NBA rookie star Andrew Wiggins putting off Pan Am Games decision for now

By Lori Ewing


Andrew Wiggins in Team Canada Jersey

TORONTO _ Canadian star Andrew Wiggins won’t say whether or not he’ll play in this summer’s Pan American Games. He’s putting off the decision for now.

“It’s a long time away. I’m going to deal with all that once the season is over,” Wiggins said.

The 20-year-old rookie was in Toronto for his first NBA appearance at Air Canada Centre as his Minnesota Timberwolves took on the Raptors on Wednesday.

He and Canadian teammate Anthony Bennett were both questioned during the morning shootaround about their national team plans for a summer that includes both the Pan Am Games and the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament.

While he was non-committal about when, Wiggins did say he’s “looking forward” to playing for Canada again.

“Yeah. The Canadian team. . . it should be fun with all the guys. I’ve played with a lot of them before. It should be good,” said the star rookie from Vaughan, Ont., who’s made numerous appearance for Canada’s junior squad.

Bennett, meanwhile, gave a big thumbs-up to playing this summer.

“Definitely, yeah,” he said. “We have definitely a lot of talent in Canada. Especially upcoming. We’ve just got to get together in the summer and put all the talent on the team.”

Bennett, who was born in Toronto and grew up in Brampton, said he was excited to play on the international stage in his hometown.

“Man, I couldn’t even tell you (what it would mean),” Bennett said. “I think it’ll be pretty much crazy. The environment will be kind of wild. But pretty much we’ve just got to stay focused.”

Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre will host the basketball for the Pan Am Games, which run July 10-26.

The FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament is Aug. 25 to Sept. 6 in Monterrey, Mexico.

Canada’s men’s team hasn’t made an Olympic appearance since the 2000 Games in Sydney.

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