Break Out Canadians in NCAA Tournament
As many of you know, there were 25 active Canadian players to start March Madness.
The Final Four tips off this weekend, with all our guys eliminated…Nik Stauskas and Dyshawn Pierre were the last Canadians to make their exit which came in the Elite 8.
Everyone knows about the headliners—from Wiggins, Ennis and Stauskas to Ejim, Powell and Pangos.
But who were the under-the-radar guys that stepped up in tourney time?
I was able to watch about 90% of Canadians in action, and here is what I came away with…
Break Out Players
Statistics throughout NCAA tournament
Dyshawn Pierre (Whitby, ON / Dayton) – 12.5 PPG, 5 RPG, 2.5 APG
The cat is out of the bag. What the A-10 conference and the Dayton Flyers certainly knew, spilled out on the national stage. Dyshawn Pierre is BIG TIME and has been since high school as far as we’re concerned. The Whitby, Ontario product had his best game of the tournament against #1-seeded Florida, registering a team-high 18 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, displaying the full package. Pierre demonstrated his versatility, scoring from the perimeter, while showing a gorgeous inside game; foot work, instincts, touch and post moves. You are looking at an NBA prospect set for a major junior year, particularly with Dayton’s top producer, senior forward Devin Oliver graduating. Coming out of high school, I always gave him the Andrew Nicholson (St Bonaventure) comparison when talking to division one coaches–NOT from a basketball standpoint, rather his low-key demeanour, high production and the fact that he was under the radar due to entering NCAA out of a Canadian high school. Pierre is the type of player that will continue to grow on people throughout his college career.
Stefan Nastic (Thornhill, ON / Stanford) – 11.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG
I love what I saw from the big Serbian-Canadian. A true centre that displayed his interior skill set and tenacity. Nastic plays hard with his emotions on his sleeve…sometimes maybe too hard, as he struggled with foul trouble all tournament. However, Nastic elevated his production from the regular season, in both the scoring and rebounding departments. The rising senior has a chance to be a force in the PAC-12, especially with fellow Canadian Dwight Powell moving on to the next level.
Jordan Bachynski (Calgary, AB / Arizona St) – 25 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block
It was only one game in the tournament but it needs to be noted. Jordan Bachynski posted a game-high 25 in the loss to Texas and did so with efficiency on 8/14 FG and 9/12 FT. He was two points shy of a career-high. The #1 shot blocker in the nation has an underrated offensive post game, as he averaged 11.5 PPG during the season on only 7.4 shot attempts per game. Against Texas, his attempts doubled, and so did his production. JB is a pro prospect I’ve been very high on, and I expect to make an NBA roster despite being non-existent on draft boards. Extremely effective on both ends of the floor with and without the ball.
Jason Calliste (Scarborough, ON / Oregon) – 17 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2 APG
Calliste is the least talked about Canadian with the highest production, and he came up big for Oregon in their two games throughout the tournament. Statistically, nobody stepped up more than Calliste. A man of a few words, and he likes it that way, based off the research I’ve done on him. He simply gets it done, as one of the most efficient players in NCAA basketball. Calliste shot the ball this year at a ridiculous rate; 53% from the field and 50% from behind the arch. Averaged 12.7 PPG on the season in 26.5 minutes.