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Canadians To Watch This March Madness

It’s been a slow process, but we are finding more and more Canadian content in the American college hoops scene. If you are a dedicated Canadian hoops fan and you’re looking for something to do following the U Sports finals, keep an eye on these players south of the border.

Dillon Brooks: Oregon

The Mississauga, Ontario native may be the most clutch player in all of college basketball. During his time with Oregon, Dillon Brooks has hit several game-winning shots that will go down in Ducks lore, including a huge one against UCLA earlier this season.

Brooks won the Pac-12 Player of the Year award despite a late start to the season due to a foot injury. The small forward is averaging 16.3 points on the season as a whole but has tallied at least 20 points in seven of Oregon’s nine games leading into the tourney.

Brooks is one of the most important players on one of the best teams in the country; you can expect to be seeing a lot of him throughout the month of March. Especially considering fellow countryman Chris Boucher is out for the rest of the year due to a torn ACL.

Marial Shayok: Virginia

Marial Shayok tends to go overlooked because of Virginia’s defensive-focused scheme. However, the guard from Ottawa, Ontario has been a steady offensive presence, averaging 8.6 points while shooting 44.6 percent from the floor. Those are very good numbers considering scoring 10 points in Tony Bennett’s system is akin to scoring 20 anywhere else.

Shayok does his biggest damage defensively. Aside from his tenacity guarding opponents, he has an exceptionally long wingspan that helps him to break up passing attempts. Shayok is the perfect player for the Cavaliers, as he can lock down an opponent by making them hold onto the ball and kill the shot clock.

You likely won’t hear Shayok’s name much during a broadcast, which is a good thing. He’s the type of player who does his job and waits for open looks to take opportunistic shots.

Nazareth Mitrou-Long: Iowa State

Nazareth Mitrou-Long has done nothing but get better and better every year for Iowa State. Since playing just seven minutes per game as a freshman, the Mississauga-born player they call “Naz” has grown to average 33.2 minutes and 15.5 points per game. Naz has been one of the most efficient players on the Cyclones team this season; the redshirt senior has a better shooting percentage than any other member of the starting five while taking far fewer shots than Monte Morris or Deonte Burton.

The experienced guard trio of Mitrou-Long, Morris and Burton could be lethal during March Madness. Time and time again we’ve seen that talented backcourts are absolutely vital during the NCAAB tournament and can lead a team on an improbable run.

It’s also worth noting that Mitrou-Long’s younger brother Elijah Long plays for Mount St. Mary’s, who find themselves in the First Four. The younger Long has been the Mountaineers’ best player, averaging 15.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.

Other Notable Canadians In March Madness:

Xavier Rathan-Mayes: Florida State – 27.4 min, 10.4 ppg, 4.8 apg, 45.6 FG%

Dylan Ennis: Oregon – 30.8 min, 11.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 43.6 FG%

Duane Notice: South Carolina – 32.8 min, 10.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 38.2 FG%

Kimbal Mackenzie: Bucknell – 29.8 min, 11.5 ppg, 1.1 spg, 46.4 FG%

Trae Bell-Haynes: Vermont – 27.4 min, 11.1 ppg, 3.8 apg, 48.5 FG%

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