At Los Angeles 1984, Jay Triano led the Canadian team in scoring averaging 14.6 points per game. In the quarter-finals, Triano had 25 points, and in the semi-final against the United States (with Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullen and Sam Perkins) Triano made seven of his 15 shots from the floor and finished with 16 points, but the heavily favoured USA won 78-59. Playing in the bronze medal game against the former Yugoslavia, Triano scored 10 points, losing 88-82 to finish fourth, to equal Canada’s best-ever Olympic finish. At Seoul 1988, Triano finished the tournament with an average of 16 points per game. Yugoslavia ended Canada’s medal hopes again in the quarter-finals by a score of 95-73, but when Canada met Spain next, Triano scored 27 points in a 99-61 victory. In the battle for fifth place, despite Triano’s 29 points, Canada fell 106-90 to Brazil, finishing the Olympic tournament in sixth place. Triano was named to Moscow 1980 but did not compete due to the boycott.
Triano played on the Canadian basketball team from 1977 to 1988 and was captain from 1981 to 1988. He played at the World University Games in 1979, 1981, 1983 and 1985 winning gold in 1983 in Edmonton shocking the heavily favoured Americans in the semi-finals 85-77 and beating Yugoslavia in the final (he also won a 1985 bronze). For his time as a player on the national team, Triano had only one coach – the legendary Jack Donohue – and he credits him with helping to shape the way he views the game. Professionally Triano played three seasons in Mexico and Turkey.
Born in Tillsonburg, Ontario and raised in Niagara Falls, Triano attended A.N. Myer Secondary School. In four years of college ball at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia where he was friends with Terry Fox, Triano set 11 school records and was the all-time leading scorer. In 1981, his number was retired. He was drafted in the eighth round of the 1981 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, was cut in training camp and never played a game in the NBA. An all-around athlete, Triano was also drafted in the sixth round of the 1981 Canadian Football League draft by the Calgary Stampeders. His younger brother Jeff was a draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the National Hockey League and his nephew Brady Heslip played basketball at Baylor University and on the Canadian National team.
Triano has been a player, a broadcaster, and coach of national teams (Canada and the USA), college teams and NBA teams. His head coaching career started at his alma mater Simon Fraser University from 1988-95. He was the head coach of the Canadian men’s national team from 1998-2004 leading the squad to a 5-2 record and a seventh place finish at Sydney 2000. Triano became the first Canadian-born head coach in NBA history when he joined the Toronto Raptors in 2008-11. While coaching the Phoenix Suns, Triano became the first foreign born head coach in NBA history to win 100 games. He worked as a basketball analyst for TSN and at the Olympic Games. From 1995-2001, Triano was a radio analyst and director of community relations for the NBA’s Vancouver Grizzlies. He authored his memoir “Open Look” in 2018.
Triano was inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993 and Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1995.
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