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Khem Birch Steals the show at 2011 Mcdonald’s All-American Game

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Yes, we all know the story Canadian Basketball is on the rise. Tristan Thompson, Myck Kabongo, Cory Joseph, Andrew Nicholson, Kyle Witjer and of course the main event Montreal’s own and Pitt Panthers bound Khem Birch.

The 2011 McDonald’s All-American Game featured a star studded line-up and a record crowd on hand that most major sports owners would envy for.

The finale of the 2011 Burger game recorded its highest attendance in the history of the event with just over 20000 people in the building as the DRose and the Chicago Bulls hit the road and made way for the next generation of NBA stars to shine at the United Center.

Scouts, media, coaches and the hall-of-famers where all on hand to get a early glimpse of the next great one.

Canadian Basketball was well represented by a record setting three players who took to the hardwood to display their skills.

The game was exciting from the jump as both teams got up and down and scrapped for every possession and loose ball.

In the end the East squad pulled off a 101-96 victory over the West behind North Carolina bound James McAdoo and Kentucky Wildcats Michael Gilchrist 17-points.

The game featured 21 dunks and was the most successful since King James made his appearance and won the 2003 MVP award in his hometown of Cleveland.

Coming into the week a lot of buzz was on the three Canadian Basketball kids who made history.

Myck Kabongo, Kyle Wiltjer and Khem Birch all got their fair share of buzz through the event. All three players participate and faired well on the pre-game activities. Kyle Wiltjer was crowned three-point king despite his 6-10 frame, Myck Kabongo finished a not so distant second in the skills competition, while Khem Birch competed well in the dunk contest.

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The soft spoken and humble Birch promised a strong performance after taking it easy and cruising for much of the week due to an eye injury which occurred during practice.

Montreal native Khem Birch had the most impressive game out of the three Canadian Basketball Players.

Birch a 6-8 freak of nature is considered the top Canadian basketball prospect and sure enough he left many in awe after his near triple double of 15 points, 10 rebounds and 6 blocks in a losing effort.

Birch will most certainly be in consideration for the 2012 NCAA Freshmen of the year award and made a case for Mcdonalds Game MVP with his performance at the biggest stage.

His impact on the court is felt on both ends, his superior athletic ability and raw talent allow him to disrupt shots on the defensive end and cause nightmares for opposing bigs trying to keep him off the offensive glass.

In a game which featured 2011 player of the year Austin Rivers and  co-game-MVP recipients James McAdoo and Michael Gilchrist amongst other studs its worth noting that a Canadian stole the show. All by himself.

“I worked hard to get position and scored without any plays being called for me.” I got everything myself,” Birch said.

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Men

New wave of Canadian Freshmen making NCAA splash

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New Wave Canadian Basketball Freshmen Making NCAA Splash

There’s a new wave of rising Canadians basketball players making an early NCAA splash. Below we take a look at freshmen players that are making their mark on the college basketball landscape. Like previous years, look for most of the names on this list to become household names come March Madness and a select few to continue Canada’s NBA takeover.

Oshea Brissett New Wave Canadian NCAA Freshmen

Oshea Brissett (Mississauga, ON) – Syracuse Orange

Oshea Brissett – Syracuse Orange

Brissett has been arguably the best freshman in college basketball. The 6’8″, 210 lbs forward from Mississauga, Ontario is beasting the opposition, averaging 13.6 points per game, including a team-high 9.2 rebounds (55th in all of the nation.) A true special talent, he has already racked-up four double-doubles in his first eight games, missing two more by just a single rebound. Look for Brissett to continue his torrid start to season as he helps the Syracuse Orange make a run at a conference title in the tough Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Although early in the season, Brissett is looking more and more like a true one and done prospect. Expect a green room invitation come June 2018 at NBA Draft.

Canadian Lindell Wigginton Iowa State Cyclones NCAA

Lindell Wigginton (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia) Iowa State Cyclones

Lindell Wigginton – Iowa State Cyclones

Looking for stability at the guard position? Well, look no further than Lindell Wigginton. A true versatile bucket getter, with major hops (38″ vertical), he currently leads all Canadian freshmen in scoring at 16.3 points per game while contributing in other aspects with 4 rebounds and 2.6 assists. The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia product is shooting a healthy 46.3 % from the field,  48.9% from three-pointers and has reached double-figures scoring in 7-of-9 games, including a season best 28-points, 7 rebound performance against Northern Illinois. Although, the tougher part of the Big 12 conference schedule remains, it is clear that in less than ten games Wigginton has solidified himself as a go to option in the fast paced Cyclones offensive system. Expect the 6’2″, 188 lbs guard to flourish all-season long as he looks to fulfill is long time dream of playing in the NBA.

