Canada stunned in Tokyo Olympic men’s basketball qualifying, extending drought

Canada vs Czech Republic - FIBA Men's Olympic Qualifying
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Canada again failed to qualify for the Olympic men’s basketball tournament. Its last appearance was at the 2000 Sydney Games with a team led by Steve Nash.

A Canadian team with eight NBA players lost 103-101 to a Czech Republic team with one NBA player in the semifinals of a last-chance Olympic qualifier in Victoria, British Columbia, on Saturday.

The Czechs’ one NBA player, Tomas Satoransky, banked in a jump shot in the final seconds of overtime.

The Czechs advance to a winner-to-Tokyo final against Turkey or Greece on Sunday. Canada, coached by Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors, is eliminated from Olympic qualifying.

Canada boasts the most NBA players of any nation other than the U.S., but suffered another stunning elimination from Olympic qualifying to a less-heralded basketball nation.

In 2015, a Canadian team with nine NBA players lost 79-78 to Venezuela, with zero NBA players, in a winner-to-Rio Olympics game at an Americas qualifying tournament. Canada lost another winner-to-Rio game to France at a last-chance tournament.

This year’s team had 2014 NBA No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins and standout New York Knicks standout RJ Barrett, but lacked its top two scorers from the NBA, the injured Jamal Murray and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and its top NBA big man, Kelly Olynyk.

At Canada’s last Olympic appearance in 2000, Nash led a scrappy team that nearly reached the medal round. Nash and center Todd MacCulloch were their only NBA players. Nash’s devotion was such that he was reportedly sobbing and had to be dragged off the floor after Canada lost in the quarterfinals to eventual silver medalist France.

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