Will Canada, Russia miss ’14 FIBA World Cup?
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Team USA sent scouts to Eurobasket 2013 in Slovenia and the FIBA Americas championship in Venezuela, and now it has detailed reports on potential opponents at FIBA’s World Cup of Basketball in Spain next summer.
After the completion of FIBA continental championships this summer, including Eurobasket on Sunday, which France won for the first time, 20 of the 24 World Cup teams have been finalized and the four remaining teams will be awarded wild-card spots.
Americas (5): USA (defending Olympic gold medalist), Mexico (2013 FIBA Americas champion), Puerto Rico, Argentina, Dominican Republic.
Europe (7): Spain (host country), France (2013 Eurobasket champion), Lithuania, Croatia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Serbia.
Oceania (2): Australia (2013 FIBA Oceania champion), New Zealand.
Asia (3): Iran (2013 FIBA Asian champion), Philippines, South Korea.
Africa (3): Angola (2013 FIBA Africa champion), Egypt, Senegal.
The four remaining spots will be awarded at FIBA’s central board meeting Nov. 23-24 in Buenos Aires, and while there are plenty of viable candidates, the wild-card entries come with an expensive price tag: Each wild card must pay €500,000 ($674600) — no small fee, especially for national teams without a huge budget.
China is almost a guarantee. With nearly just as many people playing basketball in China as there are people in the USA, it makes sense for FIBA to bring China to Spain, and China is willing to pay the fee.
Canada is an option, too. As the country develops its young talent (Tristan Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Andrew Nicholson, Anthony Bennett, Kelly Olynyk among others) and becomes more competitive on the international scene, playing in the World Cup is important for Canada’s future. However, €500,000 – approximately $675,000 gives Canada reason to consider the value of that investment.
Brazil didn’t finish in the top four at FIBA Americas Championship and missed out on one of the automatic bids. As host of the 2016 Olympics, Brazil needs the experience if its wants to make a run at a medal on its home court in three years. The exposure is important, too.
There is no shortage of options in Europe, from Russia, which entered Eurobasket in turmoil (its coach quit … [For more on Will Canada, Russia miss out on 2014 FIBA World Cup?, click here.]