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Old 11-23-2009, 12:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Magloire may heed call

The Big Cat can see himself prowling the court for Canada at next summer's FIBA world basketball championship in Turkey.

"Representing my country is an honour and a privilege and it's something I've entertained," Toronto native and Miami Heat centre Jamaal Magloire said last night when asked if playing at the 2010 worlds is on his radar.

"I'm looking forward to more dialogue with the Canada Basketball."

Magloire has yet to formally commit to the worlds, but the former Eastern Commerce star is leaning toward playing, which would mark the return of a proverbial prodigal son, and would be a major boost for coach Leo Rautins and his team, which will almost certainly include San Antonio Spurs forward and former Toronto Raptor, Matt Bonner, as well as Magloire's Miami teammate, centre Joel Anthony. Throw in some senior European-based professionals such as Carl English, Jermaine Anderson and Aaron Doornekamp and Canada, ranked 19th in the world, might actually do some damage in Turkey.

Magloire previously for Canada as an 18-year-old, but mostly because of contract and injury snafus has not donned the red and white since, and has been heavily criticized for such. But he also came up during a time when many black players felt estranged and unaccepted by the national organization. There was a sense that the folks who ran Canada Basketball couldn't relate to the black player.

Canada Basketball, however, has made great strides to address that situation.

"Everybody has always (dumped) on Jamaal about not playing in the past. But what they don't realize is that Jamaal has actually played for Canada," said Rautins. "It's amazing how many guys have torn him down, not knowing he has played."

In any event, Rautins would be thrilled to have the Big Cat in his lineup in Turkey.

"If we get him, he makes us significantly bigger, stronger and tougher," said Rautins. "I'd love to have him. But it's a no- pressure situation for him."

"I think he's at a point in his life, in his career, where he'd be a great asset maturity-wise for our team, because we're so young," added Rautins, who guided the national side to a surprising fourth-place showing at last summer's Tournament of the Americas, qualifying Canada for the worlds for the first time since 2002. "Jamaal is very eloquent and he's got a lot of experience he can offer."

Magloire, along with Anthony, attended a Canada Basketball function on Thursday night in Toronto and thoroughly enjoyed himself. It appears he is ready to take that commitment to the national program one step further.
LINK - Toronto Sun
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