CAN - Murray tops Canada U17 team, Jackson to miss Dubai
TORONTO (FIBA U17 World Championship) - Shooting guard Jamal Murray highlights Canada's 12-man roster for the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship, but it's the omission of Justin Jackson due to injury that has created a major buzz in the build-up to next month's (8-16 August) tournament in Dubai.
Head coach Dave DeAveiro has nominated eight players who helped Canada to a third-place finish at last summer's FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
"We've had a successful training camp and have begun to come together as a team," said DeAveiro. "We're looking forward to our final stage of preparation in France and competing in the world championship."
Canada's top returnee is Murray, who led Canada in scoring, assists and steals and was third in rebounds in Uruguay last year.
"Jamal is one of the most prolific scorers. He can beat you in so many different ways in scoring. He can take it to the rim, he can shoot the ball, he's very creative. He's an excellent scorer at such a young age," DeAveiro said of Murray, who gained more exposure this past season by playing at the Nike Hoop Summit.
"The experience at the Hoop Summit is only going to make him better. He's gotten stronger, his confidence is growing. Jamal, in terms of position, will be our point guard or combo guard in the two spot. But he's definitely dangerous with the ball in his hands and difficult to defend."
Jackson was on the 2013 U16 team and also played for Canada at the U17 Worlds in 2012 in Kaunas. DeAveiro was expecting him to be a leader for his team, but Jackson will miss the event reportedly to nurse a knee injury.
The coach believes McEwen progressed a lot this year and expects him to be a defensive force.
"He has the ability to play all three spots with the point and the wings and be that defensive lock down guy. His biggest strength is his competitiveness, he's a fierce competitor. When you go into a tournament like this, he will bring it every day. He's going to set the example of how hard we have to play every day," said DeAveiro.
Canada's team is completed by four players who were not on the U16 side last summer - Daniel Cummings, Nicola Djogo, Marquell Fraser and Howard Washington Junior with Nelson Kaputo as an alternate.
The coach thinks Washington Jr could be a big help to his team in Dubai, saying: "He's a strong point guard sees the floor and gets people involved."