We are recalling all foreign players that have ever played in the League, telling about foreign championships and National teams of different countries in World basketball map project. Today we’re going to talk about basketball in Canada.
The first Canadian in the history of VTB United League is Denham Brown. 2004 NCAA champion as Connecticut University player and one of the few players that has scored more than 100 points (Brown scored 111 in 2002 in school teams game), in 2010 he signed with Dnepr. Brown played 10 games in VTB United League averaging 9,8 points and 5,2 rebounds.
The leader in spent seasons (5) and games played (114) among Canadian players in VTB United League is Kyle Landry. The center has played in the League since 2012 till 2017 for Triumph and Zenit. He was averaging 11,2 points and 5,9 rebounds.
The last time Canadian players were playing in VTB League was 2018/19 season. Back then, Canada National team players Philip Scrubb and Melvin Ejim were playing for Zenit and UNICS.
In 2020/21 season Canada will be represented in VTB United League by Kevin Pangos (Zenit) and head coach Gordon Herbert (Avtodor).
Basketball in Canada
League: NBL Canada (National Basketball League)
Founded: in 2011
Number of teams: 8
League’s web-site: http://nblcanada.ca/
The most popular Canada’s team and 2019 NBA Champion Toronto Raptors is the only Canadian team in the NBA. But Canada has its own championship – NBL.
Canadian National Baksetball League is almost as old as VTB United League, it was founded in 2011. During this time 18 different clubs has played in the League, in the latest season there were 8 teams.
Throughout 8 seasons (2019/20 season was canceled) four different teams has become NBL champions. The Leader is London Lightning (4 titles).
The NBL is organized just like the NBA: the commissioner, two divisions, salary cap, annual draft, they even had the All-Star Games (2012-2014), and division finals and the NBL finals are played in the best-of-seven format.
Plus, there are individual awards: Final and Regular season MVP, Canadian player of the year, Newcomer of the year, Rookie of the year, Sixth man of the year, Defensive player of the year.
Fun fact is that last season, there were players from the USA and Canada only.
In 1995-2000, before the NBA season, Naismith Cup was held in Canadian cities. It was an exhibition game named after founder of basketball James Naismith who was born in Canada. The game featured two Canadian NBA teams: Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies.
The main goal of Naismith Cup was to popularize basketball in Canada. In 1995 Winnipeg hosted the game and later there were Calgary 1996, Halifax 1997, Edmonton 1999 and Ottawa 2000. Vancouver 1998 was canceled due to lockout.
Canada National team
FIBA rank: 21
FIBA members: since 1936
Achievements: Olympics silver medals (1936), America Cup silver medals (1980, 1999)
Canada’s biggest success was their first event, 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. The team that had recently joined FIBA and consisting of university players reached the finals and lost to the USA (8:19).
In 1976 and 1984. the Canadians were again close to Olympic medals, but took the 4th place both times. In 1976, Canada were beaten by the USA in the semifinal (77:95) and USSR in 3rd place game (72:100), and in 1984, again the Americans dominated the semifinals (59:78), and Yugoslavia won the bronze medals (82:88).
During Steve Nash–the best player of the country–era, Canada took 7th place at Sydney Olympics (2000) and won America Cup medals in 1999 (silver) and 2001 (bronze).
Today, Canada ranked 21st by FIBA is deemed to be the team with great potential. There are plenty of young Canadian NBA players, and the team is led by the US coach NIck Nurse who won the NBA 2019 with Toronto Raptors.
Most famous Canadian players in history
Steve Nash. 2-time MVP of NBA regular season (2005, 2006), 8 apperances in NBA’s All-Star Game, 5-time best assisting players of the NBA. In 2017 and 2018, Steve Nash won the NBA as Golden State Warriors consultant. In 2018, the legendary point guard was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Rick Fox. 3 NBA titles with Los Angeles Lakers (2000-2002). Overall 13 seasons in the NBA (930 games) with Boston and Lakers. After finishing his career, Rick Fox became an actor.
Bill Wennington. 3 NBA titles with Chicago Bulls (1996-1998), Italian champion (1993) and golden medals of the 1983 Universiade. After finishing his career, Bill Wennington became a TV commentator, and in 2015, was inducted into Canadian Hall of Fame.
Jamaal Magloire. NCAA champion (1998) and NBA All-Star Game participant (2004), 12 seasons in the NBA (680 games). In 2011, Jamaal Magloire became the first Canadian to play for the only NBA Canadian team Toronto Raptors. In 2012, the center finished professional career and became Toronto’s consultant and ambassador.
Andrew Wiggins. 2014 NBA draft 1st pick, 2015 Rookie of the year. In 2015, Wiggins won bronze medals of America Cup with Canada. Best Canadian player in the NBA by points per game (19.7).
Worth mentioning: Joel Anthony, Samuel Dalembert, Jamal Murray, Tristan Thompson