One of Canada’s most successful exports will be forgoing the opportunity to represent his country in the Olympics by skipping the qualifier. Andrew Wiggins released a statement via his agent, Bill, Duffy detailing his choice to miss this summer’s games:
“After much thought, consideration, and speaking with my family, I will not be participating in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament with the Canadian Men’s National Team in July. As my third NBA season approaches, I understand my increased role with the Timberwolves and dedication to the upcoming season much have my total focus. We are building a championship-contending team, which has always been my goals. This was definitely not an easy decision and I fully support and wish Team Canada nothing but success this summer.”
Wiggins joins a lengthy list of Canadians who have withdrawn from the qualifier. Kelly Olynyk and Nik Stauskas are sitting out because they want to recover from offseason surgery, according to TSN’s Josh Lewenberg. Tristan Thompson is currently playing significant minutes in the NBA Finals and is questionable. NBA Draft prospect Jamal Murray, and free agents Dwight Powell and Andrew Nicholson round out the list of players who are likely to skip.
The North has had some bad luck qualifying for the Olympics and hasn’t appeared in a tournament since 2000 in Sydney. Furthermore, their only medal in basketball came all the way back in 1936 when they captured Silver.
Canada, however, is on the up-and-up regarding talents, but they’ll have to come with the best during the qualifier which features 18 teams battling for three spots.