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NBA Draft 2019

NBA Draft 2019: Ottawa's Marial Shayok is rising up draft big boards at the perfect time

#Marial

There isn't a Canadian who's rising up draft big boards more than Marial Shayok.

He impressed NBA scouts at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in April and after doing so again at the NBA G-League Elite Camp, he was invited to stay in Chicago for the NBA Combine which took place just days later.

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There's been a lot of work and travel over the last few months for Shayok, and there promises to be even more over the next month as he's on the cusp of achieving his goal of making the NBA. Throughout the gruelling and laborious draft process, the 23-year-old remains humble and hungry.

"I'm feeling pretty good," Shayok told NBA.com after completing his third team workout. "I'm just trying to take it a day at a time, there's a lot of travelling.

"Obviously coming from the combine it's been a lot, but I'm really just trying to live in the moment and take it a day at a time."

Shayok hasn't been shy when it comes to travel. The journey to this point in his basketball life has seen a lot of changes. He left his home city of Ottawa to finish high school at Blair Academy in New Jersey. He then signed with Marquette University but never played for the Golden Eagles instead finding a home at the University of Virginia for three seasons.

When playing time and playing style was no longer what Shayok needed at Virginia he sought out a team that would more suit his style and allow him to showcase his entire repertoire. In Virginia's more rigid offence Shayok couldn't showcase his skill, the skills that he would need to showcase if he planned on making it at the next level. He found a home at Iowa State where he was able to thrive in Steve Prohm's offence, one much closer to those found in the NBA.

When you compare his last at Virginia with his lone season at Iowa State the disparity in numbers are startling. At Virginia, Shayok averaged 17.3 points, 4.7 rebounds per 40 minutes. This season at Iowa State he averaged 22.8 points, 6.0 rebounds per 40 minutes. That spike in production came even as his usage rate remained relatively the same - 27.6% at Virginia, 28.2% at Iowa State.

His Player Efficiency Rating jumped from 17.9 to 22.5 as did his effective field goal percentage which climbed from 48% up to 57%. Cleary unshackled by a looser system, Iowa State empowered Shayok in ways he was not while at Virginia.

Shayok doesn't look back on his time at Virginia negatively as he believes that system turned him into the player he needed to be at the time of going there. But no one can deny that playing his final season at Iowa State wasn't an eye-opener to get on the NBA's radar.

MORE: Updated NBA Mock Draft

"I think I've always had it," Shayok said of his offensive ability. "I think it was a chance with a different system to where my game just fit a little bit better with Iowa State and I was able to really show what I could on the offensive end and just really showcase my abilities."

Shayok's best chance of making the NBA and sticking in the NBA is to become an elite 3-and-D guy. With the multitude of stars around the league, the Canadian knows that his best path will be to help compliment them.

"A lot of teams like the way I shoot. They like my length and the way I can defend," Shayok said of the feedback he's been receiving from NBA teams.

"Coming out of college you know there's already a lot of stars in the league. I think the best thing I can do is just knock down shots and really compliment those stars, stretch the floor and really lock down on defence."

While Shayok continues to try and separate himself from the many other draft prospects over the next month, he could also separate himself from the growing list of Canadians who have entered the NBA through the draft. Should he hear his name called on June 20th, Shayok would become the first Canadian to enter the league from the nation's capital.

While Ottawa has long been skipped over when mentioning the development of the game in Canada, Shayok is hoping he can carry the torch for his home city and inspire many others from his home town.

"(Basketball) is growing, we're slowing getting more and more players out of (Ottawa)," Shayok told NBA.com. "I'm just hoping to really break the ice as far as the NBA - get drafted this year and hopefully see a lot of young guys coming out of Ottawa get drafted in the near future.

"I know a lot of young basketball players in Ottawa look up to me and every time I go home they really show a lot of love.

"I do my best to really try to keep in touch with them especially when I'm back there. A lot of guys come in and watch me workout or help me workout - it's real love out there in Ottawa so I definitely appreciate them."

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

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