Nickeil Alexander Walker Virginia Tech Hookies New Wave Canadian NCAA Freshmen

Nickeil Alexander Walker (Toronto, ON) Virginia Tech Hokies

Nickeil Alexander-Walker – Virginia Tech Hokies

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Talk about talent. Standing 6’5″ tall, weighing-in at 210-pounds, is Toronto, Ontario freshman Nickeil Alexander-Walker. A diamond in the rough find for head coach Buzz Williams and Virgina Tech. The Hokies, traditionally not a prime destination for top Canadian prospects is seeing just how special Alexander-Walker can be early-on. The 19-year-old kicked-off his NCAA career with scoring outbursts against Detroit Mercy (24 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) and Citadel (29 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) and is an integral reason for the Hokies early season success. A knock-down shooter (.529%, FG% .477% 3-pointers) with a 7-footer wing-span Alexander Walker is averaging 14.4 per game, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. A triple-threat he is comfortable handling the rock as well as, dishing off no looks, as he is scoring.

Shai Gilgeous Alexander Kentucky Wildcats New Wave Canadian NCAA Freshmen

Shai Gilgeous Alexander Hamilton/ON) – Kentucky Wildcats

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Kentucky Wildcats

It’s hard to talk about Shai-Gilgenous-Alexander (6’6″, 180 lbs, Hamilton/ON) without mentioning the aforementioned Nickeil Alexander-Walker. After-all, both are cousins, their names resemble each other, their games even more. What-else, they played, dominated and caused headaches for coaches as a dynamic high school back-court duo for Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, winning a State title along the way. Now they find themselves on the biggest stage of college basketball doing similar things for highly respected basketball teams. Despite coming off the bench Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 28.2 minutes per game, good for second on a team that also features a bevy of NBA prospects, including Hamidou Diallo, P.J Washington. A efficient natural stat-stuffer he’s averaging 10.1 points, a team-high 4.4 assists per game along side 3.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.

Marcus Carr Pittsburg Panthers New Wave Canadian NCAA Freshmen

Point Guard Marcus Carr (Toronto/ON) – Pittsburgh Panthers

Marcus Carr – Pittsburgh Panthers

A true floor general, Marcus Carr (6’1″, 185 lbs, Toronto/ON) has taken charge and ignited the Pittsburgh Panthers rebuilding offense. Carr’s strong play has propel the Panthers to a early four-game winning streak. The pass-first guard scored a career-best 23 points in a overtime win over St. Mary’s and has scored in double-digits in the five of the past six Panthers contests. Currently averaging 12 points, 3.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds, including shooting a 48% from the field, 48.1% from downtown and Steve Nash like 921% from the charity stripe. Despite his size Carr is strong enough to finish through contact and loves to gets under your chin with defensive pressure.

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Montreal’s Luguentz Dort commits to Arizona State Sun Devils

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Montreals Luguentz Dort Arizona State Sun Devils

Five star Canadian Guard Lugentz Dort has committed to Bobby Hurley and the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Dort a 6-5, 220lbs, product of Montreal, Quebec has been one of the most exciting Canadian Basketball prospects in recent years, combining raw speed, with gifted athletic ability, the the 2018 elite top prospect is expected to boast the Sun Devils credibility in a tough PAC 12 conference.

Dort narrowed down his list of top schools from Baylor, eventually settling with the upstart Sun Devils program that will help him transition from a two-guard to a more accomplished point-guard.  After all, Coach Hurley knows a thing or two about playing the point, having played the position for the Duke Blue Devils  in the early 90’s and over 269 games in the NBA.

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Men

Highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide Return To Canada

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Alabama Crimson Tide Avery Johnson Return To Canada

The Alabama Crimson Tide led by former NBA Head Coach Avery Johnson, a 16-year veteran and NBA champion point-guard during his playing days will bring his highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide to Canada for series of games against Canada’s top university basketball programs.

The Crimson Tide will visit both Montreal and Ottawa for a three-game exhibition schedule against McGill Redmen (Mon Aug 7), Carleton Ravens (Wed Aug 9) and the Ottawa Gee-Gees (Thu Aug 10).

The Tide competed hard last year and took a step in the right direction with a 19-15 record, 10-8 SEC record and have NCAA March Madness tournament aspirations thanks to solid recruiting class which ranks amongst the nations best.

Led by a talented crop of returning guards, Dazon Ingram (10.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG), Riley Norris (9 PPG, 3 RPG), the coaches son Avery Johnson Jr. and forwards Braxton Key the Tide will be a handful for the it’s Canadian opposition.

Key a 6’8″, 220 lbs flirted with the  2017 NBA draft after a stellar freshman season, the Charlotte, NC native led ‘Bama in scoring with 12 point per game and was second in rebounding at 5.7 per game. The Tide will also welcome incoming red-shirt sophomore 6’10”, 240lbs Daniel Giddens to a line-up that returns four starters.

Alabama anchored by current NBA player Alonzo Gee (Denver Nuggets) last visited Canada back in 2007 and finished with a record of 4-1 against the same exact teams, dropping a tight 83-72 decision against the Carleton Ravens who have won seven straight Canadian titles including 13-of the-last-15 championships.

Carleton’s signature win over Alabama was only their second ever against a NCAA division one team after 16-game losing streak from 1999 to 2006. The Ravens current record against NCAA teams in Canada stands at an impressive 26-23 (.531%) record.

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