Courtesy: FIBA Basketball

For the third consecutive season, I’ve gone along and tracked all of the Division-I men’s college basketball players that were born in Canada and are currently listed on a school’s roster (as of September 4th, 2021). You can find the 2020 and 2019 iterations here.

Unfortunately — and probably largely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic preventing international scouting to take its full form, the number of athletes repping Canada has diminished in number for the first time since I’ve started this exercise, albeit barely. From my count, the database has shrunk from 155 last year, to 153 this season.


Ro Russell is struggling to get on the court. As a teenager playing with grown men, nobody wants him on their team. He stands on the sidelines, practicing his jump shot just in case a moment arises. Suddenly, an injury. Russell is thrust into action.

He doesn’t disappoint. Playing point guard, Russell uses his playmaking skills to run the show. He leads his team to victory, impressing all the players at the packed downtown Toronto gym that day. They mutually agree to take him under their wing, on one condition.

He pays it forward.

Back in the 1980’s, basketball in…

How the Toronto Raptors came to define basketball in Canada

The Toronto Raptors start the first game of their inaugural season against the New Jersey Nets in regular season NBA action in Toronto on Friday, Nov. 3, 1995. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Moe Doiron

John Lashway is standing on a packed train platform on a May evening in downtown Toronto. Even for a city as busy and ever-moving as Toronto, there is a certain buzz in the air that is atypical. This is because the grand majority of the people gathered have all come to the station for the same reason. They are hoping to witness one of the greatest moments in Toronto sports history.

And even though it may have once seemed impossible, they’re all wearing Toronto Raptors jerseys.

For Lashway, this moment is even more special. It was 25 years ago that…

Olu Famutimi and Kimbal Mackenzie playing for the Guelph Nighthawks in the 2020 CEBL Summer Series. (Credit: Ward 1 Studios)

Olu Famutimi’s basketball career began before the world of Canadian hoops took shape. Before basketball was widely covered around the country. Before Canada’s national teams made headways at almost every international event. Before the game of basketball took over The North.

Things were very different for players like Famutimi back then. They typically had to transfer away from Canada as early as high school, as that was the only way to achieve the goal of becoming a professional basketball player. …

Jordan Loyd has been working years for this moment. His team, the Toronto Raptors, are one basket away from the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s the type of situation that everyone dreams of as a kid. When you’re playing on your driveway, counting down the ticks of your non-existent clock, fate in your hands. The time was exactly 4.2 seconds on a May evening at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

The Raptors inbound the ball at the top of the break and dribble it into the corner. The shot is released high over the defender’s outstretched arm. As the ball rotates in…

When the Toronto Raptors won the 2019 NBA Championship, it was a monumental moment for Canadian sports. More specifically, the support that their run received — highlighted by over two million people at the Championship Parade — solidified what many already knew. Basketball is as important to Canadians as any other sport.

Along with fan support from coast to coast, the number of high level basketball players coming out of Canada is continuing to climb. According to Busting Brackets, there will be 144 Division 1 NCAA College Basketball players from Canada this upcoming season. …

From a small town of 500 people in Eastern Ontario, to the big and bright lights of ESPN, Adnan Virk went to a place where few Canadians had ever reached. Touted as one of the network’s rising stars and earning lucrative contracts, Virk was living his dream.

Until he wasn’t.

Fired from ESPN, due to alleged insider leaked information, Virk was out of a job. After signing a 7-figure contract just months earlier, he was gone.

Virk could have taken the news and gone many different ways. He could have fought back, he could have apologized. Instead, he turned off.

As a radio personality on Sportnet’s The Fan 590, Mike Wilner’s voice is a fixture in cars and radios across the country during every Toronto Blue Jays game. However, his path to the booth was rather long and unplanned.

Growing up, Wilner was always a baseball fan, even hiding a radio underneath his pillow at night to catch the end of Blue Jays games. His love of baseball was apparent, but the path to his career was anything but direct.

Entering the University of Toronto, Wilner was studying commerce, expecting to be a lawyer, or an accountant like his dad…

Matthew Winick

Ryerson University Sport Media

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