Olynyk, Canada Ready For FIBA Americas Championship Opener
MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina - Gonzaga University junior Kelly Olynyk and his Canadian Senior Men's National Team teammates will begin play in the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship Wednesday against Brazil at 4:30 p.m. PDT.
At stake is a berth in the 2012 London Olympics. The FIBA Americas Championship field consists of Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Cuba in Group A, with Argentina, Puerto Rico, Panama, Paraguay and Uruguay in Group B. The 10 teams are competing for one of two berths in the London Games.
This summer's FIBA Americas is the FIBA Americas zone qualifying tournament for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The top two finishers of the tournament will qualify for the Olympics; while the teams that finish third to fifth will participate in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament from July 2 - 8, 2012.
The 2004 Olympic Champion and 2002 World runner-up, Argentina will host FIBA Americas for the first time since 2001, when they won the tournament and a spot to Indianapolis World Championship.
The United States has already qualified to London Games as World Champions and will not take part of the tournament.
Brazil is the defending champions. They beat host Puerto Rico in the final at the 2009 FIBA Americas. Argentina placed third and earned the last spot for Turkey 2010.
All the 40 games will be played at the Polideportivo Islas Malvinas Stadium, which is located in Mar del Plata, a city 250 miles from Buenos Aires. The stadium, with a capacity of 8500, has been partially renewed and will count on a four-side LED screen.
During the preliminary round, four games will be played every day, two in the morning session and two in the night session.
The four top teams of each group will advance to the quarterfinal round that gives four semifinal spots.
Olynyk, from Kamloops, British Columbia, is a veteran of international competition. He played for Canada's Junior Men's National Team at the FIBA U19 World Championship in New Zealand in the summer of 2009, helping Canada to seventh place, and played in last fall's 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey, averaging 8.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg.
The 7-0, 238-pounder averaged 5.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg and 0.7 assists/game last season for the Bulldogs while playing in all 35 games with four starts.
NBA talent on the Canadian team includes Joel Anthony (Montreal, QC). Anthony recently completed his fourth season with the Miami Heat, Cory Joseph (Pickering, ON), who was recently selected in the first round of the 2011 NBA draft by the San Antonio Spurs and Andy Rautins (Syracuse, N.Y.), who spent his rookie season with the New York Knicks.
TSN2 will be the exclusive Canadian broadcaster for the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship. Coverage begins with Wednesday's game. TSN2 will broadcast all of Canada's preliminary games with addition games to be confirmed.
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