Current Canadian Senior Mens National Team head coach Jay Triano, now an assistant with Portland recently opened up about his tenure in Toronto. More specifically time spent as head coach. In a feature posted on Triano told Casey Holdhal the Blazers beat writer “Right now I am at one of the happiest moments in my life,” said Triano. “I love Portland, I love my role here, I love this team, I love the people I work with. And when I look back to being a head coach, I didn’t feel like this. I love coming in here every single day. I know in Toronto it was a little bit of a different situation and I had been there for 10 years in different capacities. I look back and I was miserable as a head coach. A lot of it has to do with the pressure but a lot of it has to do with the fact that, when you’re a head coach, there’s a lot less basketball. That was the biggest difference. I did less basketball as a head coach than I do as an assistant.”

Jay Triano all smiles as assistant coach in Portland.

Makes you wonder how he feels about controlling the sideline with Team Canada. The Raptors have long struggled to shake off the ‘losing’ label that’s haunted them since Vince Carter departed in 2004. In other words nobody expects the Raptors to win a championship, 50 games let alone clinch a top 4 seed in the East. But Canada? Different story.

Last Summer in Venezuela Canada failed to secure a ticket to the 2014 World Cup this September in Spain. A major set back for a nation who’s growing basketball prowess was starting to garner global attention. The failures at the FIBA Americas was devestating for supporters but is still salvageable if Canada can claim 1 of 4 wild card spots allocated in March later this year. A shady system FIBA uses that most experts think with a Andrew Wiggins verbal agreement to participate Canada is all but assured at this point to be taking their talents to Spain this September.

Coach Triano has decisions to make both in the front court and back court.

Up front Tristan Thompson and Andrew Nicholson patrolled the post in Venezuela. In addition to Anthony Bennett and Kelly Olynyk added to the mix now are:

In the back court the call get’s even tougher. Highly doubt Corey Joseph has the same back up corps as last summer. Pick your Phillip Scrubb & Junior Cadougan replacements.

At the wing spot is where Canada was critiscised most last summer. A position many back home thought belonged to Michigan sophmore Nik Stauskus. Consensus around basketball circles was Stauskus turned down the opportunity in early summer time to join Canada’s University squad that travelled to Russia. Stauskus wanted to meet personal goals of adding strength to his frame in order to improve his case as an NBA prospect but had the senior team stint a personal goal also. Triano following the last game in Venezuela said the non invite to participate with Team Canada late in the summer was something Michigan head coach Jim Beiliene and Triano agreeed on mutually and the late summer snub was not related at all to Stauskus’ personal decison to skip the  early summer tour of duty for the Canucks,

“Nik is part of our program. He was at our camp last year (2012). This year he had a couple of health things that he needed to take care of to get ready for his year at Michigan thats why he didnt participate on the student team that went to Russia or the team that went to China earlier this summer. He is definately in our plans and a guy we definately think can be part of this program.” reiterated Triano. When directly asked if he was invited to the Senior camp in August Triano spoke candid, “No he was not invited in August, he made it clear at the begginning of the summer that he would be staying the summer working with the coaches in Michigan. I had a great chance to speak with his coach John Beiliene who was coaching as an assitant for the U.S. team while we were in Russia. We spent alot of time talking about Nik and his future with the Canadian program. We both agreed this summer wasn’t a good summer for Nik as far as taking care of his bodyso he could play a injury free season next year at the University of Michigan.” 

Considering how scoring was an issue that plagued the programs success it was suprising that Stauskus was not invited. Moving forward Canadians can be optimistic and hopeful Stauskus and freshman phenom Andrew Wiggins can fill the scoring void on the international level at the wing.