Melvin Ejim talked first bronze medal in Canadian history, importance of beating the USA

2023-09-11T10:14:28+00:00 2023-09-11T10:19:25+00:00.

Cesare Milanti

11/Sep/23 10:14

The Canadian forward Melvin Ejim spoke in the mixed zone after beating the USA after getting the bronze medal

By Cesare Milanti /

MANILA, Philippines – Players committing to representing Canada in major international tournaments over multiple summers stretched to Melvin Ejim. The same bunch is now heading to the 2024 Olympic Games, carrying the experience of winning bronze in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

“It’s huge, it’s the first time we were able to get a medal,” stressed Ejim following the win over the United States in the bronze medal game held in Mall of Asia Arena Sunday.

“It’s an amazing feeling for us, something which will prepare us for the future to do even better. To show what we can reach when we have guys who are committed when we work to come in and represent our country,” he added, “It’s an amazing thing for us tonight.”

Dillon Brooks poured in a game-high 39 points against the USA.

“He’s a performer, he’s amazing. I don’t think I have a say much,” commented Ejim, “He had 39 points, he made amazing passes and shots. He was just great out there. When you have guys like that who are committed, guys like Shai [Gilgeous-Alexander], RJ [Barrett], Nickeil [Alexander-Walker], Lu [Dort], Kelly [Olynik], who are coming in to put Canada on the map is amazing. Dillon was amazing today and I don’t expect anything less from him. He’s an amazing player and he’s been showing that throughout his career.”

Ejim, 32, has spent most of his career in Europe. Following the World Cup, he will switch focus to a second campaign with Unicaja, featuring the Basketball Champions League and domestic competitions in Spain. At the international level, he emerged among the 14 players committing to representing Canada through the ongoing cycle of international competitions, stretching from 2022 to 2024.

“These guys are obviously really talented, what I learned the most is how committed they are to the program. Everyone came here sacrificing something to represent Canada,” noted Ejim, “All of these guys came here, they’re willing to do what’s needed for us to win. That says a lot about them as people, as characters, and about our program. In the future, we will have more and more talented players, who want to achieve more than what we did. Bronze is amazing, but we have the talent, the people, and the organization to go for gold. In the Olympics, we can show that.”

His contribution amounted to 2.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.3 steals, and 0.1 blocks per contest over eight games played in the World Cup.

“Even if it’s not this year, I believe in the future they’re gonna understand, see what Canada can do, and want to be a part of it. There’s been a lot of guys who wanted to be a part of this and they couldn’t be here for a bunch of reasons,” said Ejim on potential additions to the national team pool, “Going into the future, there’s gonna be a lot of high-level players to put Canada forward into the future.”

Besides securing the bronze medals, drawing a win over Team USA was a special moment for Ejim.

“It’s a great team, it’s a team that hardly ever loses, which has been on top of the world for a long time. We’re excited to have beaten them, it’s always a great feeling,” he explained, “We hope that in the future we will continue playing at this level, competing with the USA.”

Coming up next, Canada will compete in the Olympic Games for the first time since 2000.


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