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Top four Canadians, Leonard Miller, Olivier-Maxence Prosper, Charles Bediako, Nick Ongenda all in on the 2023 NBA Draft
Top four Canadians, Leonard Miller, Olivier-Maxence Prosper, Charles Bediako, Nick Ongenda all in on the 2023 NBA Draft
Top four Canadians, Leonard Miller, Olivier-Maxence Prosper, Charles Bediako, Nick Ongenda all in on the 2023 NBA Draft - Illustrations/Photo: Edilson J. Silva/BasketballBuzz

NBA

From Eh to the NBA: Top Canadian prospects are all in on the 2023 NBA Draft

From Eh to the NBA: Leonard Miller, Olivier-Maxence Prosper, Charles Bediako, and Nick Ongenda. Discover the top promising Canadian basketball prospects who went all in the 2023 NBA Draft.

For the past two decades, the third Thursday of June has been synonymous with life-altering moments that turn Canadian NBA dreams into realities. This year will be no exception.

At the onset of the 2022-23 NCAA and G League seasons, two certainties emerged: 19-year-old Leonard Miller stood as Canada’s best bet to produce yet another impactful NBA player, and unlike the past two seasons, there weren’t going to be any Canadian NBA lottery picks in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Throughout a dynamic six-month span of intense basketball competition, Miller continued to grow, evolve, and mature. Simultaneously, we witnessed the meteoric rise of Zach Edey, who made history as the first Canadian to claim the NCAA Player of the Year award.

Quietly, Olivier-Maxence Prosper (Montreal, Que.) went from a relatively unknown prospect to a draft commodity. Plus, Marcus Carr set the record(s) straight, while Charles Bediako and Nick Ongenda’s late arrival added to the excitement and potential of multiple Canadians once again being selected in the draft.

Since breaking the streak of ten straight years with at least one draft pick in 2020, seven players from Canada have been selected in the NBA Draft, including four (Bennedict Mathurin, Shaedon Sharpe, Joshua Primo, Chris Duarte) lottery picks.

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Additionally, another four undrafted (Karim Mané, Nate Darling, Eugene Omoruyi, A.J. Lawson) players played official NBA minutes.

Although, three (Edey, Emanuel Miller, Tyrese Samuel) of the seven Canadian underclassmen that declared for the 2023 NBA Draft eventually withdrew their names and returned to the NCAA, the combination of Miller, Prosper, Bediako and Ongenda is more than enough to extend the ongoing Canadian NBA Draft streak.

Top underclassmen Canadians declare for 2023 NBA Draft

Now that the majority of draft deadlines have passed, let’s turn our attention to the four underclassmen who have decided to stay in the 2023 NBA Draft, as well as three graduating Canadian basketball players who are all in and fully committed to pursuing their dreams of playing in the NBA.

Leonard miller 2023 nba draft
Leonard Miller, the first Canadian to go from high school to the G League and to the NBA – Illustrations/Photo: Edilson J. Silva/BasketballBuzz

Leonard Miller – NBA G League Ignite

Leonard Miller, a projected mid-first-round pick, is excepted to become Canada’s seventh-youngest NBA Draft selection. A rich Canadian tradition that dates back to Hank Biasatti in 1946.

Despite being only 19-years-old (November 26, 2003), Miller averaged a double-double in the NBA G League against grown men, putting up impressive numbers of 18 points, 11 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game while shooting 55.4% percent (174-314) from the floor, 32.7% (17-52) from three-pointer and 79.2% percent (38-48) from the free-throw line.

Miller’s performances earned him an invitation to the inaugural NBA G League All-Star Game back in February in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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In his second NBA Draft combine appearance, Miller displayed a polished jump shot and enhanced agility with an 11-second shuttle run and 3.33-second three-quarter sprint time. Both metrics are slight improvements from last year’s (11.11, 3.36) combine.

Miller’s measurements include a height of 6’9.25″ without shoes, a wingspan of 7’2″, and a weight of 212 pounds. He boasts a standing vertical leap of 32″ and a maximum vertical jump of 37.5″.

The Canadian unicorn had his first pre-draft work out with the Indiana Pacers and spoke about his relationship with Andrew Nembhard and new friendship with Bennedict Mathruin.

Olivier-Maxence Prosper – Marquette

Oliver maxence prosper 2023 nba draft
Montreal’s Oliver-Maxence Prosper has seen his stock rise following an impressive showcase at the 2023 NBA Draft combine – Illustrations/Photo: Edilson J. Silva/BasketballBuzz

Olivier-Maxence Prosper has gone from a fringe NBA Latin America Academy prospect to a highly sought-after two-way NBA player. 

Throughout the 2022-23 NCAA season, Prosper contributed significantly to the Marquette Golden Eagles’ success, aiding them in securing their inaugural Big East regular season and conference championship titles.

Prosper maintained an average of 11.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game, with a shooting percentage of 51.2% (150-293) percent from the field and 33.9% (39-115) percent from beyond the arc.

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However, it was during the NBA Draft combine that Prosper truly caught the attention of scouts and front office personnel.

The Canadian forward registered the second-highest standing vertical leap (35″ inches) and the third-highest max vertical jump (40.5″ inches) of the 2023 NBA Combine.

In addition, he tested well in the agility and speed drills, including the lane agility test (10.59 seconds), shuttle run (3 seconds) and three-quarter sprint (3.21 seconds).

