In 10 of the last 11 NBA Drafts, there has been at least one Canadian selected.
After no Canadians were selected in 2020, there are a few prospects that stand to get a new streak started in the upcoming NBA Draft, which is set for Thursday, July 29. Among them is Alabama guard Joshua Primo (Toronto, Ontario), whose stock is quickly rising after standout performances at the NBA Draft Combine.
Both Primo and South Carolina's AJ Lawson (Brampton, Ontario) have wowed scouts during the pre-draft process, which will bode well for each of them moving forward.
AJ LAWSON BLOG: The journey to the NBA Draft Process
While we've gotten to know Lawson through his first journal entry for NBA.com, Primo is still emerging to the scene, meaning there is plenty to learn about his path to the league.
Who is Josh Primo? Below, learn more about the 18-year-old NBA hopeful, including his background, player profile and what scouts are saying about him during the draft process.
Joshua Primo was born on Dec. 24, 2002, in Toronto, Ontario.
At 16, Primo was the youngest player on the Canadian National Team at the FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup. He averaged 4.2 points over seven games with a Canada team that also featured Lawson and Orlando Magic two-way guard Karim Mané.
Primo played a year of prep basketball at Huntington Prep School in Huntington, West Virginia before returning to Canada to wrap his prep career at Royal Crown Academic School in Scarborough, Ontario.
A five-star recruit, Primo reclassified to graduate early in the Class of 2020, where he was the 21st-ranked prospect and the fifth-ranked combo guard on 247Sports.com. He chose the University of Alabama over Creighton University and enrolled at 17 years old, making him one of the youngest players in the NCAA during the 2020-21 season.
Primo, a 6-foot-5 guard, started in 19 of a possible 30 games this past season for an Alabama team that won the SEC Tournament and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament. With averages of 8.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, Primo was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team alongside several other prospects in the 2021 NBA Draft.
During his freshman campaign, Primo scored in double figures on 12 occasions, including a career-high 22 points on Jan. 9 against Auburn and again on Jan. 19 against LSU. A 38.1 percent 3-point shooter, Primo knocked down three or more triples in eight different games.
On April 21, Primo took to his social media to share his intentions to test the NBA Draft waters.
Truly blessed to be in this position🙏🏾 #GodIsGreat pic.twitter.com/3JjYtvrPKb- Joshua Primo (@JoshuaPrimo4) April 21, 2021
On June 15, the NBA announced that Primo would be one of 69 players expected to attend the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, IL, where he would have a chance to improve upon his draft stock.
What analysts are saying
While Primo has not signed an agent and has the option to return to Tuscaloosa for his sophomore season at Alabama, he's making quite the impression in Chicago and could announce intentions to keep his name in the NBA Draft.
Alabama's Josh Primo had arguably the best day of anyone at the NBA Combine yesterday, especially considering he's just 18-years old. Made shots as always but also showed more upside as a creator than we had previously seen, with some really nice passes. pic.twitter.com/B7NxevGGoz- Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 24, 2021
Josh Primo looks very comfortable on the ball, given age, level of competition and stakes. No way teams let him go back to school. Doesn't turn 19 til Christmas.- Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) June 24, 2021
Josh Primo from Alabama has been very impressive today at the NBA Draft Combine. He is a smooth guard with positional size and loads of upside. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get first-round consideration. pic.twitter.com/DtTbdfCfhW- Matt Babcock (@MattBabcock11) June 24, 2021
Thought Jericho Sims did a great job out in space on defense, and was impactful inside.- Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) June 24, 2021
Makur Maker was more ready to play than I thought. Better on D than I expected.
McKinley Wright dictated tempo and really defended. And for being so young, Josh Primo acquitted himself well
Primo, who is playing on the same team as Lawson during the combine, finished with seven points (on 3-for-8 shooting) and six rebounds in the first five-on-five competition at the Draft Combine.
As for his measurables, Primo measured in at 6-foot-5 with shoes and 189 pounds (6.30 percent body fat) with a wingspan that's just over 6-foot-9. He recorded a 37.5-inch max vertical leap and a sub-11 second lane agility time.
NBA.com's draft expert weighs in
Primo didn't enter the 2021 NBA Draft process with much buzz, simply because he didn't have a great opportunity to showcase his full skill set in his one season at Alabama. The team's success allowed him to flash his potential on the NCAA Tournament stage, but playing behind three established guards in sophomore Jaden Shackelford, redshirt sophomore Jahvon Quinerly and senior John Petty, Primo was fourth on the team's pecking order for both playmaking and scoring.
That alone helps explain how a player that averaged just 8.1 points and fewer than one assist per game is receiving a boost to his draft stock as soon as the NBA Combine got underway. Finally able to display his capabilities as a shot creator and playmaker, the 6-foot-5 guard with a 6-foot-9 wingspan is drawing scouts in with his size and length, but his age - at just 18 years old - is the kicker on the attention he has drawn.
Being one of the youngest players in this draft, teams late in the first round that can afford to be patient with a player's development should be more than willing to take a chance on a youthful big guard that they could mould to fit their future needs.
Primo has a fluid handle, uses his size to his advantage to get into the paint and finish around the rim and displayed some range on his jumper, knocking down 38.1 percent of his 113 3-point attempts as a freshman.
If he gets a guarantee to be a first-round pick, it would be ill-advised for him to return to college for his sophomore season. However, if scouts feel his ceiling is a second-rounder, it may not hurt to go back to Alabama where he can further promote his tools to potentially become a first-round pick in 2022, where he will still only be 19 years old during that draft process.
- Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_)
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