Canada finalizes coaching staff ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup

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TORONTO, Ont. (July 22, 2019) – Canada Basketball announced Monday the hiring of Nate Bjorkgren, Brad Greenberg, Nathaniel Mitchell and Jon Goodwillie as assistant coaches for Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.

“I’m really looking forward to working alongside great coaches like Gordie, Nate, Brad, Nathaniel and Jon as we head to China for the FIBA Basketball World Cup,” said Team Canada head coach Nick Nurse. “We all love and respect the international game, and we all bring different experiences and perspectives to this effort. This is an important tournament for Canada, and I believe that our coaching staff is prepared for the challenge,” Nurse said.

Currently an assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors, Bjorkgren, along with Nurse, led the team to their first NBA championship in franchise history this season. After serving as an advance scout during the 2017-18 season, Bjorkgren was promoted to an assistant role prior to last season. Before joining the Raptors, Bjorkgren was an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns from 2015-17.

Bjorkgren was also head coach for several seasons in the NBA G League with the Bakersfield Jam (2014-15), Iowa Energy (2013-14), Santa Cruz Warriors (2012-13) and Dakota Wizards (2011-12).  The Raptors’ NBA championship wasn’t the first time Bjorkgren and Nurse have had success together as the pair coached the Energy to the 2010-11 NBA G League Championship title.

Greenberg is currently the Head Coach of Maccabi Ashdod in the Israeli Premier League, a position he has held since 2017.

In his first season with Maccabi Ashdod, Greenberg led the team to the best regular season record (20-13) and highest finish (4th) in club history and was named Coach of the Year in the Israeli Winner League. In addition, Greenberg has also coached professionally in Turkey (Basketball Super League), Russia (VTB United League) and Venezuela (Liga Professional De Baloncesto)

Greenberg also has experience coaching in FIBA international competition and most recently was the Head Coach of Kosovo’s National Team. For the first time in history, the Kosovo Basketball Federation competed in the FIBA World Cup Pre-Qualifications and advanced to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers.  He has also served as an assistant coach with the Venezuelan National Team that finished 5th in the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship and hosted the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men.

Greenberg spent 12 years in the NBA as an assistant coach with the LA Clippers and the New York Knicks, a scout and then both Director of Player Personnel and Vice President of Player Personnel of the Portland Trail Blazers and a year as General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Mitchell is currently an assistant coach with the Charlotte Hornets, after spending the previous three seasons as an assistant coach of the Raptors 905, the Toronto Raptors G League affiliate.  Prior to joining the Raptors 905, Mitchell spent one season as an assistant with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA G League. 

Most recently, the Toronto, Ont. native was an assistant coach with Team Canada during the first three windows of the FIBA Basketball World Cup Americas Qualifiers.  Previously, Mitchell has also been an assistant with Canada at the FIBA AmeriCup 2017 in Argentina and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Manila, Philippines back in 2016.

Goodwillie joins Team Canada after having spent the last 13 years as both an Assistant Video Coordinator (2006-11) and Video Coordinator (2011-present) with the Toronto Raptors.

Earlier this month, Goodwillie, a graduate of Brock University in St. Catharines, served as the Raptors’ Summer League head coach and guided the team to a 2-3 record, including wins over the Knicks and Indiana Pacers.

Last month, Canada Basketball announced Nick Nurse as Head Coach of Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.  Nurse is also currently the head coach of the Toronto Raptors, a position he has held since 2018, after serving as an assistant coach with the team the previous five seasons (2013-2018).

In addition, Gordie Herbert, who last coached Team Canada to a pair of victories during the second window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers, was also named Associate Head Coach and is a member of Nurses’ staff at the upcoming World Cup. Herbert will also coach Canada at the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers which are set to begin in February 2020.

The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China (Aug. 31-Sept. 15, 2019) will be the biggest edition of FIBA’s flagship event with a record 32 participating teams playing 92 games over 16 days.

Canada is in Group H for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 and will face Australia (September 1), Lithuania (September 3) and Senegal (September 5) in the First Round.

For the first time, the FIBA Basketball World Cup will qualify seven teams directly for the following year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Canada must finish either first or second in the Americas zone to earn a direct berth.

For additional information on the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019, visit http://www.fiba.basketball/basketballworldcup/2019

Courtesy Canada Basketball