For Canadian Basketball Fans, the future is bright and it starts this March
Every March, for as long as I can remember, the Canadian traditions of one last snowstorm, March Break and the Spring thaw has always been accompanied by being glued to the television watching college basketball south of the border. Lately though, this tradition of watching the NCAA basketball tournaments (both Men’s and Women’s) has been progressively giving Canadians more pride. Increasingly, there has been a pipeline of young Canadian basketball players heading down south for prep schools before university which has made following the full crop of emerging young players in the National program a little trickier. For those of you who didn’t know, that future is bright. Very bright, And unlike many athletes in other sports who we’ve seen choose other nations (Canadian soccer needs you Jonathan De Guzman and Junior Hoilett), most of these young ballers seem committed to building a successful program here at home. That means that the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games could well have our Canadian team on the podium in basketball which means the best is yet to come.
The future starts with the best high school basketball player in the world and #1 recruit in the 2013 recruiting class Andrew Wiggins. He is by far the best young player Canada has ever produced and he has already been compared to that Lebron guy you may have heard of. Pressure filled comparisons aside, as a 6’8 wing whose all around talent and athleticism is off the charts, his star power alone would be enough to put Canada on the map for sometime to come. Luckily for him, he’ll have some company at the next level and that starts with Cleveland Cavaliers Power Forward and the highest Canadian draft pick ever (#4 in 2011) Tristan Thompson. Add in other recent young Canadian first round draft picks in guard Cory Joseph and Andrew Nicholson, and you’ve got a young nucleus for a future team.
Some additional names that have made headlines in college ball recently or are about to this March are …
- National Player of the year favourite and dominant big man Kelly Olynyk. There are reasons why Gonzaga managed to get a number one seed for the first time and he and fellow Canadian starter Kevin Pangos are two of them.
- ACC Freshman of the Year Olivier Hanlan. While his Boston College team will not be in the tournament this year, he did set the ACC freshmen tournament record for 3 pointers and points (41) in an ACC tournament game.
- National Freshman of the year candidate UNLV’s Anthony Bennett. His all around game and consistent play will be on display in UNLV’s first round game against California this weekend. Watch him.
- Nik Stauskas is a young shooting guard at the University of MIchigan whose steady play has helped his Big 10 team excel this year. If Michigan makes a deep run this year, don’t be surprised if he’s a big part of their success.
Lastly, here’s a look at a possible Canadian Men’s basketball roster in the future. There is depth at every spot, star power, athleticism and balance. I can’t wait….
Myck Kabongo (Texas), Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga), Tyler Ennis (Syracuse recruit)
Cory Joseph (San Antonio Spurs), Olivier Hanlan (Boston College), Nick Stauskas (Michigan)
Andrew Wiggins (undecided), Anthony Bennett (UNLV), Khem Birch (UNLV)
Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers), Trey Lyles (undecided), Kyle Wiltjer (Kentucky)
Kelly Olynyk (Gonzaga), Andrew Nicholson (Orlando Magic), Sim Bhullar (New Mexico State),