During the first day of scrimmages, Prosper who boasts a 7’1″ inch wingspan displayed his ability to guard multiple positions and athletic ability with an emphatic dunk in traffic to finish with a game-high 21 points, seven rebounds and two assists in 22 minutes.

Based on his performance and on the advice of his representation, he was held back from participating in the second day of five-on-five competition, likely securing his position as a guaranteed first-round selection.

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In high demand for NBA pre-draft workouts, Prosper revealed during a Charlotte Hornets showcase that he has had evaluations with ten NBA teams, with plans for an additional six or seven more.

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Prosper’s versatility, defensive capabilities, improved shooting ability and impressive combine performance make him an intriguing prospect for NBA teams.

Charles Bediako – Alabama Crimson Tide

Charles bediako 2023 nba draft
Canadian seven-footer Charles Bediako is all on the 2023 NBA Draft: Illustrations/Photo: Edilson J. Silva/BasketballBuzz

Since joining the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2021, Charles Bediako (Brampton, Ont.) made a significant impact, particularly on the defensive end. The seven-foot sophomore center played a crucial role in helping Alabama capture both the 2022-23 SEC regular season and tournament titles.

Throughout his sophomore campaign, Bediako averaged 6.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game, while shooting an impressive 65.9% percent (108-164) from the field.

His contributions extended into the latter part of the season, where he nearly averaged a double-double with 10.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks per game during the SEC tournament and NCAA March Madness.

Bediako finished the season strong, shooting 71% from the field during the six game stretch and registering 67 blocks in 34 games, the second-highest among Canadian players, just behind Zach Edey’s 72 blocks.

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Although invited to the G League NBA Elite Camp and impressing during scrimmages, Bediako wasn’t among the 78 invitees to the NBA Draft combine. Nevertheless, he made the bold decision to forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility and went all in on the 2023 NBA Draft.

Since announcing his intentions to stay in the draft, Bediako has had pre-draft workouts with the Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Charlotte Hornets, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers and the hometown Toronto Raptors.

Other teams excepted to get a look at the Canadian big man include the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers and the New Orleans Pelicans.

Bediako’s stellar performances at Alabama, coupled with his defensive attributes, make him an enticing option for NBA teams seeking to bolster their front court.

Nick Ongenda – DePaul Blue Demons

Nick ongenda 2023 nba draft
Shot block demon Nick Ongenda is all in on the 2023 NBA Draft: Illustrations/Photo: Edilson J. Silva/BasketballBuzz

For the second time in his career, Nick Ongenda declared for the NBA Draft. The six-foot-eleven forward was one of thirteen underclassmen Canadians to test the Draft process in 2022. Unfortunately, he was unable to work out for teams due to travel complications.

One of the premier shot blockers in college basketball, he missed DePaul’s first 25 games this past season with a broken wrist, played in only eight games and finished with an astonishing 35 blocked shots.

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Ongenda, provided an immediate impact when he returned to the Blue Demons starting line-up with 12.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.4 blocks per game.

In his 82 career games, including 37 starts, and four seasons in the windy city of Chicago, Ongenda swatted away 135 shots. He currently ranks fourth all-time in DePaul’s history, behind Dallas Comegys (297), George Mikan (154), and Paul Reed (145).

Ongenda has twice recorded a career-best eight blocked shots in a game, a feat that trails only Comegys’ ten swats in 1987.

Although he was not invited to the G League Elite Camp or the NBA Draft combine, the 22-year-old rim protector has had the opportunity to strut his skills in workouts with the likes of the Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets and the Utah Jazz.

Upperclassmen Canadians eligible for the 2023 NBA Draft

Canadians basketball prospects emmanuel akot marcus carr and rudi williams 2023 nba draft
Upperclassmen Canadians basketball prospects Emmanuel Akot, Marcus Carr and Rudi Williams 2023 NBA Draft: Illustrations/Photo: Edilson J. Silva/BasketballBuzz

In addition to the four underclassmen who bypassed their college basketball eligibility to remain in the draft, three Canadian upperclassmen, who have accumulated more college basketball experience than Dick Vitale, Bill Raftery, and Al McGuire combined, are going through the 2023 NBA Draft process.

Marcus Carr, Canada’s all-time NCAA points and assists leader and the on court catalyst to one of the best seasons in Texas Longhorns’ history, has had workouts with the Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers and the Washington Wizards.

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After six seasons of college basketball, Class of 2017, top 25 prospect, Emmanuel Akot, has finally run out of NCAA eligibility and teams to play for. The six-foot-eight guard attended the 2023 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in early April and has worked out for the Indiana Pacers.

Ruedale “Rudi” Williams turned two junior college (NJCAA) seasons into a successful three-year NCAA Division I career. Williams, a former NJCAA Second Team All-America, scored over 850 points and recorded 442 assists at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. Then amassed 1,049 career points and 240 assists playing for Kansas State, Coastal Carolina, and Brigham Young University (BYU).

The 2023 Canadian NBA Draft class presents a diverse range of skilled Canadian basketball prospects, including developing big men and experienced veteran guards.

Whether they are drafted in the first or second round or go undrafted, these seven prospects are set to increase the numbers for the country with the most international players in the world’s best basketball league and continue Canada’s NBA takeover.

The NBA Draft will be held on Thursday, June 22, 2023, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, with the NBA Summer League following from July 7-17, 2023, at the Cox Pavilion and Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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