Andrew Wiggins lost 66 games with the Timberwolves last season, 10 in his lone year at Kansas and countless others while growing up.
But Canada’s loss to Venezuela in the FIBA Americas semifinals – with a berth in the 2016 Rio Olympics on the line – was different
A win over Mexico in the third-place game doesn’t change that.
Wiggins, via Josh Lewenburg of TSN:
“This game won’t make up for it,” said Wiggins, who called Friday’s loss the worst of his young career. “We’re a day late in how we played today. It’s hard. It hurts. Everyone on the team is still hurting but we have another chance [to qualify for the Olympics] and we have to prepared for it.”
Canada is a burgeoning international contender, and it’s clear Wiggins cares deeply about getting the nation’s basketball program on track.
The pressure will be on next summer at the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments. Canada will be one of 18 teams vying for three Olympic bids.
The good news: Several potential Canadian national-team members – including Wiggins, Kelly Olynyk, Cory Joseph, Anthony Bennett, Tristan Thompson, Trey Lyles and Jamal Murray – should be better then just because they’re so young.
The bad news: The competition, which will include at least five European teams, will be stiffer.
But if Wiggins is truly driven by this setback, that will only help Canada’s chances.