The NCAA selection committee has announced the 68 teams that will take part in the 2014 March Madness tournament and these teams feature 32 Canadians.
In 2013, Canadian sharp-shooter Nik Stauskas helped the Michigan Wolverines make it all the way to the National Final, only to lose to Louisville. Stauskas is back again this year, and he will be joined by several Canadians (see the full list below) in this year’s tournament. Many are looking to make an impact and help raise their stock for the upcoming NBA Draft.
Here are some of the Canadians to keep an eye during the Madness:
1. Andrew Wiggins – Kansas Jayhawks (Guard/Forward)
For years, Canadians (and basketball fans in general) have been waiting for phenom Andrew Wiggins to show off his skills in the March Madness tournament. Well, the time has finally come and the country (and basketball world) couldn’t be more excited. The freshman stand-out, who has committed to playing for Canada Basketball in the future, leads a stacked Kansas Jayhawks team that will be looking to win the school’s 4th National Title, and first since 2008. This spring, Wiggins will be looking to follow Anthony Bennett’s lead and become the 2nd straight Canadian to be selected 1st overall in the NBA Draft.
2. Tyler Ennis – Syracuse Orange (Guard)
Tyler Ennis is another Canadian who has a chance to make a huge impact at this year’s tournament. Ennis leads all Division 1 freshmen in steals, and possesses above-average ball handling skills as well as a good outside shot. He quietly led ‘Cuse to a 20-0 start and will be hoping to bring Syracuse their first National Title since superstar Carmelo Anthony took the Orange all the way in 2003.
3. Melvin Ejim – Iowa State Cyclones (Forward)
Melvin Ejim put together a massive 2013-14 season, averaging 17.4 Points and 6 Rebounds per game. Ejim set a Big 12 single-game scoring record this February, when he dropped 48 points in an 84-69 win over TCU. The senior also beat out fellow Canadian Andrew Wiggins to claim the title of Big 12 Player of the Year.
4. Nik Stauskas – Michigan Wolverines (Guard)
Nik Stauskas played a key role last year for Michigan, helping the Wolverines make it to the National Finals, before losing to the National Champs Louisville Cardinals. With the departure of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr from the back-court this season, the sharp-shooting Stauskas was given a bigger role in the Wolverines’ offense. The sophomore guard responded by setting career-highs of 17.5 Points, 3.3 Assists, and 3.1 Rebounds per game, on his way to capturing the Big 10 Player of the Year award.
5. Kevin Pangos – Gonzaga Bulldogs (Guard)
The 2013-14 season was a tough one for junior PG Kevin Pangos. First he had to deal with the departure of fellow Canadian Bulldog Kelly Olynyk, who was drafted 13th overall by the Boston Celtics last spring. Pangos also had to deal with several injuries this season, but still managed to put together a great year, finishing with career-highs in Points (14.1), Assists (3.7) and Rebounds (3.1) per game. Pangos’ strong play led to him being named to his third straight All-WCC First-Team.
The 32 Canadians: Team-by-Team
Arizona State: Jordan Bachynski
Baylor: Brady Heslip, Kenny Chery
Creighton: Jahenns Manigat
Dayton: Dyshawn Pierre
Eastern Kentucky: Jaylen Babb-Harrison
Gonzaga: Kevin Pangos, Dustin Triano, Kyle Wiltjer**
Harvard: Laurent Rivard, Agunwa Okolie, Patrick Steeves
Iowa State: Melvin Ejim, Naz Long
Kansas: Andrew Wiggins
Kansas State: Justin Edwards**
Michigan: Nik Stauskas
New Mexico State: Daniel Mullings, Sim Bhullar, Tanveer Bhullar, Renaldo Dixon, Matthew Taylor*, Jaylne Pennie*
Oregon: Jason Calliste, Richard Amardi
Saint Louis: Grandy Glaze
Syracuse: Tyler Ennis
Stanford: Dwight Powell, Stefan Nastic
Villanova: Dylan Ennis
Wichita State: Nick Wiggins, Chadrak Lufile
*Not on tournament roster
**Transferred schools, not eligible for 2013-14 season