“I always take pride in playing for my country and look to put my efforts into helping CanBball,” he posted on Twitter. “Injury sidelined me last summer but I look forward to helping my guys this summer. Let’s go Canada.”
New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett, Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, New Orleans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Memphis Grizzlies swingman Dillon Brooks, Dallas Mavericks centre Dwight Powell and Orlando Magic big man Khem Birch have also said they plan to play for Canada at the tournament, which runs June 23-28.
Canada will play host to Greece, the Czech Republic, Turkey, China and Uruguay in the last-chance qualifying tournament. Canada must win to clinch its first men’s Olympic berth since the 2000 Sydney Games.