July 1st, 2014
Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians out there and Happy early Indepence Day to all my American friends. Great time to write a new Blog entry since the last week has been a historic one for Canadian basketball, and no better time to celebrate it than Canada Day!
There were numerous landmarks and firsts achieved last week for Canada and the explosion of talent coming from North of the border is definitely not a secret anymore, it's now being Globally recognized. This past week for the first time in back-to-back years, the #1 pick in the NBA Draft was Canadian, as Andrew Wiggins was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers. When Nik Stauskas was selected with the #8 pick by the Sacramento Kings, and Tyler Ennis was selected #18 by the Phoenix Suns, it was the first time three Canadians were picked in the 1st Round. To top it off, Dwight Powell was selected #45 overall by the Charlotte Hornets (then traded to Cleveland), to make it the first time in history four Canadians were drafted in the same year!
As Canadians we are all extremely proud of these young guys who are picking up where our other young studs Anthony Bennett, Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph, Kelly Olynyk, Andrew Nicholson, Robert Sacre etc have left off. Of course for me personnally, the fact that I had the opportunity to work with Andrew, Nik, and Dwight makes it even more special, and I can tell you that it's no accident these guys are achieving their dreams right now. From an early age all three of them had a special passion for the game, a hunger to constantly work to get better, and a dream to play at the highest level on the planet.
There were also four other Canadians who were draft eligible and didn't get drafted, so should definitely mention those guys as well. Melvin Ejim (Iowa State), Jordan Bachynski (Arizona State), Sim Bhullar (New Mexico St), and Khem Birch (UNLV), didn't get their names called but will be pursuing their pro dreams as well via the NBA Summer League.
At the youth level history was made as well with the Canadian Junior National team winning Silver at the FIBA Tournament of the Americas for the first time, and they made some noise in the process. They absolutely steamrolled all other countries before coming up short vs a loaded USA team, and put everyone on notice that Canada is a basketball power on the rise. Congratulations to the team and a special shout-out to my friends and colleagues Roy Rana and Scott Morrison, who did an excellent job with the team.
Here at American we hosted our 2nd Annual Mike Brennan Elite Camp at Bender Arena and had a great turnout with some really exciting players on campus. We also had our Team Camp over the weekend, thanks to all the teams that came out. Look for some phenomenal news on the recruiting front coming soon at AU!
Speaking of recruiting, we're getting ready to hit the road for the July live evaluation period, so I'll probably be coming to a city near you in the next few weeks. While you're here, check out the rest of my newly designed site...went with a new look to keep things fresh! Happy Canada Day & Indepence Day everybody...lots to celebrate!