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NBA

Toronto Raptors, Canada Basketball head coach Nick Nurse on Olympic Qualifying Tournament: 'I think it's a tough group'

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The Olympic Qualifying Tournament groups were revealed and Canada Basketball has a tough road to reach the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

They will need to emerge as the last standing team of the six countries playing in Victoria, B.C. this summer and the road isn't an easy one, with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greece headlining the group.

Ahead of the Toronto Raptors' game against Toronto native R.J. Barrett's New York Knicks, Raptors and Canada Basketball head coach Nick Nurse fielded some questions regarding the team's draw for the Qualifiers and the commitment from Canadian NBA stars over the past few days.

Among those stars are Barrett, Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, New Orleans Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Memphis Grizzlies guard/forward Dillon Brooks.

MORE: Who should start for Canada at the 2020 Olympics?

Nurse admitted to the media that he pays a little extra attention to the Canadian players when he's watching or scouting games and even went as far to say that he's pulling for their success in non-Raptors games. He believes it's a "great group of guys."

As far as Canada's difficult draw for the Qualifying Tournament, Nurse expected this challenge.

"I think it's a challenging group but it should be," the country's head coach stated. "There's only a couple teams that get a free pass to the Olympics every year. Most of them have to really earn it and we're going to have to earn it. It's a hell of a goal and a worthy thing to accomplish"

The Qualifiers will be some time in late June as Canada looks to make their second Olympics appearance in country history and their first since the 2000 Olympic Games in Australia.

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