Andrew Wiggins will not play for Canada in Olympic qualifier, focused on Wolves


Team Canada is on the rise on the world basketball stage. They’re in the start of a great era of young players, anchored by Minnesota Timberwolves building block Andrew Wiggins. A misstep in the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship (which was punctuated by a horrible call on a rebound that gave Venezuela the chance to win the game) left Canada on the outside looking in for Olympic qualifying. In order to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Canada has to win their qualifying bracket.

That means finishing top 2 in their group of Senegal and Turkey, then avoiding elimination by beating the two teams that will come from the group consisting of France, New Zealand, and the Philippines. If they win their group in the qualifying bracket, Canada gets a chance in the Rio Olympics. That’s going to be tough for them though because Andrew Wiggins announced on Friday that he won’t participate in the July qualifier. He wants to focus on this upcoming Wolves season, as he enters his third year and first with coach Tom Thibodeau.

That’s a pretty tough blow for Canada (although they’re not done because several big names are skipping the qualifier). I’m sure if they do manage to qualify and he’s not worried about the Zika virus threat, he’ll heavily consider playing in the Olympics. As for now, he continues to do his work with Drew Hanlen and work toward being an even more lethal scorer. At just 21 years old, Wiggins still has a lot of skill development in front of him.

I believe he made good strides last year, even though he was being criticized for not improving. As you can see in the Instagram video below, he’s really working on these moves in the post, where he can exploit his match-up advantages by using a move he stole from Kobe Bryant.

As of right now, it’s good for the Wolves that Wiggins is skipping the qualifier. He’ll have very high expectations this coming season and he’s focused on being ready for it. Can’t ask for more than that right now, unless you’re Canada, of course.

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