Less than a year after a rookie season where he was lumped in with the likes of Michael Jordan, Chris Bosh and Chris Paul, a Quebec basketball player is garnering NBA draft buzz.
Olivier Hanlan, a 20-year-old point guard from the Aylmer district of Gatineau, Que., is in his second season with the Boston College Eagles of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
After a playoff run that saw him set a rookie record by scoring 41 points in a game, Hanlan was named the ACC Rookie of the Year — an award he shares with those superstars named above.
- Canadian Olivier Hanlan scores record 41 in ACC tourney
- Ottawa's top 10 sports figures of 2013
- Olivier Hanlan's Boston College bio
"It was one of those games (against Georgia Tech) I couldn't really miss,” he said via Skype.
“Every shot I threw up I thought it was going in. It was a fun experience."
Hanlan is following that up this season by leading his team in scoring with 17.9 points per game, which is third in the conference.
Father, 3 siblings also play
The six-foot-four-inch 190-pound Hanlan comes from a basketball family as his father, brother and two sisters also play.
While still in the area, Hanlan honed his skills under Carleton Ravens head coach Dave Smart, who’s also involved with the Ottawa Guardsmen club team.
"It's not a big surprise, the things he's accomplished,” Smart said.
“He's a hardworking kid who competes and he has a pretty good understanding of the game."
Hanlan went to New Hampton School in New Hampshire for his final two years of high school before committing to Boston College.
Likely a second-rounder, could go higher
After winning rookie of the year honours, Hanlan was invited to three summer skill camps put on by NBA players, including LeBron James.
With scouts from nearly every NBA team watching, buzz started to build that Hanlan could soon be drafted to the NBA.
“That really helped put me on the map, so it felt good,” Hanlan said.
"I'm kind of a little surprised, just knowing where I'm from.”
A few NBA mock draft websites have Hanlan being one of the 60 players who could be picked in the 2014 draft, one calling him a dark horse candidate for a first-round pick.
“Hanlan is smooth with the ball. He glides around the court, weaving through traffic in one fluid motion,” wrote Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman.
“His lack of explosiveness and strength might limit his upside and defensive potential, but Hanlan is still an intriguing backcourt weapon.”
Smart said college athletes have to think carefully about when to leave school.
"If you're not ready, it's hard to recover," he said.
To that end, Hanlan said he’s in no rush to move to the pros.
“That's one of my goals since the day I started playing basketball, to play in the NBA,” he said.
“So if that happens one day, it would be a special moment."