From Steve Nash to Andrew Wiggins to Jamal Murray, Canadians have been establishing a pronounced presence in the basketball landscape in recent days.
Tyrese Samuel, a junior forward at Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.), is the latest to take his game south. The Washington Post tells Samuel’s story. This summer, longtime Riverdale Baptist coach Louis Wilson got a call from one of his former players, Sheray Thomas. Thomas, who played at Kentucky, told Wilson about a 6-foot-8 forward who attended his high school alma mater in Canada.
By August, the 16-year-old Samuel had arrived in Maryland to live with a host family and finish high school at Riverdale Baptist. As the Post describes, the early indications are that Samuel is a special talent. On Saturday at the National High School Hoops Festival at DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.), Samuel scored a season-high 22 points in a blowout win over Gwynn Park (Brandywine, Md.).
Look for the college recruitment of Samuel to pick up. For now, he is getting used to a different level of competition compared to back home.
“Here, everyone is competitive. Everybody is my height,” Samuel told the Post. “In Canada, there’s not a lot of tall people. I was just fortunate to be tall. It’s a faster pace, more physical. There’s never a team where there’s not one good player because everyone knows how to play basketball.”
Samuel noted that “it was always in my head” to eventually come to the United States to further his basketball career. Arriving at Riverdale Baptist with a varied skill set, he can shoot with range, create for others off the dribble and block shots.
Last week, Samuel provided a glimpse into his talent with a thunderous dunk against Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.).
“Every 10 years, we get a good one from Montreal,” Wilson said with a laugh. “It’s great to have him.”
If this keeps up, basketball might someday give ice hockey a run for its money as our neighbor to the north’s favorite sport. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch. But there’s no denying basketball’s growth in Canada. Samuel is living proof.