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NBA Draft 2019

NBA Draft 2019: Confident and poised, Canadian Ignas Brazdeikis is ready for the NBA

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Ignas Brazdeikis is ready to prove himself at the next level (Getty Images)

Pride. Confidence.

You don't get to where Ignas Brazdeikis is without either of the aforementioned traits, so it makes sense that both came up when he took the time to chat with NBA.com.

Brazdeikis, among many things, is a proud Canadian.

After being born in Lithuania, his family moved to the United States when he was young before settling in Ontario. Now, the 6-foot-6 sharpshooting wing feels strongly about the historic era of basketball the country is entering, beginning with the Raptors, who were one win away from capturing their first NBA title at the time of the interview.

"It's crazy right now, you know? All my friends and family back home are celebrating and they're so excited. It's a crazy time, the Raptors have never been to the Finals and for that to happen is just incredible and I'm very proud to see that happen."

The 20-year-old's pride extends beyond the home team, as Brazdeikis stands to join a potentially historic draft class in 2019, a moment he attributes to years of hard work: "It feels good, we worked hard. I know a lot of the guys in this draft class - basically everyone - and we all worked very hard to get to the position that we're in."

Brazdeikis continued, adding that Canada's 2019 draft class has dispelled plenty of preconceived notions about Canadian basketball players: "we had to beat a lot of adversity - people calling us 'soft' and that we're not ready for this kind of level but we've obviously proven what we can do."

MORE: History of Canadians in the NBA Draft

He proved what he could do in his lone season at Michigan, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year honours after averaging a team-high 14.8 points to go along with 5.4 rebounds while shooting 39.2% from beyond the arc.

The freshman started in all 37 of the Wolverines games, leading them to a 30-7 record before they were eliminated by eventual runner-up Texas Tech in the Sweet Sixteen.

Brazdeikis knows that in order for his play to translate to the next level, it begins with his approach: "Just bring the same mentality I brought to Michigan to everywhere I go… competing and being the best player on the court no matter what."

He added that "I need to continue to have that confidence and that mentality because that's what brought me to this point. I'm always ready, I'm very confident in myself and my abilities, so I think I'll be very ready for the next level."

Anyone that's seen Brazdeikis play knows he exudes a confidence that gives him a certain swagger about himself when he's on the floor - it's what allowed him to be the player that he was from the onset of his college career.

Whichever team decides to select Brazdeikis Thursday night can count on a getting a prideful player that will confidently take on the challenges that the next level presents.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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