A buzzer-beating basket by Kyle Landry may have been the marquee highlight in a Team Canada 95-93 victory over the U.S. Virgin Islands at the FIBA Americup 2022 Qualifiers in Puerto Rico yesterday, but the chatter back in Sudbury was all about an 11-point effort from Laurentian University sensation Kadre Gray.
The 23 year-old Toronto native would provide some valuable secondary scoring support to the likes of Aaron Best (28 pts), 2013 NBA 1st overall pick Anthony Bennett (17) and Kaza Kajami-Keane (9) as Canada improved to 2-1 at the tournament, with a rematch with the U.S. Virgin Islands set for Saturday afternoon.
Competing in Group C along with Cuba and the Dominican Republic, Canada split a two game set with the latter last February, besting the DR 89-72 in Oshawa before dropping an 88-84 decision in Santo Domingo.
The top three teams in each pool will advance to the FIBA Americup 2021, with Canada needing to qualify in order to keep the door open to the possibility of advancing to the 2024 Summer Olympics down the road.
Canada was not expected to be seriously tested by the U.S. Virgin Islands, a country ranked well below those donning the maple leaf singlets (51st ranking vs Canada at #21).
A pair of games against Cuba still remain up in the air, as Canada declined to attend a FIBA competition back in November, due to health concerns, while Cuba was unable to make it to this current bubbled event in San Juan.
Joining Gray among the cast of former U Sport stars who are included in this current Canadian roster are siblings Phil and Thomas Scrubb, former Ottawa Gee Gees' sharp-shooter Johnny Berhanemeskel and Grant Shephard (Carleton Ravens).