Canada has officially arrived as a powerhouse in the world of basketball. This summer the Canadian men’s national team won a bronze medal at the FIBA World Cup with a roster loaded with NBA talent. However, many of Canada’s best players didn’t even compete (Jamal Murray, Andrew Wiggins etc) which speaks to the depth of talent Canadian basketball has developed over the past decade.
There are now over 130 Canadians who will compete in NCAA basketball during the 2023-24 season which should allow Canada basketball to maintain its international relevance for many years to come.
Here is a look at 15 Canadians you can expect to make a major impact for their schools during the upcoming college basketball season:
Zach Edey – Purdue – 7’4 Sr. Centre – Toronto, ON.
Edey swept all six major National Player of the Year awards after averaging 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 assists per game. The big man once again tested the NBA draft waters to no avail and now he’s back at Purdue for his senior season. Won bronze with Team Canada this summer at the FIBA World Cup playing alongside a host of NBA stars.
The knock against Edey is that he simply can’t shoot. He has never even attempted a 3-point shot in three years of college. He can also disappear in big games. Remember that Purdue became just the second No.1 seed in the history of the NCAA tournament to lose to a No.16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson.
I would’ve liked to see him transfer instead of going back to Purdue because the role he plays under Matt Painter will not land him in the NBA even though he will be college basketball’s most dominant player in 2023-24.
Emanuel Miller – TCU – 6’7 Sr. Forward – Scarborough, ON.
Miller entered the NBA draft and worked out for a few teams but decided to come back to TCU for his fifth season. He originally committed to play at Virginia Tech but switched to Texas A&M when Buzz Williams got that job. Will enter his third year at TCU where he started 31 of 32 games last year averaging 12.3 points per game along with 6.5 rebounds and helped the Horned Frogs into the second round of March Madness. His brother Leonard was drafted by Minnesota 33rd overall. Emanuel is the 2023 version of Charles Oakley because he can score if needed but does all the dirty work on the court that allows his teammates more success. He won’t get drafted into the NBA but should make his way into the league as a role player.
Elijah Fisher – DePaul – 6’6 Soph. Guard – Oshawa, ON.
This will be the most important season of Fisher’s life. Fisher was a consensus five-star recruit with offers from all the blue bloods of college hoops before he reclassified to being a 2022 and committed to Texas Tech. He did play in 28 games with one start in his freshman season, averaging just 3.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. He flamed out quickly during his tenure in Lubbock and then made the bizarre decision to transfer to a really bad DePaul team that went just 10-23 last year. Fisher has gone from being one of Canada’s most hyped recruits ever and a surefire NBA prospect to being on the verge of being a bust if he can’t right the ship this year at DePaul.
Fardaws Aimaq – California – 6’11 Sr. Centre – Vancouver, BC.
Big Maple also tested the NBA before announcing he was coming back for his sixth season and transferring to Cal from Texas Tech. Injuries limited Aimaq to just 11 games played at Tech where he averaged 11.1 points and 7.9 rebounds in 27.5 minutes played per game. Both Aimaq and fellow Canadian Fisher fizzled under Mark Adams at Tech who was fired for making racially insensitive comments back in March. Aimaq will reunite with his former Utah Valley head coach Mark Madsen at Cal. While at Utah Valley, Aimaq was one of college basketball’s most dominant forces where he was named WAC Player of the Year, Two-time WAC Defensive Player of the Year & an All-WAC First Team selection.
Ryan Nembhard – Gonzaga – 6’0 Jr. Guard – Aurora, ON.
Nembhard made a bit of a surprising move by announcing he was leaving Creighton and transferring to Gonzaga following in the footsteps of his older brother Andrew who just finished an impressive rookie season in the NBA with Indiana. Nembhard was one of the best point guards in the Big East and ranked 24th in the nation with 176 assists last year and was named to the 2021-22 Big East All-Freshman Team the year before. He will be given the keys to Mark Fews offence and should have a big year for Gonzaga.
Jaden Bediako – Seton Hall – 6’10 Sr. Centre – Brampton, ON.
He transferred to Seton Hall this summer after four stellar years at Santa Clara where he made 111 appearances and 63 starts in his career. Last year, Bediako averaged 6.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while shooting 52 percent which was tied for team lead and for fifth in the WCC with 33 blocks. His younger brother Charles went undrafted but signed with San Antonio after being named to the SEC All-Freshman team with Alabama in 2022. Bediako will be a key figure for head coach Shaheen Holloway in his second season in charge hoping to improve on a 17-16 record in year one.
Keeshawn Barthelemy – Oregon – 6’2 Sr. Guard – Montreal, Que.
Barthelemy had an injury plagued first season with Oregon last year while still averaging 9.3 points, 2.4 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 26.0 minutes per game in 24 games after transferring from Colorado. Barthelemy has developed into an elite guard in the Pac-12 over the past three years and should only get better with more minutes in 2023-24.
