A trio of former Voyageurs will lead Canada at the 2019 Summer Universiade in Naples, Italy, as the red and white will look to bounce back from a 10th place finish in Taipei, Taiwan. Voyageurs bench boss, Shawn Swords, will serve as head coach for the men's basketball team while John Campbell and Justin Seresse, who are head coaches at Toronto and Laurier respectively, will serve as the assistants.
This will be the fifth Universiade for Swords, who won bronze and silver in 1995 and 1997 as a player while he served as an assistant coach in 2013 and 2015. Campbell, who will be making his fourth appearance at the FISU games as an assistant coach, played for the Voyageurs from 1987-1992 before stepping behind the bench of the Laurentian women's team from 1997-2002, compiling an 88-12 record in his five seasons at the helm, winning a pair of OUA Championships and a trio of OUA East Coach of the Year awards. Serresse played under Swords at Laurentian from 2008-2010 and will be making his FISU debut.
For Swords, the chance to lead some of the country's best young players is an exciting venture. "The honour to lead a national team is something I don't take lightly. I am looking forward to showing what Canadian University basketball players have to offer and share my experiences with a new generation of national basketball talent. To be able to stand on the sidelines with an entire coaching staff of former Laurentian players is also a special experience and something I am definitely looking forward to."
Swords and crew will take a roster of 12 to Naples, highlighted by the 2 time reigning U SPORTS Player of the Year, Kadre Gray. For Gray this will be his first Universiade experience but the second time he will pull on the Team Canada jersey in an eight month span after playing in a pair of games in the FIBA Qualifiers in late November.
Even with a call to the senior team under his belt, being asked to represent Canada again is an honour for Gray. "Any time you get a chance to represent your country, it's definitely a blessing. It's going to be exciting to compete with some guys who I play against during the year. Our goal will definitely be to bring back a gold medal, that's what I believe we are capable of."
The tournament gets underway July 3rd with Canada drawing into a pool with Germany, Italy and Norway. The finals take place on July 11th.