On a night where the decade long Canadian NBA Draft streak came to a screeching halt, undrafted sharpshooter Nate Darling restored some much-needed optimism into Canada’s NBA pipeline by signing a two-way deal with the upstart and optimistic Charlotte Hornets.
Darling, Canada’s top NCAA college basketball standout during the shortened 2019-2020 season, averaged 21 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and knocked down 107 three-pointers in 34 games, good for 3.1 three-pointers per game during his junior campaign with the Delaware Blue Hens.
Standing a solid six-foot-five, Darling a knock-down shooter from the province of Nova Scotia has worked hard to expand and diversify his game. Showcasing the ability to take defenders off the dribble with improving handles, including high-IQ situational awareness — utilizing pump-fakes once he gets hot from the perimeter.
A member of the historic 2017 Canadian FIBA U19 World Championship team, that included New York Knicks forward R.J Barrett, Darling joins a long list of undrafted Canadians who have signed two-way contract deals following the conclusion of the draft. Other notable Canadians include Luguentz Dort, Chris Boucher and Mychal Mulder — paying their dues in the G League and parlaying their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity into multi-year guaranteed deals.
Canadian coaching connection
The Hornets coaching staff also boasts a Canadian hometown connection in assistant coaches Jay Triano and Nate Mitchell. Triano is a former Canadian Senior Men’s National Team head coach and the first Canadian NBA head coach during his time with Toronto Raptors’ from 2008-2011.
Entering his third season with the Hornets, Mitchell is part of the new generation of Canadian bench bosses looking to make their mark in the NBA. With stops in the G League with the Raptors 905, Maine Red Claws and the Canadian national team, Mitchell plays an integral part of the Hornets’ and Canadian player development.
Top Canadians under one roof
Additionally, Darling will be represented by Canadian basketball agent Mike George and One Sports Legacy sports and marketing firm. George’s full-house agency is home to eight (8) of the current twenty-three (23) Canadians in the NBA, including Jamal Murray — Canada’s highest-paid athlete.
Charlotte selected highly regarded point-guard LaMelo Ball in the first-round with the third-pick, before rounding-out the 2020 NBA Draft with the addition of Duke Blue Devils’ six-foot-ten forward Vernon Carey Jr. and guard six-foot-three guard Grant Riller in the second-round.Happy F R