Over the past few years, Canada Basketball has been on the rise on several different levels. From Andrew Wiggins being one of the top young stars in the NBA, to a plethora of Canadians in the NCAA, there are talented players from all over the Great White North leaving their mark on the basketball world.
Heading into the 2016-17 college basketball season, Canadians are in the headlines once again. Dillon Brooks is our #3 player in all of college basketball, and he happens to be from the province of Alberta. Brooks is one of many Canadians looking to have a positive impact on the upcoming year.
The start of the season also marks the arrival of a new wave of Canadian talent in the NCAA. Several highly-touted freshmen are from Canada, and have accepted offers from schools all across the United States. They will all be looking to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Wiggins, Brooks, Kyle Wiltjer, Anthony Bennett, and plenty of others.
Below are three of the top Canadians who can have the biggest impact on the 2016-17 season.
Jermaine Haley – New Mexico State Aggies
Class: Redshirt Freshmen
Position: Point Guard
Weight: 185 pounds
Hometown: Burnaby, BC
High School: Burnaby South High School
Known for recruiting high-profile Canadians on a regular basis, New Mexico State strikes again with the addition of Jermaine Haley to their 2016-17 roster. He joins fellow Canadians Tanveer Bhullar, Matt Taylor, and Jalyn Pennie on the Aggies’ roster.
Out of high school, Haley was considered one of the top point guard prospects. He was a five-star recruit according to Scout, while both Rivals and ESPN had him ranked as a four-star prospect. At 6’7”, he is a lengthy point guard prospect who has broad shoulders and long arms that make him effective on offense.
While he is an excellent passer, he needs to develop a more consistent jump shot, as well as become more of a presence on the defensive end of the floor. If he can use his length to interrupt passing lanes or disrupt shots, he will become a more well-rounded player.
The talent is there, without question, and Haley should be in for a strong career with the Aggies.
Justin Jackson – Maryland Terrapins
Weight: 225 pounds
Hometown: East York, ON
High School: The Hill Academy
Before committing to the Maryland Terrapins, Jackson had committed to be a part of the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. After a series of events, Jackson reopened his recruitment, and ultimately committed to Mark Turgeon and the Maryland Terrapins.
The addition of Jackson was a huge pickup for the Terrapins, who will be without four starters from a season ago. Jackson is ranked as a four-star recruit by ESPN, and was one of the more highly-touted forwards in the class.
Jackson has a long, athletic body that can support more muscle as he continues to develop physically. He has good movement, and has the ability to stretch the floor and spread the offense with his shooting ability. His jump shot from distance is a work in progress, as he needs to smooth out his jump shot before he will become a consistent threat from outside.
Regardless, all of the tools are there for Jackson. He has the potential, size, and athleticism to be a premier talent in the country. With all of the departures at Maryland, the opportunities will be there for Jackson to showcase his talents from the outset.
Koby McEwen – Utah State Aggies
Weight: 180 pounds
Hometown: Toronto, ON
High School: Wasatch Academy
Koby McEwen was among the top-rated point guards in the country in the Class of 2016. The 6’3” guard played his high school basketball at the Wasatch Academy in Utah, and burst onto the national scene when he took part in the Adidas Nations event before his senior season.
Against some of the nation’s top players, McEwen averaged 21 points, 5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 3 steals per game in the event. Then, as a senior in high school, he averaged 18.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game while helping lead the Tigers to a 29-4 record.
McEwen is a talented scoring guard who can score at all three levels. He can finish in contact due to his size and athletic abilities, while he has a good burst of speed off the dribble. He needs to work on his jump shot to become more consistent, and his defensive abilities need some work. If he can use his quick hands more often to disrupt lanes and become a lock-down defender, his game will go to another tier.
– T. Bennett