A couple of the announcers at the Pan Am Games let it slip during a Team Canada match that Burlington’s Brady Heslip was about to sign a nice new contract in Europe for next season, then an oops, they weren’t supposed to say that. They shouldn’t have worried. Italy’s Pallacanestro Cantu made the formal announcement shortly after the tournament ended.
Basketball Cantu has hired Canadian guard Brady Heslip for the next season.
“Heslip is a guard with strong quality offense,” Sports Director of Basketball Cantù, Daniele Della Fiori said. “His career has always been characterized by an excellent percentage from the three point arc, but his knowledge of basketball, the ability to bring the ball up and his remarkable fighting spirit make him a complete player and not just a shooter.”
Details of the contract have not been released, but are believed to be in the mid-six figures.
In the past head coach Jay Triano has openly discussed the importance of using Team Canada to help Canadian players get jobs in the professional ranks. It’s good for the development of the program and it helps keep the talent pool Team Canada has built as large as possible.
“(The players) get to be seen,” Triano said last year. “They get the experience of playing the international game and the scouts do not have to travel here to find them. This summer, we are going into (the European teams) backyard. If it opens up opportunities for our players to keep playing and become employed as basketball players then it’s a great trip.
“Our big thing is to help these players because if we help them become better basketball players, they can come back and help us become a better basketball nation.”
Heslip acknowledged how Team Canada helped him land his nice new paying job this summer.
“Since I started playing about five or six years ago, I just got more confidence every time I’ve felt I’ve added something new to my game every year and recently when I played (for Canada) in 2013 performing and producing and having good games, it gave me a lot of confidence to know I could play at the highest level,” Heslip said recently. “Everybody on our team has a job now, so nobody is worried about auditioning and everyone is just worried about winning and qualifying for the Olympics. I’m going to Italy.”
Heslip has been a big part of Team Canada in the past and he has provided a major-league scoring punch in international contests. With so many FIBA teams using zone defenses, a knock-down three-point specialist like Heslip is essential at times to create any kind of offense. Look for him to continue to be a big part of Team Canada even with the influx of NBA talent.
“I feel like Brady really thrives in this style of play,” Nik Stauskas said. “Especially with his shooting and his ability to space the floor and I feel that it would even be cool to see both of us on the floor at the same time on both wings and really just spread the floor out. Brady is a great player and I’ve known Brady for years.”
Heslip played in the NBA D-League and professionally in Europe for a brief period last season and proved his amazing shooting stroke is no fluke. Heslip can score points in bunches in just about any situation. Pallacanestro Cantu has got themselves a very good player for next season.
“The thing he does best is shoot the basketball,” Triano said. “But, Brady is a good playmaker as well and he knows how to score, whether it’s a shot or a drive to the basket. He is unselfish as a driver and he finds guys who are open. His ability offensively is going to help (Team Canada) score points.”