March Madness officially starts tomorrow, and basketball fans could not be more excited! College basketball players usually bring a passion and desire to prove themselves that viewers don't often get to see during the season. This year, Canada will be represented in a major way. Canadian basketball stars will shine unlike ever before at this year's March Madness that starts tomorrow.
This year, a total of 19 Canadians will be hitting the courts to compete in March Madness. Not only is the number of Canadians in the NCAA men’s basketball strong, but these players are also an incredibly talented bunch and definitely ones to watch. This year, Canadians will make an impact stronger than ever before, the Vancouver Sun reports.
"A few years ago, you’d have Canadians playing, right? Now you’ve got Canadians not only playing, but making an impact," said Leo Rautins, a sports broadcaster.
The Canadian players come from all over Canada. "...It’s not just from Toronto. You’ve got kids from all over the country. Now you’ve got a kid from Nova Scotia (Lindell Wigginton of Iowa State), a kid from Calgary (Clayton Henry of New Mexico State), a kid from Vancouver (Brandon Clarke of Gonzaga)," said Rautins.
One of the biggest stars, not only in Canada but North America, competing in March Madness? R.J. Barrett, who is on track to be an NBA star. He is even a top-two pick in the NBA draft, which will take place this summer in June. The star already has over 600,000 followers on Instagram.
Make sure to keep watch on this teen basketball star who hails from Mississauga, Ontario. This year, Barrett helped his university, Duke, claim the No. 1 overall seed in March Madness for the first time in several years.
There are several other Canadians who will shine in the tournament this year! For instance, two fellow Canadians, Lindell Wigginton and Marial Shayok, worked together to help bring their college, Iowa State, claim the big 12 titles.
Andrew Nembhard from Aurora, Ontario was also praised for his buzzer-beating three-pointer against LSU that helped Florida make it into the March Madness tournament, according to Sportsnet. He posted a picture on Instagram celebrating afterwards. Check it out below!
Nickeil Alexander-Walker has been leading the Hokies this season, with a 16.6 points per-game rate. Fun fact: he is also the cousin and best friend of another Canadian NBA player, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
You never know – maybe you'll recognize some of the Canadian players on this list, or you can see which players will be representing your home city and cheer them on during the tournament!
Check out the full list of Canadians competing in March Madness this year, as well as their respective universities:
- R.J. Barrett, Mississauga, Ont. (Duke)
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Toronto and Jonathan Kabongo, Toronto (Virginia Tech)
- Eze Dike, Montreal (Yale)
- Ja’Shon Henry, Wilcox, Sask. (Bradley)
- Brandon Clarke, Vancouver (Gonzaga)
- Oshae Brissett, Toronto (Syracuse)
- Devonte Bandoo, Brampton, Ont. (Baylor)
- Joseph Chartouny, Montreal, (Marquette)
- Mfiondu Kabengele, Burlington, Ont. (Florida State)
- Stef Smith, Toronto, (Vermont)
- Dominic Johnson, Windsor, Ont. (Buffalo)
- Luguentz Dort, Montreal (Arizona State)
- Andrew Nembhard, Aurora, Ont. (Florida)
- Ignas Brazdeikis, Oakville, Ont. (Michigan)
- Clayton Henry, Calgary, (New Mexico State)
- Marial Shayok, Ottawa
- Lindell Wigginton, Dartmouth, N.S. (Iowa State)
- Kyle Alexander, Milton, Ont., (Tennessee).
The March Madness tournament will officially start tomorrow on March 19, with The Big Four competing. We can't wait to see the Canadian stars in action on the courts.
Source: Vancouver Sun