Hoops stars get Canada call

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Three players well known to local basketball fans are going to get a chance to make an impact on the national basketball scene.

Londoner Warren Ward, a member of the National Basketball League of Canada’s Windsor Express, along with London Lightning players Junior Cadougan and Joel Friesen are among 18 players invited to attend the senior men’s national team training and selection camp at the BioSteel Centre in Toronto from Saturday through Thursday.

Cadougan and Friesen played major roles in leading the Lightning to a NBL championship this year.

After the selection camp those who are named will play in the FIBA AmeriCup 2017 beginning next Friday and running through Sept. 3. The tournament features 12 national teams from the Americas and will be played in Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay.

Canada will be part of Group B in Bahía Blanca, Argentina, and will take on the United States Virgin Islands on Aug. 27 before facing Argentina and Venezuela to conclude the group phase. The top team in each group will advance to the final four.

Cadougan is no stranger to the national team. He played for Canada at the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 tournament, leading the team in scoring. He played for the senior national team at the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship and 2015 Pan Am Games, winning a silver medal at the Pan Ams.

Ward played Canadian university basketball and had a stint with several NBL Canada teams, including the Lightning. Ward has experience representing Canada internationally, having played for his country in the 2011 Pan Am Games and 2011 Summer Universiade.

Friesen played university ball at Alberta and began his professional career with the Halifax Rainmen in the NBL. This is his first crack at a national team.

Those who make the FIBA AmeriCup 2017 team and perform well will have an inside track at staying with the team through qualifying stages for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Canada’s men are ranked eighth in the Americas and 24th globally. 

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