The 2020 NBA Draft saw a 10-year run of at least one Canadian being drafted come to an end, although both Nate Darling (Halifax, NS) and Karim Mané (Montreal, QC) were picked up immediately after the conclusion of the draft.
In the 2021 NBA Draft, which set for Thursday, July 29, 2021, there are seven Canadians in the player pool that will look to start a new streak of players selected into the NBA.
It's worth noting: There were nine Canadian prospects in the draft pool, but Minnesota star guard Marcus Carr (Toronto, ON) elected to return to college for one last season, entering the transfer portal to try and boost his stock before returning to the draft next year. Utah Valley's Fardaws Aimaq (Richmond, BC) also elected to return to college, looking to follow up a stellar redshirt sophomore season where he led the entire country in total rebounds, defensive rebounds and rebounds per game.
With that being said, who are the eight Canadians hoping to be selected on draft night?
Canadians in the 2021 NBA Draft pool
Dalano Banton, Nebraska
From: Toronto, ON
Age: 21, Sophomore
Weight: 204 lbs.
Banton joined Canadian history in the NCAA this past season, becoming just the fourth native to record a triple-double in a game. Going for 13 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in an exhibition win over Doane University, Banton joined Syracuse's Leo Rautins (1983), UIC's Godwin Boahen (2016) and Duke's RJ Barrett (2019) to achieve the feat.
Banton averaged 9.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 41.1 percent from the field and 24.7 percent from 3.
Banton will enter the 2021 NBA Draft but maintain his remaining college eligibility.
Jahvon Blair, Georgetown
From: Brampton, ON
Age: 23, Senior
Weight: 190 lbs.
Blair was a mainstay for the Hoyas, playing all four years under head coach Patrick Ewing in the Big East.
He showed impressive and steady improvement year-over-year, increasing his points and assists per game averages, as well as his field goal and 3-point percentage each year he spent at Georgetown. Averaging 15.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists as a senior, shooting 39.3 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from 3, Blair was a major part in the Hoyas' first Big East Tournament championship since 2007 and NCAA Tournament appearance since 2015.
His efforts in the Big East Tournament earned him a spot on the All-Tournament Team.
Blair has elected to forgo his extra year of eligibility (rewarded to all NCAA athletes that participated in the cancelled 2020 NCAA season due to the coronavirus pandemic) and will sign with an agent to remain in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Chris Duarte, Oregon
From: Montreal, QC - Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Age: 24, Senior
Weight: 190 lbs.
Montreal-born but Dominican Republic-raised, Duarte still qualifies as a Canadian in the upcoming 2021 NBA Draft.
The 24-year-old senior is expected to be a first-round pick and his draft stock is on the rise due to his ability to knock down 3-point shots and defend on the perimeter at a high level.
MORE: Duarte's game mirrors fellow Canadian Dillon Brooks
Duarte is one of the oldest prospects in the 2021 NBA Draft pool, but that's because he spent two years at JUCO Northwest Florida, where he earned National Player of the Year honours in his second and final season.
Once he transferred to Oregon, the 24-year-old began to establish himself as a premier NBA prospect, averaging 17.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 steals per game while shooting a prolific 53.2 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from 3-point range.
Duarte took home the 2021 Jerry West Award, honouring the nation's best shooting guard, while also earning All-Pac-12 First Team and Pac-12 All-Defensive First Team honours.
AJ Lawson, South Carolina
From: Brampton, ON
Age: 20, Junior
Weight: 177 lbs.
This will be Lawson's third time declaring for the NBA Draft, but this situation is different than the previous two. The junior guard has elected to sign with an agent and forgo his remaining college eligibility, committed to the next step in his career.
MORE: AJ Lawson's Diary: Fighting for his next chapter
The athletic and wiry 20-year-old displayed an impressive ability to score the rock in his junior season, averaging 16.6 points per game, good for fifth-most in the SEC. He scored over 13 points per game in all three of his collegiate seasons while also adding 4.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game over the course of his career. He tallied 1,153 points in three years and looks to bring his explosiveness and knack for scoring to an NBA team at the next level.
Eugene Omoruyi, Oregon
From: Rexdale, ON
Age: 24, Redshirt senior
Weight: 235 lbs.
Omoruyi spent a total of five years in the college ranks, beginning his NCAA career at Rutgers before transferring to Oregon after three seasons.
MORE: Underdog Omoruyi aims to make a name for himself
This past season as a redshirt senior was by far his most impressive, averaging 17.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 37.6 percent from 3.
His quickness and physicality gives him a body and playstyle ready for the NBA level, as the All-Pac-12 First Team member would be a wise pick for any franchise looking to add an experienced prospect to their roster.
Omoruyi left a great final impression on NBA scouts, going for a commanding 28 points and 10 rebounds in Oregon's loss to top prospect Evan Mobley and USC in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Joshua Primo, Alabama
From: Mississauga, ON
Age: 18, Freshman
Weight: 190 lbs.
Primo was the youngest player in all of college basketball in his freshman season at Alabama, making one of the youngest players in the 2021 NBA Draft class.
MORE: Assessing Primo as an NBA prospect
The 18-year-old earned SEC All-Freshman First Team honours after averaging 8.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 38.1 percent from 3-point land. He notched double figures scoring 12 times during his freshman season, including a pair of 22-point games against both Auburn and LSU, as well as a 10-point game in the NCAA Tournament in a win over Maryland.
After a stellar showing at the NBA Combine, Primo elected to keep his name in the draft and sign with an agent. He is now being projected as a first-round pick.
Shamiel Stevenson, Nebraska
From: Toronto, ON
Age: 23, Junior
Weight: 245 lbs.
Stevenson spent his first two seasons at Pittsburgh before transferring to Nebraska, where the 23-year-old was forced to sit out one season due to the NCAA's transfer policy. This past season, the athletic guard averaged 5.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 43.7 percent from the field.
His size and strength for his position is what sets him apart as a guard prospect, as Stevenson has elected to forgo his remaining college eligibility and sign with an agent for the 2021 NBA Draft.
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