10 Canadians to watch from the mid-majors in 2021-22

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Aher Uguak. Loyola-Chicago Ramblers.

The Canadian influence on college basketball is growing at an exponential rate and that trend continues in 2021-22.

Going back to the 1990’s you could count on one hand the number of Canadians playing in the NCAA. Fast forward to the 2021-22 season and there are close to 200 Canadians playing D1 hoops and many have become key figures for their programs.

Here are 10 Canadians at mid-major programs expected to have a major impact for their teams during the 2021-22 season. 

Andrew Nembhard – Gonzaga. 6’5 Sr. Guard Aurora, ON.  Was named WCC Sixth Man of the Year as well as second team All-WCC after helping the Zags to a perfect regular season record. Averaged 9.2 points per game along with 4.4 assists in his first season with Gonzaga after transferring from Florida. With Jalen Suggs gone to the NBA Nembhard is expected to run the point for a Gonzaga squad that once again will be in the hunt for a national championship. Expect Nembhard to be NBA bound following this season. 

Fardaws Aimaq – Utah Valley. 6’11 Soph. Centre Vancouver, BC.  Named WAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year after leading the nation in rebounding with 15 per game including a school record 25 rebounds vs Dixie State. He also averaged 13.9 points per game. Aimaq put his name into the NBA draft and worked out for a number of teams before coming back to school. Has done an incredible job in the gym reshaping his body which should allow another look at the league in 2022. 

Emmanuel Akot – Boise State. 6’8 Sr. Guard Winnipeg, MB. Played his first two years at Arizona before transferring where he became a key figure for a Boise squad that went 19-9 last year but faltered late. Akot averaged 9.1 points per game along with 3.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists but expect those numbers to increase in 2021-22. Look for Akot and his Boise State Broncos to be an NCAA tournament team come March of 2022. 

Abu Kigab – Boise State. 6’7 Sr. Forward St. Catharines, ON. Was named second team All-Mountain West last season after averaging 11.8 points per game along with 5.4 rebounds. Started his career at Oregon before transferring to Boise where he has become one of the best players in a very tough Mountain West. Expect Kigab to be a key figure on a Boise squad that should crack the top 25 throughout the 2021-22 season. 

Kyler Filewich – Southern Illinois. 6’9 Soph. Forward Winnipeg, MB.  Was named to the MVC All-Freshman team after an impressive campaign that saw him improve week after week. Led the team in rebounds with 5.7 per game and also averaged 6.8 points per game in 2020-21. Proved he could hang with the big boys with some great late season battles going up against Loyola-Chicago’s Cameron Krutwig who was the MVC Player of the Year. Look for Filewich to develop into an All-Conference player in 2022. 

Keshuan Saunders – Toledo. 6’5 Jr. Guard Brampton, ON. Saunders was a key figure off the bench for a Toledo squad that won the MAC regular season title. Averaged 6.8 points per game last season after being named to the MAC All-Freshman team the year before. Saunders should see his role increase in 2021-22 for a Toledo squad that will be in the mix for another MAC championship and NCAA tournament birth. 

Mike Nuga – UNLV. 6’2 Sr. Guard Toronto, ON. Was having an All-Conference year for Kent State in 2020-21 averaging 17.8 points per game before suffering a knee injury in February that ended his season. Was a highly sought after transfer during the offseason and chose UNLV which becomes his third D1 school after starting his career at Portland State where he led the team with 10.5 PPG. Look for Nuga to have an All-Conference type season in Vegas in 2021-22. 

Shemar Rathan-Mayes – Youngstown State. 5’11 Soph. Guard Scarborough, ON. Named to the Horizon League All-Freshman team after a season where he averaged 10.4 points per game along with 3.5 assists. Started 22 of 24 games for Youngstown as a true freshman which is impressive for a player who was under recruited and slept on coming out of high school. Rathan-Mayes should develop into an All-Conference player over the next few years. 

Aher Uguak – Loyola-Chicago. 6’7 Sr. Forward Edmonton, AB. Was named third team All-MVC as well as All-Defensive team in 2020-21. He started all 31 games for a Ramblers squad that won the MVC and made a run to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament. Averaged 7.3 points per game along with 3.9 rebounds last season and expect those numbers to increase in 2021-22 and he should be in the mix for MVC Defensive Player of the Year. 

Jahmyl Telfort – Northeastern. 6’7 Soph. Guard Boucherville, QC. Telfort was named CAA Sixth Man of the Year during his freshman campaign where he averaged 11.8 points per game along with 3.8 rebounds. Telfort was another under recruited Canadian who turned out to be a gem being named a Freshman All-American as well as being named to the CAA All-Rookie team. Expect a big year from Telfort at Northeastern which now features five Canadians on their roster.