Toronto Raptors' Nick Nurse to coach Team Canada in World Cup

By Connor Grott

June 16 (UPI) -- Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse announced Sunday that he plans to lead the Canadian national team, beginning with the World Cup this year.

Nurse told reporters that a deal to make him coach of Team Canada in the World Cup was "just about done."


"I'm getting ready to take [on] another situation soon because I think it's going to make me a better coach," Nurse said. "It's something I'm looking forward to doing."

The 51-year-old coach, who led the Raptors to the franchise's first NBA championship this season, previously was an assistant with Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics. Nurse said his experience from coaching that team led him to take on the Canadian national team job.

"I learned a lot as a coach in that run and I'm hoping this experience will do the same," Nurse said. "It's a unique time with the World Cup and the Olympics within a short 13- to 14-month window. And it fits in okay. I'm just giving up some vacation time."

Among the players that could be on Canada's roster are Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, former Duke forward RJ Barrett, Cleveland Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson and Dallas Mavericks forward Dwight Powell.

The Raptors won the NBA title with their Game 6 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night. Nurse was the ninth rookie coach in league history to win a championship. He also won two titles in the NBA's G League, securing championships with the Iowa Energy (2011) and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (2013).

Team Canada plays Australia on Sept. 1 in the 2019 World Cup in China.

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