The 2022 NBA Draft is expected to add to Canada’s growing number of Canadians playing in the NBA.
Filled with the top NCAA college basketball talent, an unsigned high schooler and a U Sports player of the year, the 2022 Canadian NBA Draft class sets a new mark with 13 early entry names announcing their intentions to test the draft process.
Additionally, Abu Kigab (Boise State Broncos), Koby McEwen (Weber State Wildcats), Michael Nuga (UNLV Rebels), James Karnik (Boston College), Gabe Osabuohien (West Virginia) are five fifth-year graduating upperclassmen seniors that are eligible and participating in the draft process.
Expected to set a new mark for potential NBA lottery picks, the 2022 list features two 18-year-olds. For the second year in a row, Canada will have the youngest player in the draft class in Leonard Miller and potentially a future NBA All-star and dunk contest champion in Shaedon Sharpe.
Bennedict Mathurin, the top Canadian NCAA player during the 2021-22 campaign, had a memorable second season with the Arizona Wildcats and is widely expected to be a lottery pick.
The last and first time two Canadians were selected in the top ten was back in 2014. Andrew Wiggins was drafted with the first overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Nik Stauskas went eighth (8th) to the Sacramento Kings.
Canada is also coming off of two lottery picks in the 2021 draft, with both Joshua Primo and Chris Duarte selected 12th and 13th overall. The only other time two Canadian players were selected in the NBA lottery (picks 1-14) was in 2013 when Anthony Bennett became the first Canadian to be selected with the top pick and Kelly Olynyk being snatched-up 13th to the Boston Celtics via the Dallas Mavericks.
Record 13 early entry Canadians 2022 NBA Draft (List only visible to subscribers)
Shaedon Sharpe – Kentucky Wildcats
Move over everybody. Shaedon Sharpe is here. The top dog in the class of 2022 has put in his name in the upcoming NBA Draft and could very well be Canada’s third number one pick since 2013.
Months long of speculation have ended with the inevitable, the City of London, Ontario, Canada is about to have its first true bonafide Canadian NBA star.
Arguably the most complete Canadian high school basketball prospect of all-time, Sharpe has taken a rather unusual path to get to this point.
Originally, from the class of 2023, the six-foot-six shot maker and elite dunker reclassified and became the top player in the country in the class of 2022. Sharpe then committed to John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats in early September 2022 making him eligible for the second semester.
“My path to this point wasn’t a straight road of successes, but my passion for this game and my dream to play at the highest level has allowed me to overcome challenges and disappointments and has shaped me into who I am today.”
Limited only to practices, Sharpe never appeared in any of the Wildcats remaining games as Kentucky fans watched their promising team bow out to No. 15 Saint Peters in the 2022 NCAA March madness tournament.
“Through discussions with Coach Cal, my parents, my mentor, and long consideration and prayer, I’ve decided to enter my name in the NBA Draft while maintaining my college eligibility.”
Bennedict Mathurin – Arizona Wildcats
It’s fair to say that Bennedict Mathruin’s sophomore season will go down in Canadian NCAA college basketball lore as one of the best individual and team accomplishments of all-time. The memorable season had it all, the role of an underdog, big shot making, electric dunks and more importantly, consistent winning.
Nowhere to be found in preseason top 25 national rankings, the Arizona Wildcats (33-4, 18-2) behind Mathruin’s team leading 17.7 points per game rose to national prominence once again by winning the PAC-12 conference title for the first-time since 2017-18 season.
A culmination of off season development and sheer hardwork led to Mathruin becoming just the second Canadian to win the official PAC-12 player of the year award since Dillon Brooks in 2016-17.
“I would like to thank my family and friends for supporting me through my career at Arizona. The City of Tucson has been great to me and the best fanbase in the world has welcomed me with open arms. I would also like to thank coach Sean and coach Tommy for everything that they’ve done for me and the opportunities they’ve given me. I am a wildcat and will be a wildcat for life.”
“It has always been a dream of mine to play in the NBA, and I am ready to take that step forward. With that being said, I would like to announce that I am declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft.“
An excellent all-round defender, Mathruin has the ability to be a solid two-way player at the NBA level. The sophomore guard contributed with 5.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.6 steals for an Arizona team that lost in the final eight of the NCAA tournament.
Leonard Miller – Fort Erie Academy
In 1975 Darryl Dawkins became the first high school basketball player to be selected into the NBA. In 1995 hall-of-fame Kevin Garnett busted the door open for Kobe Bryant, Jermaine O’Neal, Tracy Mcgrady, LeBron James and others to prove that the NBA game is indeed a young men’s game.