Quincy Guerrier – Illinois – 6.8 Sr. Forward – Montreal, Que.
The 24 year-old Guerrier is one of college basketball’s most experienced players with 131 games played totalling 1,280 points and 756 rebounds, good for career averages of 9.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He played his first two years at Syracuse before transferring to Oregon for another two seasons. Guerrier declared for the NBA draft in 2022 before returning to Oregon last year where he averaged 9.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Every college coach wants his team to “get old” and Brad Underwood has accomplished that by bringing in Guerrier.
Jahmyl Telfort – Butler – 6’7 Sr. Guard – Boucherville, Que.
Transferred to Butler this offseason after three impressive years playing for Northeastern where he was Third-Team All-CAA last year and the 2021 Sixth Man off the Year playing under Bill Coen. Telfort averaged 16.4 points per game along with 2.2 assists and he also plays tough defence which should come in handy during his first season in the Big East. I got a good look at Telfort this summer in Toronto where he played for Team Canada (U23) which earned a silver medal after losing to the Kentucky Wildcats in the gold medal game at Globl Jam. He’s mature beyond his years and will be key for Thad Motta during 2023-24.
Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe – Georgia – 6’8 Sr. Forward – Toronto, ON.
This is the biggest year of Moncrieffe’s career. He transferred to Georgia last season where he played well, starting 26 of 28 games and averaging 5.5 points and 5.1 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game. He played his first two seasons at Oklahoma State under Mike Boynton who almost destroyed Moncrieffe’s career by having him play the centre position instead of as a guard or wing like he did in high school where he was named Canada’s national high school Player of the Year. Coming out of high school, Moncrieffe was another can’t miss NBA prospect but has been mediocre so far. Hopefully, 2023-24 is the year he can develop into a commanding offensive player under Mike White at Georgia.
Ben Krikke – Iowa – 6’9 Sr. Forward – Edmonton, AB.
Krikke transferred to Iowa this summer after four dominant seasons in the MVC playing at Valparaiso. He led the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring this past season with 19.4 points per game along with 5.9 rebounds. He was named to the All-MVC First Team and MVC Most-Improved Team last year after being All-MVC Third Team in the previous two seasons. He fits the mold of an Iowa player under Fran McCaffery perfectly and could be an All-Big 10 selection in 2024.
Kobe Elvis – Dayton – 6’2 Jr. Guard – Brampton, ON.
Elvis had an injury-plagued year in 2022-23, missing 15 games after suffering a knee injury that saw him appear in only 19 games with 17 starts. He did averaged 8.5 points and 2.6 rebounds when healthy and showed he can be an elite guard in the A-10. He played his freshman season at DePaul before transferring to Dayton where he has flourished under Anthony Grant. If he can stay healthy this year, he should have the NCAA all shook up and become an All-Conference talent for the Flyers in 2023-24.
Jaelin Llewellyn – Michigan – 6’2 Sr. Guard – Mississauga, ON.
Llewellyn will enter his sixth season of college hoops after missing most of last year with an ACL injury playing in just eight games for the Wolverines. Prior to that, he was a two-time All-Ivy League selection for Princeton (First team in 2022 and Second team in 2020). He’s started all 84 games in his college career and is a very smart, crafty point guard who plays similar to fellow Canadian Andrew Nembhard. If he’s healthy he’s an All-Big 10 selection, but if he’s not, Michigan could be in trouble.
Tyrese Samuel – Florida – 6’9 Sr. Forward – Montreal, Que.
Was a bit of a surprise seeing him in the transfer portal where he ended up at Florida. Samuel had 118 career appearances with 36 starts over his four seasons at Seton Hall which includes starting all 33 games last season. He averaged 11.0 points and 4.3 rebounds per game and he finally developed into the player he was supposed to be coming out of high school. Samuel is an exceptionally gifted athlete but at times he can be too much of a nice guy. He was a three-time Big East All-Academic Team honouree which is great but I’d like to see more intensity out of Samuel on the court now that he’s landed in the SEC.
Enoch Boakye – Fresno State – 6’10 Jr. Centre – Brampton, ON.
One word to describe Boakye’s two seasons at Arizona State would be; disappointing. Boayke was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school where he initially committed to play at Michigan State before switching to the Sun Devils. He had a decent freshman year under Bobby Hurley playing in 31 games but was a bust last season when he only saw action in 19 games (3.3 min per game) averaging only 0.7 points. However, I watched him up close this summer playing for Team Canada’s U23 team vs Kentucky and he looks the part of a big time college player (he could hang with the Kentucky guys). The move to Fresno with more playing time could be the redemption Boakye needs to revive his once promising career.