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Tecumseh's Mulder living dream with chance to help Canadian men's basketball secure Olympic spot

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It is yet another testament to just how far Tecumseh’s Mychal Mulder has come.

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The 26-year-old Mulder will join the elite of Canadian men’s basketball after he was among 21 players selected to attend Canada’s senior men’s national team training camp ahead of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament next month.

“It’s a great honour to represent my country and I’ve waiting my whole life to get this call,” said Mulder, who just finished his first full NBA season with the Golden State Warriors. “The Olympic stage is the biggest in sports and to be able to represent where I’m from, a proud Canadian in the NBA and see how basketball has grown (in Canada), it’s an honour.”

Throughout his days at Catholic Central high school to junior college and on to the University of Kentucky, the 6-foot-3, 184-pound Mulder never got the call to represent Canada. Undrafted by an NBA team, it wasn’t until late 2019, after he was a first-round pick in the NBA G League and had attended camp with the NBA’s Miami Heat, that Mulder finally heard from the national program.

He helped Canada secure first place in its group for the FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifier in Newfoundland in early 2019.

“I’ve wanted that call as long as I can remember and I had to find my own path to a career and I’m glad I made it here to get that call,” Mulder said. “Obviously, it’s a lifelong goal and to represent Canada is another thing I can check off my life goal bucket list. It’s really exciting to me.”

Mulder was one of 14 current NBA players named to the Canadian roster, but he feels its not so much the destination he’s arrived at in pro basketball that secured him an invitation so much as the road he travelled to get there and the lessons he learned along the way.

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“I think getting this first couple years (in the NBA) under my belt has improved me exponentially,” Mulder said. “The growth and process of who you become not just as an athlete, but as a person.

“In all aspects, in basketball and in life, I’ve grown and I’m excited to grow. I’m thankful basketball gives me a platform. Basketball led me to places you couldn’t otherwise get to. I’m thankful for the game and the opportunity to do what I’m doing. I’m really pumped to be included in this group. This group, it’s a representation of what Canadian basketball has become.”

The Canadian team will train at the Toronto Raptors’ facility in Tampa, Fla. from June 16-24 before heading to Victoria B.C. where one of four FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments will be staged from June 29 to July 4.

Canada will face Greece and China in pool play with the top two teams advancing to the semifinals against the top two teams from the other pool that features Uruguay, the Czech Republic and Turkey.

The semifinal winners will meet in the final with only the winner advancing to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“I think we have real potential to make a deep run,” Mulder said. “This is our greatest opportunity to do that.”

Mulder has carved a niche with the Warriors by filling whatever role the team has asked him to play. In 60 games this season, he averaged 5.6 points per game in just under 13 minutes of playing time per game.

“I want to be able to fit in,” Mulder said. “I want to carve out a role for myself. Whatever that role might be is up to the coaches. I’ll be happy with any role on a roster like this for chance to represent Canada.”

Mulder isn’t the only Catholic Central high school product vying for an Olympic basketball spot. Guard Mia-Marie Langlois, who is a University of Windsor Lancers grad, is currently with the women’s national team preparing for the FIBA Women’s AmericaCup Tournament. Langlois was a member of Canada’s Olympic team in 2016 and the senior women’s team has already secured an Olympic spot for Tokyo.

“CCH will definitely be well represented,” Mulder said.

jpparker@postmedia.com

twitter.com/winstarparker

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