Twenty-eight (28) years later, it’s hard to imagine that kid from Scarborough, Ontario is about to the same for Canada.
18-year-old Leonard Miller (26 Nov, 2003), a six-foot-eleven uncommitted high-school basketball unicorn has the potential to become the second-youngest Canadian ever to be selected in the NBA Draft following Joshua Primo’s (24 Dec, 2002) surprise lottery selection by the San Antonio Spurs in 2021.
The 2022 BioSteel Canadian player of the year is one of the most intriguing players in the draft and could every well sneak his way up into a lottery selection, much just like Primo did a year ago.
The youngest prospect in this year draft class averaged 32 points, 12 rebounds per game and led his Fort Erie International Academy team to their first Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA) championship in their first year of competition.
“I am extremely grateful for every moment of my journey. Every situation I have been in has contributed to my growth as a player and helped me get to this point.”
“With the full support of my family, friends & coaches. I would like to officially announce that I will be declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft while maintaining my college eligibility.”
Fardaws Imaq – Utah Valley
Fardaws Imaq aka the big maple is back to showcase to NBA teams that he is ready for the next level.
The six-foot-eleven forward followed-up his record setting 2020-21 sophomore season with a ridiculous double-double charged junior campaign. The first player in Utah Valley history to earn both WAC men’s basketball player of the year and defensive player of the year honors finished what could be his last collegiate basketball go around with 18.9 points, 13.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 blocks per game for the Wolverines.
The Canadian big man finished second in the country in rebounds behind national player of the year Oscar Tshiebwe (15.1) and tied Pascal Siakam’s 2015-16 WAC record with an unbelievable 27 double-doubles in 32 of the Wolverines games.
That is the fifth-most double-doubles in NCAA history, tying Aimaq with nine other players, including Siakam, Oscar Robertson, Lew Alcindor, Artis Gilmore, and Bill Walton.
Imaq entered the transfer portal and committed to Texas Tech.
Andrew Nembhard – Gonzaga Bulldogs
Since the early days at Vaughan Secondary School, Andrew Nembhard always had the innate ability to deliver pinpoint passes with accuracy. Seven years later, the 22-year-old Canadian player maker is widely considered one of the most efficient point-guards in college basketball.
Nembhard, a fourth-year senior with an extra COVID-19 year in hand, is coming off of his best college season, putting up a career-best 11.8 points per game on a healthy 45.2% percent shooting. An excellent pick-n-roll table setter, the older Nembhard led all Canadians in the assist column with 5.8 helpers on a nightly basis, good for a rarely seen 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
“Coming to Gonzaga was truly one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I am so grateful of this place. I am thankful and blessed to be a part of teams with so much success and accomplishments but nothing compares to all the relationships I have made over these last two years that will last me a lifetime.”
Nembhard will leave the college basketball game with a total of 1308 points, 379 rebounds and 691 assists, 256 turnovers in 131 careers games in four seasons, split between the Florida Gates and the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
This is the third-time that Nembhard will test the NBA Draft process, he will sign with Life agency, the same firm that represents Toronto Raptors Pascal Siakam and the Spurs Canadian guard Joshua Primo.
“With that being said, I have decided to enter my name into the 2022 NBA Draft and fulfill my dream of playing in the league.”
Noah Kirkwood – Harvard Crimson
Alex Trebek, Jeopardy question time? Who is the best Ottawa basketball player to ever play NCAA college basketball?
The correct answer, would have to be Marial Shayok. After all, the former St. Patrick’s high school star still stands as the city’s lone NBA Draft selection. However, if you answered Noah Kirkwood, that answer might not be too far off, specially considering the junior season that Kirkwood put up.
A unanimous All-Ivy League first-team selection, the former local Ashbury Colts star posted career-high’s across all major statistical categories. Kirkwood dominated all year long and finished the season as the third-leading Canadian NCAA scorer and the top steals’ leader. The crafty Ottawa guard was consistent all season on his way to 17.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals per contest.
The six-foot-seven Sociology major scored in double-figures in all but one of the Crimson’s 26 games, set a career-high 31 points on 13-of-19 shooting against Cornell and had eight games of 20-plus points.
A big body guard that loves to get to the cup and score in the paint, Kirkwood can finish with both hands and shoots a healthy 47.7% percent from the floor.
Lloyd Pandi – Carleton Ravens
The Carleton Ravens have established themselves as a North American basketball dynasty and the preeminent Canadian university basketball factory. The one major thing missing from the University’s illustrious resume is an NBA player.
