Mountain West Basketball Tournament - Championship - UNLV v New Mexico

Canadian-born players are making a bigger impact in the NCAA every year, and 2012-13 has been no different, with an exciting group of Canucks making names for themselves in Division 1 basketball South of the border.

Next year names like Andrew Wiggins and Xavier Rathan Mayes, among others, will join the Madness. For now, here’s a reminder of the Canadians that will be dancing in 2013…

The Big Two:

Anthony Bennett – UNLV – PF

The Brampton, Ontario native was one of the best freshman in the country this season, if not the best. After starting the season on an absolute tear for the Runnin’ Rebels, Bennett vaulted himself into 2013 NBA lottery pick consideration. As he kept those performances going with consistency, he vaulted himself into a surefire top-10 pick, a potential top-5 pick and had many saying that if he were just an inch or two taller, he’d be the unanimous No. 1 overall pick. Bennett is a beast to deal with in the post while also being skilled enough to step outside and knock down jumpers. When UNLV played first round opponent California back in December, the Canadian big man had 25 points and 13 rebounds.

Kelly Olynyk – Gonzaga – PF

While Olynyk finally started to receive due praise towards the end of the season, it still seems as though he was one of the most under-appreciated players in NCAA basketball this season. Like Bennett, Olynyk lifted his draft stock with a phenomenal season that leaves him right around the cut-off point of NBA lottery picks, but a good showing in the tournament both for himself and Gonzaga could see him go as high as the top-10 come June’s Draft. With doubters still skeptical about his strength for a seven-footer, Olynyk was an offensive machine for the Zags this season, averaging 17.5 points on a ridiculous 65 per cent shooting from the field and just under 35 per cent from behind the arc. For good measure, he added over seven rebounds per game to go with nearly two assists and a block in less than 26 minutes a night.

Oh yeah, and if you’re into advanced stats, Olynyk’s insane Player Efficiency Rating of 36.57 is the highest mark recorded in the four years that PER has been tracked at the college level.

Bennett and Olynyk are the biggest names with the most NBA potential, but there are plenty more Canadian names in this year’s tournament. Here’s a full list:

Midwest Region:

Sim Bhullar – New Mexico State (Named WAC Tournament MVP)

Renaldo Dixon – New Mexico State

Daniel Mullings – New Mexico State

Tyrone Watson – New Mexico State (Bhullar, Dixon, Mullings and Watson combine for an average of over 40 points per game for the Aggies)

Jahenns Manigat – Creighton (A long range threat as a 38% three-point shooter)

Stefan Jankovic – Missouri

Negus Webster-Chan – Missouri

Joe De Ciman – Colorado State

Grandy Glaze – Saint Louis

South Region:

Nik Stauskas – Michigan (Averages 11.5 points while shooting a scorching 44.9% from outside)

Taevaunn Prince – South Dakota State

Maurice Walker – Minnesota

East Region:

Junior Cadougan – Marquette (Averages a team-high 4.1 assists per game)

Khem Birch – UNLV (In the shadow of Bennett, Birch is an integral piece for UNLV who plays 22 minutes per game)

Noel Jones – Syracuse

Troy Joseph – LIU Brooklyn

Bryson Johnson – Bucknell (Near 40% three-point shooter averages just over 11 points per game)

Nik Cochran – Davidson (Great shooter who moves the ball well for the Wildcats)

West Region:

Kevin Pangos – Gonzaga (Good shooting point guard who may be an NBA prospect himself in the future)

Melvin Ejim – Iowa State (Nearly averages a double-double with 11.2 points and a team-high 9.3 rebounds)

Naz Long – Iowa State

Chadrack Lufile – Wichita State

Nick Wiggins – Wichita State (Yet another Canadian who can and will let it fly from behind the arc)

Agunwa Okolie – Harvard

Laurent Rivard – Harvard (Averages over 10 points per game while logging 35 minutes)

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