Virtually all of Canada’s top basketball players elected not to play in September’s FIBA World Cup, including the Mavericks’ Dwight Powell.

It was a decision for most of the players that was based not on lack of want-to, but on logistics and not desiring to go through a rigorous monthlong stretch of training camp and international competition shortly before the NBA opened its training camps.

As a result, Canada did not qualify for the Olympics, finishing 21st in the World Cup.

They will, however, get one last shot to do so – and it will happen on their home turf.

On Friday, FIBA announced that one of the four final qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be at Victoria, British Columbia. Canada will be among the six teams at that venue. The rest of the draw will be determined Nov. 27.

Powell said that while many factors played into players skipping the World Cup, it should help that the final qualifier is in their home country.

“Hopefully everybody wants to be on board,” Powell said before Saturday’s game against the Toronto Raptors. “I know all the guys I’ve played with love BC.

“I know that’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make as far as my career with the national (team). We’ve always been: whatever it takes just to try to get it done. But that was a time that when you have to sit back and put things kind of in perspective and realize that there are a lot of factors at play. Unfortunately, we had a bunch of guys who didn’t feel like it was the best scheduling, timing and situation to help out. For everyone, it was a tough decision.

“But next year, I don’t think that will be the case. I’m excited to finally, hopefully get a chance to do what we’ve been talking about for a while and that’s compete on the grand stage of the Olympics. And obviously, the first step is to qualify. And having games in our country is huge. It’s a big responsibility, but it’s also good opportunity.”

Canada’s men’s team has not qualified for the Olympics since 2000. But there are 20 Canadians in the NBA this season, including several who were chosen high in the draft.

“At the end of the day, we all want to compete and we all want to make the Olympics,” Powell said. “And I think the reason anybody played for the national team at all is to play at the highest level and help your country represent on the world stage the best you can. I think it was unfortunate that the timing and the situation were as they were (at the World Cup).”

Nick Nurse, the Raptors’ head coach who doubles as coach of the Canadian team, said: “I hope it’s really important. I think the home court helps. I’m not sure in that kind of competition it’s the end-all and be-all. But it certainly helps. But for us, we hope that it gets our guys to play. They can stay home and get ready to play and they get a shot to go to the Olympics.”

Twitter: @ESefko

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