VEN2013 - Jay Triano (Canada): "Our priority is to take these players to the best of their abilities"
Mr. Jay Triano, who was named coach of the National Team of Canada in August, brings the experience of being the last coach to lead the team to the world stage, in the Olympic Games in Sydney in the 2000. Now he’s back at the helm of Canada’s basketball team and he has started with the right mentality, it is all about preparation.
Triano, who coached the Toronto Raptors for three seasons (2008-2011) and is now an assistant at Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA, has already seen the best Canada has to offer as he organized a 25 man camp in August of last year to prepare for this busy 2013 championship season.
This week, the National Team of Canada announced, with Triano and general manager Steve Nash at the helm, their 2013 Camp attendees list for the FIBA Americas Championship with several stellar names on their roster including the NBA players Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph, Andrew Nicholson and Joel Anthony, along with established players on the international scene such as Andy Rautins and Carl English.
Fibaamericas.com spoke with Triano at the start of the Video Chat sessions with the coaches of national teams who will participate in the FIBA Americas Championship.
FIBA Americas (FA): We would like to start by talking a bit about the work being done by Canada Basketball, with you at the helm along with Steve Nash as General Manager of the team, in which you have chosen to become active participants in the development of players who will end up in the National Team. Please tell us about that process and the work plan that the team has planned previous to the FIBA Americas Championship.
Jay Triano (JT): It started last year in August when we brought 25 players we thought would be in consideration for this year’s team and worked with them intensively for a week. And it's been an exciting process because some of those players we saw last year with potential, today are future stars of the NBA and others have acquired international experience playing in Europe and now come back to us with all this new knowledge.
FA: You were the last coach who led Team Canada to a global competition in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Although now this cycle is to qualify for the World Cup, how will the international experience help in this second chance? What do you think you can improve on this occasion?
JT: Having experience is always good and always helps. I was in the Olympic Games as a coach and had the opportunity to work with the USA team during the 2010 World Cup in Istanbul. This allowed me to stay close to the international game. But at the end of the day the 10 teams that will be in Caracas, are all vying for a spot in the World Cup and it will be no easy feat.
We have to be at our best and that to me is the number one concern right now, take these players to the best of their abilities to Caracas.
FA: You recently announced a list of 18 players who will attend training camp prior to next August's international commitments. During this announcement we also learned that players like Anthony Bennett and Kelly Olynyk will not be part of the team due to injuries. How do you assess this group? What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses as a team?
JT: Yes, it's very sad that we will not have Kelly and Anthony, but they are players who besides being injured have a starting NBA career to look forward to, so we understand.
The hope is that we have enough depth to compensate for their loss. Substituting players of that caliber is always difficult but we have a roster right now that has players with extensive international experience in addition to that ones that we have that play in the NBA. We still find a way to mix those two styles of play, but that's our job and we are working on that.
FA: You are one of five teams in the 2013 Tuto Marchand Cup, along with Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic and the host of Puerto Rico. That's a good tournament to evaluate your competition. But speaking of all teams, what do you know of these adversaries? What can you say about them?
JT: I've seen the international championships games these teams have played in recent years. And NBA players, of course. That’s about it.
But in my opinion the key is the Tuto Marchand, as it is a great event that will also have five very strong teams that will know how to use the Cup to measure themselves and adjust on their way to Caracas.
FA: Finally, we all know that there is a goal, which is to qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Cup. But aside from this very apparent goal, what is the measure of success for you at the end this 2013?
JT: For us success, as well as qualifying is to continue developing this program. Many of our players are very young and do not have vast international experience, so this will provide us with an opportunity to gain that experience and to have them play to the best of their abilities is something that is very important to us.