Dan Shulman sees bright future for Canadian basketball
Canadian announcer proud to be part of Pan Am Games on home soil
Dan Shulman is one of the most well-known sportscasters in the world. The Canadian play-by-play man calls college basketball and Major League Baseball for ESPN.
Shulman is in the booth for CBC's coverage of men's basketball at the Pan Am Games, and we got a chance to ask him a few questions:
1. What does it mean to you to be calling Pan Am Games basketball in the city you grew up in?
Dan Shulman: It's incredible to be a part of this event here in Toronto, to come home and see the crowds support the ages. Canada's athletes have done a fantastic job representing the country and it's an honour to witness the growth of basketball and other sports.
2. What are your thoughts on Canada's younger crop of players – Jamal Murray (soon to be a Kentucky freshman), Oregon's Dillon Brooks and Gonzaga's Kyle Wiltjer?
DS: Jamal Murray is incredible and he's shown everyone how incredible he plays. He's keeping up with seasoned team mantes like Carl English and Aaron Doornekamp, and he's competing against teams and players that have been around for years. I have no doubt he has a bright career ahead of him and I expect to see him on the [senior] men's roster at the FIBA Americas in Mexico.
For Brooks and Wiltjer, any minutes they can get will help their game. The Pan Ams give them and Murray the opportunity to play against international teams which will help them grow.
3. Who are other international athletes that you think are game-changers in the tournament?
DS: Vitor Benite from Brazil is phenomenal. He showed that, scored 34 points against the USA and his team are strong contenders for gold. If Canada and Brazil meet in the final, it will be interesting to see how he matches up with [Junior] Cadougan and Murray. The USA's Bobby Brown is someone else to watch; played in the NBA and China so he has experience and can lead his team.
4. How do you feel about the current growth of basketball culture in Canada?
DS: The growth of the sport is one of the reasons I'm so excited to be at an event like this. Canadian basketball is just exploding. It's so much better, so much stronger, so much deeper than it was 15-20 years ago. We've got so many more talented players and it's great to see them have the success they're having here on home soil.
I think the next step for the program is to qualify for the Olympics [at FIBA Americas]. That's something that hasn't happened since 2000 and that's why the FIBA tournament in Mexico next month is so important. The team has got to send its best, they've got to play their best, and earn one of those spots for the Olympics for Canada to be viewed as a true power on the international basketball scene.