Canada to host last-chance men's Olympic basketball qualifier in June
Victoria chosen as site of 6-team tournament, Canada must win to earn ticket to Tokyo
Canada's quest to qualify for the men's basketball tournament at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will take place at home.
FIBA announced Friday that Canada will play host to one of the four final Olympic qualifying tournaments. Victoria, B.C., and the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre will be the site of the six-team tournament which takes place Jun. 23-28, 2020.
Three similar tournaments will also be played in Split, Croatia, Kaunas, Lithuania and Belgrade, Serbia.
Twenty-four teams will be divided into the four tournaments with the official draw for both the men's and women's Olympic basketball qualifiers taking place on Nov. 27.
The six teams will be divided into two groups of three teams each and play each team in their group once. The top two from each group will advance to the semifinals with only the tournament winner qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
"Being able to host a FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament at home is a great opportunity for our team on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games," Canada Basketball CEO Glen Grunwald said in a statement. "This is sure to be a week-long celebration that fans of basketball in Greater Victoria, and across our great country, won't ever forget."
Canada's men are ranked 21st in the FIBA world rankings and has failed to qualify for the Olympics since 2000.
The 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup produced seven teams for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Argentina, Australia, Spain, France, Iran, Nigeria, and the U.S. received berths from the event, Japan as hosts rounds out the automatic qualifiers.
Canada, missing most of its NBA-calibre players, finished 21st. Cory Joseph and Orlando's Kham Birch — participated in the World Cup in September.
But at least one Canadian appears to be willing to suit up for the qualifying tournament.
"I plan on being there, I plan on playing regardless of if I get a contract or whatever happens," Memphis forward Dillon Brooks told the NBA's website. "I'm going to play for Team Canada because you know I missed out this year and I really want to play and make it to the Olympics.
"It's something in my basketball career that I want to do — wear that red and white. It's going to be a special year for us in Canada."
With Files from CBC Sports