As the NCAA March Madness tournament expands from 65 to 68 teams in 2011 the chance a Canadian is on a roster is more likely than ever.
Not only with the extra three teams but with the largest freshman class produced north of the border.
This fall more than 40 Canadians are at Division 1 schools — a new record, says hoopstarcanada.com.
Much of the boost in underclass recruits is due to the large number of teens who have headed to the U.S. to attend prep schools over the past few years.
The impact of the exodus of talent has never been greater than on the high school class of 2010. In Toronto alone, of the 15 recruits who hail from the GTA, 10 attended a prep school in the States.
Regardless, the bronze medal performance’s by the under-17 Worlds and under-18 Americas teams this summer and the increase of Canucks on the highest collegiate level adds to the growing resume the young Canadian hoopsters have accumulated this year.
Here are a few of the GTA players hoops fans should look forward to seeing in the coming years.
Cory Joseph, Point Guard
Cory Joseph has impressed NCAA recruiters with his stellar play at Findlay Prep in Nevada for the past two seasons and will be taking his skills to the University of Texas this fall.
Joseph’s court awareness and shooting range make him one of the top point guard recruits in all of North America. Not the greatest athlete, what he lacks in explosiveness he’ll make up in the only way he knows how, by winning.
In two seasons with Findlay Prep, Joseph led it to an impressive 62-2 record, collecting two national titles along the way, this after winning a provincial title with Pickering High School in Ajax, Ontario.
Tristan Thompson, Power Forward
Tristan Thompson has been an intriguing prospect for some time now as he is a unique combination of size and athleticism.
He is already being touted as a first-round NBA draft pick by ESPN and others, and his freshman year at Texas will definitely aid his progression.
Having played alongside Joseph the past two years at Findlay Prep, the Brampton native will continue to develop with his countrymen as he is the second piece in what the Longhorns hope becomes a star-studded tandem.
Julian Clarke, Shooting Guard
The Santa Clara Broncos have a reputation of importing Canadians and allowing them to blossom into successful collegiate players, most notably Steve Nash.
They will continue the tradition with the addition of Clarke.
While leading the Oakwood Barons to an Ontario provincial championship, the 17-year-old shooting guard impressed a number of American colleges with his ability to fire the ball from deep.
Posting averages of 23 points and 11 rebounds on the No.1 ranked team made the former Baron a top prospect as the range on his jump shot extends much farther than the college three-point line.
Maurice Walker, Centre
One of the biggest players available to college recruiters, Maurice Walker has the intangibles to possibly make a name for himself on the pro stage.
The former Mother Teresa Titan star possesses a highly refined offensive skill set, with an array of post moves and an extremely soft touch around the net. His lower base makes him virtually unmovable when he’s parked in the lane.
Having left for prep school in his senior year, Walker improved his stock by showing he can produce against the bigger competition in the United States. He will be able to showcase his talent while playing for the University of Minnesota this coming season.
Some other GTA players who will attend a Division 1 school are:
- Melvin Ejim, Brewster Academy [prep school] from Brampton, Iowa State
- Dwight Powell, IMG Academy [prep school] from Toronto, Stanford
- Manny Sahota, St.Marguerite d’Youville, Cornell
- Kadeem Green, United Faith Christian [prep school] from Markham, Missouri
- Stefan Nastic, Thornhill, Stanford
- Ashton Khan, Brewster Academy from Toronto, Stanford
- Christian Kabongo, God’s Academy[prep school] from Toronto, New Mexico State
- Renaldo Dixon, Christian Faith Center [prep school] from Toronto, New Mexico State
- Daniel Mullings, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, New Mexico State