When Duke recruited Cameron Hall back in the 1970s, he was a real rarity: a Canadian good enough to play in the United States.
Now? Canadian basketball has become extremely impressive. We saw it recently at Duke with RJ Barrett but there are so many other Canadian players who are playing beautifully.
Just go down the list - Barrett, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jamal Murray, Kelly Olynyk, Dwight Powell, Tristan Thompson - that’s just barely scratching the surface.
This will annoy New Yorkers, but you could argue now that Toronto has become a better basketball town than the Big Apple, where basketball has been in decline for some time.
One of the next ones who might be really good is Duke target Caleb Houstan, also from the Toronto area. Or possibly another Duke target, Charles Bediako, from St. Catherine’s Ontario, just across the border and about an hour from Toronto.
This is an article from the Tufts student paper about the rise of Canadian basketball and it looks at the influence the Raptors have had.
We’re not sure there are enough great Canadian basketball players to consistently push the US internationally, but the Canadians should be, at a minimum, a Top Five team internationally.
The rise of the international game has been going on for some time but the rise of Canadian basketball to be a real force? This is one of the great basketball stories of the 21st century.