TORONTO,ON–In the past few weeks, NPH has had the opportunity to make a few trips south of the border to monitor the progress of some Canadians that have been turning heads and making an impact for their teams.
First, we hit the St Bonaventure/ NC State game where the Wolfpack visited the Bonnies at a neautral site in Rochester. This game featured four Canadians inlcuding the three Bonnies -Andrew Nicholson (NPH #1-ranked), Matthew Wright, and Chris Johnson. On the other hand, NC State featured former Vaughan road star, Alex Johnson.
The second game we attended was one that had four more Canadian players between Maine and Binghamton, including Canadian assistant at Maine in Nate Phillipe. For Maine, it was break out freshman Justin Edwards, while junior Mike Allison who is fresh of a hand injury was a defensive wall. Binghamton’s Canadians are Taylor Johnston and Carlysle Francis.
Andrew Nicholson | St. Bonaventure | 6’9 | F ( vs. NC State)
Nicholson was the marquee player on the NPH radar. We have seen the Mississauga product on several NBA draft boards, as high as #18 overall by ESPN. At 6’9, with a 7’4 wingspan, physically, whats not to love? The thing that has always impressed us most over the years about the big fella is his great footwork that allows him to get to all the right spots to operate. On this night, we thought that he didn’t have close to his strongest game, however after looking at the box score he actually ended up with a solid 16 points and 6 rebounds. On the other hand, he had five turnovers. An area that Nicholson must address in terms of taking his game to new heights is his intensity and assertiveness. We have seen him in times where he has exploded with emotion, yet other times (such as this game) where he disappeared in the second half. Overall, we are extremely high on Nicholson’s potential and definitely excited to continue following his progress. If the Bonnies can find a way to make it to March, it will certainly only continue to boost his NBA stock as he would be put under the microscope.
Alex Johnson | NC State | 5’11 | PG (vs. St Bonaventure)
Although Johnson lacks some size at the one spot at 5’11, he makes up for it with strength, heart and a great shooting stroke which he displayed against the Bonnies. Johnson also displayed his ability to keep his teammates involved throughout the game; he ended up with 9 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds and 1 steal on 3/4 FG (3/3 3P). Based off this performance, we learned that he is not a player you want to leave open, especially behind the arch. Although NC State is currently unranked, the Wolfpack is absolutely no joke; they possess all the right pieces to make a run in March and are currently (11-4). All four of their losses have come against quality teams including #1 and #20-ranked Syracus and Vanderbilt.
Justin Edwards | Maine | 6’3 | G (vs. Binghamton)
Although this game was played against a winless Binghamton team, Edwards has been consistent all year thus far, currently averaging 16 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 3.1 APG. Against Binghamton, Edwards played the first half with a passive approach, while senior guard Gerald McLemore carried the load. However, in the second half the Whitby, Ontario native came out agressive and displayed a variety of offensive moves while scoring on the break, attacking the hoop and absorbing contact, as well as hitting a three. Edwards quietly racked up 15 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists while letting the game come to him. Another rock solid performance from the freshman.
*Mike Allison who is fresh off an injury (fractured hand) however was excellent defensively and very active on the interior, registering five block against Binghampton.
Devoe Joseph | Oregon | 6’4 | G (vs. Stanford)
While we were not at this game, last night DJ had a career night recording 30 points, 7 rebounds on 9/15 FG (5/7 3P) in Oregon’s win over Stanford. Devoe Joe is certainly a guy that should be on your radar if you’re following the Canadians on the NCAA scene. As for NBA scouts, we are not quite sure about their take on the 6’4 combo guard with a lights out shooting stroke. However, one thing is for sure…if he can keep hovering around performances such as this, he will certainly be a guy that can pop up on to some Draft boards.