Lloyd Pandi is the first Carleton Ravens player to ever declare for the NBA Draft. The 2022 U Sports player of the year and former teammate of Noah Kirkwood at Ashbury College has an extensive and well polished game and resume that is sure to attract some NBA eyeballs.
The third-year guard averaged 14.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals in 27 minutes per game for the national champions Carleton Ravens.
“As my final season with the Ravens comes to an end, I am grateful for the opportunity given to me by Coach Smart to develop my game in the city that made me — Ottawa.”
“After winning the national title with the Ravens and being named 2019-2020 Rookie of the year in my first season, multiple D1 opportunities knocked at my door. Carleton had accepted me with open arms and had my best interests at heart, leading to my decision to stay and prove myself right from a country that I love, Canada.”
Caleb Houstan – Michigan Wolverines
A much hyped preseason turned into a mediocre and controversial non-conference and Big Ten struggle for the Michigan Wolverines. A consensus 2021 top ten high school senior, Caleb Houstan was projected as a 2022 lottery NBA pick. A shaky, up and down freshman season likely factored in Houstan being a last minute addition to the official draft list.
The first-year shooting guard started all of the Michigan Wolverines 34 games, knocking down 60-of-169 (35.5%) three-point attempts to finish as the Wolverines’ fourth leading scorer at 10.1 points per game.
The six-foot-eight guard was solid on the boards, grabbing nearly 4 rebounds per game, and was effective at times on the defensive end, coming-up with timely steals and blocks off rotational situations.
The physicality of the college game and more specifically the physical play of the Big Ten often presented challenges for the 19-year-old. Houstan struggled with consistency, as displayed in multiple single scoring games of 6 points or fewer in 30-plus minutes of game burn.
The ability to go through the draft process this early in his career is a crucial and necessary step for Houstan.
Emmanuel Akot – Boise State Broncos
Emmanuel Akot helped the Boise State Broncos to one of the best seasons in program history. An All-Mountain West honorable mention, he was one of four Broncos to score in double-digits and finished as the team’s top assists leader with 88 dimes in 31 games.
Akot was named to the Charleston Classic All-Tournament Team averaging 15.7 points, 3.7 assists, shooting 53.3% from the floor and 64.7% from three-point range.
“The last three years have been amazing! Thank you for your endless support and welcoming me into the program with open arms. I’m extraordinarily grateful to coach Leon Rice, the coaches, and the staff of Boise State basketball program.”
“With that being said, I’d like to announce that I will be declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft while maintaining my college eligibility. I will also enter the transfer portal to explore all my options.”
Emmanuel Bandoumel – Southern Methodist
Emmanuel Bandoumel had a productive season for the SMU Mustangs. The six-foot-four junior guard from Quebec City was one of just 33 Canadians from over 150-plus to average double figures scoring this past season, with 10.6 points per game on 3.5 field goals per game.
Bandoumel, started all 33 games, playing a healthy 30 minutes per contest. He contributed to the Mustangs successful 24-9 season which featured a stellar 17-1 home record and a near NCAA tournament bid.
Knocked down 70-out-of-199 (36.6%) three-pointers this season, a huge improvement from the previous career-high of 28 set in his sophomore season.
Quincy Guerrier – Oregon Ducks
Quincy Guerrier aka “The Candyman” is attempting to testing the NBA Draft process for the second year. A year removed from two seasons of ACC basketball, the Montreal product got a taste of what Pac-12 hoops is all about.
An up and down season due to lack of familiarity in a tougher conference resulted in decreased productivity and lower numbers for Guerrier. The six-foot-eight forward averaged 10.6 points, 5.3 rebounds in 26 minutes per game for the Oregon Ducks. Guerrier recorded four games with over 20-plus points, including a career-high 25 points, 13 rebounds against Colorado.
Maurice Calloo – Oregon State Beavers
The six-of-ten forward Maurice Calloo reached double-figures in 10 of Oregon State’s 28 games. Calloo averaged 8.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and buried 36 three-pointers out of 101 attempts for the Beavers. Hit by graduation and the transfer portal, Oregon State struggled with their worst season in the programs’ history with a 3-28 overall record, including an ongoing 16-game losing streak.
Nick Ongenda – Depaul Blue Demons
Nick Ongenda, the leading Canadian shot blocker this season with a total of 52 swats in 30 games. Recorded a career and a conference high 8 blocks against Louisville. The DePaul Demon Decons big man reached double-digit scoring in 14 games.