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 – 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.
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 Hokies
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
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 – 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.
New Wave Canadian Freshmen Making Early NCAA Splash
New Wave Canadian Basketball Freshmen Making NCAA Splash
Canadian Lindell Wigginton Iowa State Cyclones NCAA
Nickeil Alexander Walker Virginia Tech Hookies New Wave Canadian NCAA Freshmen
Oshea Brissett–Syracuse Orange New Wave Canadian NCAA Freshmen
Oshea Brissett New Wave Canadian NCAA Freshmen
Marcus Carr Pittsburg Panthers New Wave Canadian NCAA Freshmen
Shai Gilgeous Alexander Kentucky Wildcats New Wave Canadian NCAA Freshmen
Carleton Ravens and Syracuse Orange set to tangle once again
Defending champions Carleton University Ravens will once again tangle with the Syracuse Orange in a marquee match-up between U Sports and NCAA powerhouses.
The Ravens will make their second trip to the Carrier Dome on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 to wrap-up another jammed-packed 2019-2020 exhibition schedule.
The two schools first played back on August 23rd 2013 in Ottawa with Syracuse winning a thrilling 69-65 overtime victory as part of Syracuse’s Canada tour and the debut of Canadian point guard Tyler Ennis
The Orange also got the best of the Ravens, pulling-off a 88-76 win on November 2nd 2014.
The 2019-2020 will mark the debut season for new Ravens head coach Taffe Charles who takes over for Dave Smart who surprised the entire college basketball landscape by announcing his sudden retirement.
Montreal’s freshman Quincy Guerrier alongside junior point guard Howard Washington (Buffalo/NY) are the latest Canadian’s to suite-up for legendary player, turned hall-of-hame coach Jim Boeheim, who has been at the helm since 1976.
Boeheim is the king of getting Canadians in the NBA — having single-handily responsible for overseeing the growth of Leo Rautins, Kris Joseph, Tyler Ennis, Andy Rautins, and now Oshae Brissett and if it all pans out — potentially Guerrier as well.
Under the guidance of their own legendary hall-of-fame coach Dave Smart the Ravens played a Canadian record 59 games against NCAA teams – earning a more than respectable 41-51 record from 1999-2018.
The Ravens boasted an unreal and never to be broken 37-24 winning record against NCAA teams on Canadian soil but mustered-up only one victory in the USA — beating Providence 77-67 in October 28, 2017.
James Naismith Classic NCAA triple-header to feature big names
For the past 20 years NCAA basketball teams have been making the trip north of the border to take on Canadian U Sports teams in early August as part of the NCAA vs. U Sports exhibition series.
Now it looks like we are ready for the next step — regular season, non-conference games between NCAA schools on fertile Canadian basketball
According to multiple reports, and now
Sponsored by the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame — the St. Bonaventure Bonnies (A-10) will take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (Big 10). The Buffalo Bulls (MAC) will face the Harvard Crimson (Ivy) and the Tennessee Volunteers (SEC) will square off against the Pac 12 champions Washington Huskies.
A total of six Canadian’s could be featured in the marque homecoming event including, Rutgers’ Eugene Omoruyi (Rexdale, Ont.), Harvard’s Danilo Djuricic Brampton, Ont.), and Luka Sakota (Oakville, Ont.). The Crimson also features Ottawa, Ont. duo
Omoruyi a 6’7″, 234-pound bruising senior forward is coming off of his best season — leading the Scarlet Knights in scoring and rebounds at a respective 13.8 and 7.2 per game.
Noah Kirkwood (6’7, 215 lbs) guard had a productive freshman season with 11.1 rebounds, 4.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists as the Crimson (18-11, 10-4 Conf) just missed out on the 2019 NCAA March Madness tournament with a close loss to Yale in the conference title game.
The Buffalo Bulls’ are coming off their most successful season in the program’s history with an outstanding 32-4, 16-2 record and a six-seed in the West region.
The marquee match-up pits the Tennessee Volunteers against the Washington Huskies. Tennessee finished second in the SEC with a strong 31-6, 15-3 campaign for head coach Rick Barnes – bowing out to Purdue in the Sweet 16.
The Huskies, although not a traditional Canadian destination, will become the first NCAA men’s basketball team to make back-to-back trips to Canada.
In 2018 the Vancouver Showcase tipped off — bringing four NCAA men’s (Washington, Santa Clara, Minnesota, Texas A&M) and eight women’s basketball team’s to the west coast of Canada — marking the first time NCAA division one games played in Canada counted as non-conference records.
With Toronto continuously out-churning the mecca (New York City) and other traditional American powerhouses for quality NCAA and NBA basketball prospects — it makes more than dollars and cents — much like the Empire Classic — to ensure that the northern city that never sleeps has it’s annual NCAA regular season dosage.