Shai Gilgeous-Alexander commits to Team Canada
With Canada Basketball still looking for a berth in the 2020 Olympics, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander wants to help.
The Toronto native announced his re-commitment to the Canadian national team Tuesday on Twitter.
“I’ve known and made a promise to myself that representing my country is something I will continue to do,” read a post on Gilgeous-Alexander’s verified Twitter account, “and as my bro @BeMore27 (Jamal Murray) publicly announced his commitment, I too will be there to do my best to help @CanBball get to Tokyo!”
Gilgeous-Alexander’s announcement came just hours after the Denver point guard announced.
Canada failed to earn an automatic berth to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the FIBA World Cup this September. A surge of American and Canadian NBA players opted out of the World Cup, often citing health and preparation concerns.
Gilgeous-Alexander posted on Twitter that he decided not to participate because he wanted to make sure he was “in the best position to take full advantage of (his) second professional year.” He was also transitioning onto a new team after being traded from the Clippers to the Thunder as a part of the deal that sent Paul George to Los Angeles.
Canada went 2-3 in the World Cup, but it did earn a spot in one of four FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments in June. That tournament marks Canada’s last chance to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.
Gilgeous-Alexander entered play Wednesday averaging a career-high 19.3 points in 34.8 minutes per game with the Thunder this season.
Donovan’s 6 message to Diallo
Thunder coach Billy Donovan promised Hamidou Diallo that a spot in the rotation will be waiting for him when he returns from injury.
Diallo will be re-evaluated in four to six weeks after suffering a hyperextension sprain in his right elbow last Friday against the Lakers.
“I think for any young player, the concern always for those guys is where am I gonna fit in, how am I gonna fit in when I come back? Am I behind the eight ball? And that’s not the case for our team,” Donovan said. “We need Hami, and I told him that when he comes back, we’re gonna put him right back into the rotation.”
The 21-year-old guard was making considerable improvements in his second season. Diallo’s minutes jumped from 10.3 per game as a rookie to 21.3 as a sophomore.
Diallo is shooting 50 percent from the field this season, up from 45.5 percent last year. The former second-round pick averaged 8.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 12 games before his injury.
“Generally, players make the biggest jump from their first year to their second year,” Donovan said. “He clearly has made a really big jump. I feel bad for him, but when he does come back, there’s still gonna be a lot of games left to play. We just gotta make sure that mentally and physically he’s in a good place that we can help him continue to develop.”