Three Canadians selected to NBA Basketball Without Borders, AJ Lawson, Tyrese Samuel, Joel Brown


Three Canadians have been selected to participate in the 2018 NBA | FIBA Basketball Without Borders in Los Angeles, California before NBA All-Star festivities begin. AJ Lawson, Tyrese Samuel and Joel Brown have all been invited back, after being previously selected in the group of Canadians that was at BWB Americas in the Bahamas in July.

In the Bahamas, AJ Lawson was able to capture a three point shoot out title while showing that he is the next best prospect after RJ Barrett, coming out of Canada.

The NBA and FIBA have been putting on this event since 2011 in their efforts to develop the game globally and identify talent in the earlier stages. Since inception, 47 BWB participants have been drafted to the NBA, along with four others who were signed as free agents.

Outside of the United States, there is no other country producing more NBA talent than Canada. The North has been coming strong for years and is not anywhere near it’s peak.

The NBA realizes that as well, having hosted NBA All-Star weekend in Toronto in 2016 and also hosting the NBA G League Showcase in Mississauga over the last two years.

With the game growing internationally, Canada as a whole and the National team are in position to make a quick climb among the world’s best.

AJ Lawson

Let’s get one thing straight from jump street. AJ Lawson is a combo guard and this needs clarification as he’s been listed as a forward in several reports out in the media. Having watched him play over 100 games, there is assurance of his position long term. Moreover, his development this year at GTA Prep and the minutes he’s played in NPA games have been a guard, his natural position.

With the experience garnered in high level environments Lawson’s confidence is at an all time high.

He commented on being selected in BWB event by saying, ” I’m humbled and appreciative for the opportunity to play at Basketball Without Borders among other elite players.”

Since his early high school days at St. Marguerite d’Youville he’s had an innate ability to handle the ball and create offense for himself and those around him. The knack for scoring comes to him innately. In this regard, he is of the elite category.

“I want NBA scouts to know that I’m a valuable assett to any team I play on, and I work hard at all times and love the game.”

Here’s some video that displays the full package along with the defensive prowess that has been developed. As he continues to maximize potential in this area, we are looking at a lethal two way player.

Lawson has held the number one spot in the Canadian 2019 class from the day that RJ Barrett decided he would be moving on in 2018.

Recently, while NBA personnel were in town scouting at the G League showcase in Mississauga, he played in a game where he finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals against older competition in exhibition. 

Tyrese Samuel

Next up after the province of Ontario, it’s no secret, Montreal, Quebec is Canada’s top producer of talent based off the genetic pool, population and basketball environment that the Metropolis creates.

Tyrese Samuel is unlike anyone we’ve laid eyes on from Quebec.

At 6’8, Samuel has a dynamic skill set that allows him to play anywhere on the floor defensively and offensively. He’s been very coordinated from a young age and can operate on the move with the ball in his hands.

It’s a rarity to come across such a talented play maker and scorer with this kind of size.

“I’m honoured to be selected out of the few Canadians that were at the previous one to know go to the global event. I’m just trying to keep my head on straight and keep working and putting Montreal and Canada on the map,” Samuel humbly explained.

Tyrese Samuel has spent this season in Utah at Wasatch Academy and is another one of those physically gifted point forwards who can see well over the defense and score at will.

He made his mark in the U. S this past summer while in uniform with UPlay Canada and then again at the end of the summer with Red Rush at the CNIT (Canadian National Invitational Circuit) hitting a game winner.

Joel Brown

Since first spotting Joel Brown at St. Edmund Campion in Brampton, Ontario he had something that no one else did as he competed against seniors as a ninth grader; a college ready handle on the ball.

Weaving through traffic, blowing by defenders and breaking them down with various moves; at first sight, one could tell there was something special about this point guard. All this while operating at high speeds in transition. He continues to do this on one of Americas most distinguished prep schools at Brewster Academy.

The evolution in his game is attributed to a developed jumper and outside shooting that he has spent tons of time on this season.

With a more well rounded game he has kept the attention of IVY League schools, SMU as well as other interested programs; not to mention the attention of the BWB selection staff.

“It’s a great honour to be apart of a prestigious event like this. I have an opportunity to represent not only myself and my family, but also the country of Canada,” Brown eloquently professed today, when asked what it meant to him to be selected.

Brown has always been mature as an individual away from the court, he’s always had a sense of self-accountability.

“When I get there, I’m just trying to make my presence felt both defensively and offensively. Growth as a leader is important to me while I’m building new relationships with the players, coaches and staff. The ultimate goal is to be dominant and make those who were there remember me.”

The Canadians in this event, like those before them will undoubtedly leave positive notes in the accounts of NBA scouts in L. A during Basketball Without Borders.

Canada is coming hard and looking to secure itself as a world power in basketball, anything less is a bust.

Lawson, Samuel and Brown represent the continuous wave of talent that’s coming from the North.

Elias Sbiet

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