PREVIEW: Men’s wheelchair basketball team hopes to rebound vs. Turkey

Poor shooting led to opening loss to Spain

Nik Goncin
Nik Goncin looks to pass the ball at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima. Canadian Paralympic Committee

The Canadian Men’s Wheelchair team looks to play better basketball on Thursday night against Turkey after their opening 78-41 loss to Spain.

Sitting sixth in Group A, and holding the worst point differential, Canada needs every possible win to ensure their place in the quarterfinals.

A big factor in Canada’s success will be Patrick Anderson.

Widely known as one of the best to ever play the sport, the Edmonton native got off to a slow start in these Paralympics. The three-time gold medalist shot just 25 per cent from the floor finishing with just eight points.

Even before his return, Patrick Anderson (12) already secured his place in Paralympic history. (Lefteris Pitarakis/The Canadian Press)

The team’s success has been tied to Anderson’s play in past tournaments: when he plays, the Canadians are staples on the podium, but in the 42-year old’s lone absence, the team finished 0-5 at Rio 2016.

A bright spot for Canada has been Nik Goncin. The 29-year old from Regina, Sask., averaged 20.8 points per game in the 2018 World Championships, and led the team with 15 points in their opening loss

As for their opponent, Turkey, they were efficient against the South Koreans — shooting 71 per cent from the paint, and drawing 23 fouls en route to their 80-70 win.

For the Canadians to get into the win column, they will have to worry about Turkey’s ball movement and the big three of Ozgur Gurbulak, Ismail Ar, and Ferit Gumus. The Turkish stars accounted for 61 of the team’s 80 points (25, 19, 17, respectively) while Gurblak added 13 assists.

Despite their top players putting up big numbers, the time played could wear them down in tournament play. Keeping starters all well above 30 minutes could open the door for Canada to make a late push in their second match of Tokyo 2020.

About this article

Posted: Aug 26 2021 3:21 pm
Filed under: Basketball Parasports Sports Tokyo Paralympics Wheelchair Basketball