Andrew Wiggins to decide on Pan Am Games after NBA season
Teammate Anthony Bennett confirms he’ll play for Canada
Canadian basketball star Andrew Wiggins said he'll make the decision whether to play at this summer's Pan Am Games in Toronto after he concludes his first NBA season.
The potential NBA rookie of the year spoke prior to his first regular-season NBA game in Canada Tuesday night.
"It's a long time away," the Minnesota Timberwolves forward said to a throng of reporters ahead of the team's matchup against the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night.
Wiggins then acknowledged he will play for national team without committing specifically to the Pan Am Games.
"Yeah. The Canadian team… it should be fun with all the guys. I've played with a lot of them before. It should be good," said Vaughan, Ont., native, who's made numerous appearance for Canada's junior squad.
Wiggins' teammate, Anthony Bennett, made it clear he intends to play in this summer's Toronto event.
"Definitely, yeah," said Bennett, who was born in Toronto and grew up in Brampton, Ont. "We have definitely a lot of talent in Canada, especially upcoming [talent]. We've just got to get together in the summer and put all the talent on the team."
Despite Wiggins being lukewarm about it, it appears likely that he will suit up for Canada in Toronto.
Canadian head coach Jay Triano confirmed in early February that he expects Wiggins, and several other top Canadians playing in the NBA to participate in the Pan Am Games as a tuneup to the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament in late August.
"Every player that I've talked to has indicated that they want to play in both Pan Ams and the qualifying tournament," said Triano. "Had the Pan Ams been somewhere else, we would have had a different story, but the fact it's in our backyard, these guys are pretty excited."
Wiggins has been outstanding in his first NBA season. The 20-year-old Canadian has been the NBA's top rookie to this season, averaging 15.7 points per game and 4.3 rebounds.
Canada's roster could be loaded if top players Tristan Thompson (Cleveland) and Kelly Olynyk (Boston) decide to join the team.
San Antonio Spurs point guard Corey Joseph has already committing to playing.
Canada will be in in Group B with Mexico, Argentina and the Dominican Republic, and avoid the powerful Americans through the round-robin stage.
Ryerson University's Mattamy Athletic Centre will host the basketball for the Pan Am Games, which run July 10-26.
With files from The Canadian Press