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Rockets guard Dillon Brooks would welcome more NBA players on Canada’s Olympic team



John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

Published Tuesday, March 12, 2024 2:51PM EDT

OKLAHOMA CITY – As far as Dillon Brooks is concerned, it’s the more the merrier at this summer’s Paris Olympics.

Brooks would welcome more Canadian NBAers on the men’s senior basketball team for the Summer Games, anything to help Canada return to the podium after an 88-year medal drought. Brooks, from Mississauga, Ont., is one of the core of 14 players who have committed to playing for Canada through this Olympic cycle.

“When you come and play for your country it’s all about the pride, it’s not about the money it’s not about anything else except pride and representing your country,” said Brooks after his Houston Rockets played in Oklahoma City against the Thunder. “They’ve played with Team Canada before and we need to get better.

“It doesn’t matter who’s on the team or whatever, we just to get better and to be ready.”

Brooks had 39 points as Canada beat the United States 127-118 in overtime to win bronze at the FIBA World Cup on Sept. 10. Canada earned its first-ever men’s World Cup medal despite missing several key NBA players like point guard Jamal Murray of the NBA champion Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers point guard Andrew Nembhard, and Golden State Warriors small forward Andrew Wiggins.

He said he’d be happy to add those three, and others, to help Canada’s men’s team win its first Olympic medal in nearly a century. Canada earned silver at the 1936 Berlin Games, the first time basketball was an Olympic sport.

“I said this after we won the bronze that it doesn’t matter, we gotta re-up. We gotta get better,” said Brooks. “So add Jamal, add in Nembhard, add in Wiggins.

“That’s going to make our team better. Those guys are selfless players.”

Brooks’s 39 points in the bronze-medal game set the single-game scoring record for a Canadian player at the World Cup, surpassing Carl Ridd’s previous high of 37 in 1954. He said it feels good to be in the history books but he hopes it’s a record that doesn’t stand.

“I hope someone does break it in a gold-medal game,” he said. “Feels good. I just played hard, we played for each other. I had it going and we just kept finding each other.”

MURRAY STAYS AGGRESSIVE – Murray is averaging a career-high 6.6 assists per game for Denver this season. After dishing out 12 in a 125-119 win over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night he said that it’s ironically because he’s looking to pass less.

“Honestly, it’s just being more aggressive to score,” said Murray. “It’s not looking for the pass first. When I put pressure on the rim or on the three or with pace I think it makes the defence react to me first.

“And I got (MVP candidate Nikola Jokic) on my team, so my job is a little easier.”

HURTING MONTREALERS – It was announced on Saturday that Indiana Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin will have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder and will miss the rest of the season. Two days later, the Raptors announced that fellow Montrealer Chris Boucher sustained a partial tear to the medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

Boucher will undergo further assessment by specialists and Toronto said an update will be provided. The forward injured his knee when he tied the Portland Trail Blazers with a tip-in with 0.7 seconds remaining in regulation. The Raptors went on to lose that game in overtime 128-118.

– With files from The Associated Press.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 12, 2024.

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