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NBA Draft 2019

NBA Draft 2019: It's not all about Toronto — Montreal's Luguentz Dort is ready to make an NBA impact for his city

#Lu Dort

On Monday, the Toronto Raptors celebrated their first-ever NBA championship. The basketball world was watching as millions of Canadians packed the streets of Toronto to get a glimpse of the Champs.

Miles away in Cleveland, Ohio, Montreal's Luguentz Dort took in as many sights via social media as he could. Hoping that one day he could experience the same type of celebration.

"It was just crazy how everyone in Canada, not even Toronto like the whole country was watching and was cheering for the team," Dort told NBA.com. "That was crazy - it was beautiful to see, everybody from all the places in the country cheering for Toronto.

"I bet there was a lot of people from not only Toronto but like Montreal or other cities and came to Toronto to see the parade.

"My ultimate goal is to win a championship and if there's any team that it could be with - if it's in Toronto that would be even better because I'm from Canada but anywhere would be nice to be able to be in that position."

Dort is aware he has a long way to go before he gets there. Step one is getting to the league - a dream which is expected to come true on Thursday night in Brooklyn, New York.

The 20-year-old is one of what could be a record number of Canadians selected in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Dort's draft stock was boosted by a strong start to his freshman season at Arizona State.

At 6'4', 215 pounds Dort's body looks ready for the 82-plus games marathon that is the NBA regular season. He scored in double-figures in his first 11 games of his collegiate career. He finished the year averaging 16.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals in 34 games.

Those numbers were enough to earn him Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, a spot on the All-Pac 12 Second Team, Pac-12 Defensive Team and Pac-12 All-Freshman Team.

The U.S. found out how good Dort could be, but in Canada, he was already well known. Dort was a star on the AAU seen playing for Brookwood Elite and is the only player to be named BioSteel All-Canadian Game MVP twice (2017,2018).

The fact that he's on the cusp of making the league isn't a surprise to a lot of Canadian basketball people, but Dort is still just living the dream.

Born to Haitian parents, Dort grew up playing soccer until he was 11. His best friend got him playing basketball and he didn't watch the game much on TV until he was about 13. After looking up to explosive guards like Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, Dort now finds himself months away from stepping on the same court as them.

He credits his mentor Nelson Ossé with helping him stay off the streets and focussed on the game to get to this point.

"It just means a lot," Dort said of being in a position to be drafted. "There's my mentor Nelson Ossé he taught me a lot growing up and he taught me about a lot of stuff outside of basketball. He probably would be the first person I'll think about and then my family.

"When I first started basketball I never thought that one day I'll able to be in this position right now working out for the draft and be able to go to New York and get my name called."

The basketball spotlight in Canada is almost always on Toronto. No city in the country produces more talent than the home of the only NBA franchise in the North. However, Montreal has a rich basketball history of their own. Stewart Granger, Ron Crevier, Bill Wennington all heard their names called in the draft back in the day. Kris Joseph and Olivier Hanlan in more recent years. Joel Anthony and Chris Boucher were both a part of NBA Championship teams. Khem Birch is coming off his best season in the NBA and proving to be one of the league's most underrated rim protectors.

Dort is ready to add his name to that list of Montrealers in the NBA and more importantly to him, be someone that hoopers from his city can look up to.

"It's great to be the one they look up to, there's not a lot of guys that make it to this position right now and the fact that I'm here I'm just grateful.

"I feel like right now there's way more kids in Montreal getting better. In (a few) years we're going to see a lot of kids from Montreal going to the states or playing Division-I or hopefully make it to the NBA too.

"I feel like watching all the AAU people from Montreal I see a lot of talent."

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

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