Canadian basketball players making a splash at U.S. colleges

In recent years, the NCAA has served as a pipeline to the NBA for emerging Canadian talent. With the college basketball season officially underway, let's take a look at some of the Canadians who are ready to make their mark.

Brooks, Boucher, Rathan-Mayes among Canadians to watch in NCAA

Chris Boucher, centre, and Dillon Brooks, right, are expected to lead the Oregon Ducks in their pursuit for a national championship. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

It's no longer a secret that Canada produces more than just hockey players.

In recent years, the NCAA has served as a pipeline to the NBA for emerging Canadian basketball talent.

Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph are among the latest notable NBA draftees who played their college basketball south of the border.

Canada Rising: Wiggins provides star power on the court

5 years ago
No player epitomizes the rise of Canadian basketball more than Andrew Wiggins. At 21, he's already established himself as one of the most exciting players in the NBA, and has been a key contributor for the national team. 1:23

Canada has produced 32 NBA players — the most of any country outside the United States — and that number is expected to rise with more than 100 Canadians on NCAA Division I men's teams this season.

With the college basketball season officially underway, let's take a look at some of the Canadians who are ready to make their mark.

Dillon Brooks

Fresh off a Pac-12 Conference championship and an Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA tournament, expectations are sky high for Brooks and the fifth-ranked Oregon Ducks.

The Mississauga, Ont., native became the first player in Oregon's history to be named to The Associated Press' preseason All-America team, an honour reserved for the best players in the NCAA.

Canada Rising: Dillon Brooks raising his game

5 years ago
After an Pan Am silver medal and an All-American season in the NCAA, Dillon Brooks is peaking at just the right time 1:09

Last season, Brooks led the team in scoring (16.7 points per game), assists (3.1 assists per game), and free throw percentage (80.6 per cent) en route to earning first-team All-Pac-12 honours.

The junior forward will be one of the leaders on a talented squad that's expected to compete for a national championship but will miss the start of the season following off-season foot surgery.

Chris Boucher

Brooks isn't the only Canadian making noise at the University of Oregon.

Chris Boucher also played a significant role in the Ducks' success last season, leading the team in rebounding and blocked shots while averaging 12.1 points per game.

The 6-foot-10 power forward/centre was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated's college basketball preview issue.

The Montreal native is an elite rim protector averaging just over three blocks per game to lead the Pac-12 Conference.

Xavier Rathan-Mayes

While all eyes were on Andrew Wiggins at Huntington Prep School, another Canadian was quietly putting together a solid audition for scouts in attendance.

Rathan-Mayes ranked 44th on ESPN's top-100 college basketball recruits for the Class of 2013 and earned himself a scholarship to play for the Florida State Seminoles.

After redshirting his freshman year, the Markham, Ont., native shined in the 2014-15 season, leading the Seminoles with 14.9 points and 4.3 assists per game.

The highlight of his season came against the archrival University of Miami, where the six-foot-four guard scored 30 points in the last 4:38 of the game.

Despite a slight drop in scoring last season, a strong junior season could solidify Rathan-Mayes as a first-round pick in next year's NBA draft.

BioSteel All-Canadian game graduates

NCAA and NBA scouts got a look at the top Canadian-born high school players at the BioSteel All-Canadian game, which had its inaugural edition in 2015 and was headlined by Denver Nuggets first-round pick Jamal Murray and Milwaukee Bucks first-rounder Thon Maker.

Both attended Orangeville Prep outside Toronto, where they had the luxury of playing against top-level competition from the United States, proving that going south of the border for high school isn't the only route to the NBA.

The game has already paid dividends for its participants with Nelson Kaputo and Jalen Poyser, the co-MVP of the 2015 game, playing for St.Bonaventure and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, respectively.

With more editions of the game, the trend may eventually become the norm.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?