Canadian basketball is poised for a record 2019 NBA Draft class

Photo: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Canadian basketball is poised for a record 2019 NBA Draft class

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Canadian basketball is poised for a record 2019 NBA Draft class

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The upcoming year projects to be a mammoth one for Canadian basketball, extending well beyond the Toronto Raptors winning their first NBA championship.

While this NBA Draft has been publicized as lacking depth, this is easily the deepest group of Canadian talent entering the NBA. The record for most Canadians selected in a single draft is four in 2014 — Andrew Wiggins, Nik Stauskas, Tyler Ennis and Dwight Powell. On Thursday, they may surpass that record in the first round alone.

There are currently seven projected Canadian players in the Rookie Wire Mock Draft, and up to 10 with a legitimate shot at either being drafted or ending up on an NBA roster at some point in time. With Nick Nurse set to coach Canada’s 2019 World Cup team, this is full of players who either have worn the red and white or may do so in the future.

Canada is now at the point where they will have a National Team full of NBA roster players, a remarkable feat considering that there had been just nine Canadians drafted from 1983-2009, doubling to 18 drafted from 2010-2018.

Here are some names to remember in Thursday’s NBA Draft with some information about their high schools and upbringing. Click on the name to get a full profile:

Mar 2, 2019; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward R.J. Barrett (5) lays the ball up during the second half against the Miami Hurricanes at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils won 87-57. (Photo: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)

R.J. Barrett – Duke (6’6, 210 lbs)

Andrew Wiggins set a pretty high bar as the most accomplished Canadian prep player and R.J. Barrett seemed to surpass that with his pre-college achievements.

Barrett led Canada basketball to its first-ever Men’s Gold Medal in the U19 World Championships in Cairo, with a massive 38-point and 13-rebound performance in Canada’s semifinal win over the United States. He nearly swept postseason player of the year awards as a high school senior, leading Montverde to a GEICO High School National Championship and also helping lead the World Team to a Nike Hoop Summit win.

While Barrett was the unanimous #1 player in the RSCI high school rankings, he took a backseat to Duke teammate Zion Williamson. As Williamson posted the most dominant college season of recent memory, Barrett also starred during his lone college season and was a consensus First Team All-American.

His father, Rowan Barrett, is a former professional basketball player with a history with the Canadian National team. The senior Barrett also is the current executive vice president and assistant general manager with Canada basketball.

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