Brady Heslip is Team Canada’s X-Factor.
The roster is yet to be selected, however based on two exhibition games against Jamaica, the 6’2 sniper out of Burlington, Ontario is more than proving his value, excelling at what he’s done his entire career…shoot the ball.
However, what the Baylor Bear provides on the offensive end is much more than just a deadly three-point option. Simply put, Heslip understands how to play the game, being a high I.Q guard that is a positive on the floor. He won’t make many mistakes offensively, typically making the right decisions whether it be passing or shooting the ball.
In addition, Heslip’s presence on the floor will keep the defense thinking as he brings attention to himself by being such a potent threat from deep.
Heslip torched Jamaica for a game-high 18 points, turning up in the fourth quarter when it mattered most, to seal the deal for Canada.
In game two, Heslip received limited minutes, due to Coach Triano experimenting with different player combinations. Yet, he instantly helped ignite a Canada run in the second half, after being down by as many as 17, to take the 77-72 victory over Jamaica.
“The second game I wasn’t suppose to play, and I don’t think Andy [Rautins] was suppose to either, but coach told us be ready,” Heslip explained.
“Once I found Andy in the corner in transition for that first three, I knew we were going to come back; the mood in the gym was different, I just knew.”
Heslip recorded a remarkable statline in game two that many have disregarded, registering a game-high four assists in only twelve minutes of play.
Lets be honest.
Defensively, we know he has considerable deficiencies…and he knows it too.
“Compare my first year to now, defense has been a world of difference. I’m taking that seriously and working to get better,” he admitted.
“I’m obviously not as gifted as some other athletes laterally but if I can use the right angles and be in the right spot then I can be a defender out there and I won’t be a liability.”
Despite his weakness, Heslip has been valuable enough to garner minutes from both Team Canada thus far, and with Baylor for the past two seasons, averaging 9.4 points in 26.7 minutes per game for the Bears. These numbers become more respectable when you take into account his worth, in a high major conference that is the BIG 12.
Entering the 2013-2014 NCAA season, Heslip’s role will increase, and he believes that the past few months have already prepared him.
“I just think that I’ve gotten a lot better this summer, I’ve gotten more confident handling the ball. Proving that I can get it done is going to translate over to next season.”
Baylor lost two key pieces in guards Pierre Jackson and AJ Walton. As a result, the Bears will need contributions from elsewhere.
“I’m expecting a lot out of myself also, I have to be a leader of the team, I’m ready to fill those shoes and have a good last year.”
At the FISU World University Games, Heslip lead team Canada in scoring, averaging 15 PPG, including four of eight games with 20+ point production.
To put things into persepctive, the FISU Canada roster featured big time talent including Kyle Wiltjer (Kentucky/ Gonzaga), Melvin Ejim (Iowa State), Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga), Jordan Bachynski (Arizona State) and Philip Scrubb (Carleton), who is the only other FISU member that is currently at the Team Canada try out.
With all this being said–those thinking Heslip is in the Team Canada discussion because he’s Coach Triano’s nephew–can throw that junk in the garbage.
You get what you put in, and Heslip has earned everything.
“People are going to say whatever they want, it’s nothing new to me. I’ve been dealing with people hating against me my whole life. Nobody thought I was going to get a D1 scholarship, I went to Baylor and went to the Elite 8. Nobody thought I was going to even make the student team, I went to Russia and lead the [FISU] team in scoring there,” Heslip told NPH.
I’ve had the pleasure of tracking Heslip’s development and progress since the days of Nelson High as an overweight guard with a smooth stroke and a silent swagger.
The difference now is you can argue he has more swagger than ever, but the same efficency from long range.
Calling Brady Heslip ‘Team Canada’s X-factor’ is backed by his production, and for those that watched the Canada two-game sweep against Jamaica should know that the three-point sniper is a little more than just that.
If you don’t like X-Factor, you can call him a high level player–one that is more than qualified to represent Canada across his chest in Caracus, Venezuela at the FIBA Americas.