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Holly MacKenzie

NBA dreams come true as quartet of Canadians go back-to-back twice during the 2022 Draft



Jun 24, 2022

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK (June 24, 2022) - Once again, Canadian history was made at the 2022 NBA Draft. Bennedict Mathurin, Shaedon Sharpe, Andrew Nembhard and Caleb Houstan heard their names called at Barclays Center on Thursday night as life-long NBA dreams came true.

This was the third time that four Canadians have been selected in the same draft and this time we saw Canadians drafted back-to-back twice as Mathurin and Sharpe were selected 6th and 7th and Nembhard and Houstan were selected 31st and 32nd, respectively.

Mathurin made history when he was selected 6th by the Indiana Pacers, becoming the highest-drafted player from Quebec in NBA history. He also becomes the highest-drafted Canadian since RJ Barrett was selected 3rd overall in the 2019 Draft.

“I bring my heart to the Pacers,” Mathurin said. “I'm really fortunate for them to draft me. My goal is to have an impact already on both ends of the floor and bring W's to the team.”

Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton also hit Mathurin up immediately after the selection was made, welcoming his newest teammate into the fold.

After a fantastic season with the University of Arizona, Mathurin was named Pac-12 Player of the Year. Though the night was a whirlwind for all of the draftees, Mathurin was already thinking about getting to face fellow Montreal native Luguentz Dort.

“One guy I'm really excited to play against is Luguentz Dort,” Mathurin said. “We're from the same neighbourhood. I used to see him, call him my big bro. Now we're at the next level, so it's about time for me to show him who's really the big bro. Looking forward to playing against him.”

Dort was in attendance at the draft in support of Mathurin, filling his Instagram account with stories capturing the big moment.

Shaedon Sharpe came into the draft process as one of the most intriguing prospects on the board. He leaves Brooklyn as a Portland Trail Blazer. After graduating from high school early, Sharpe spent this past season redshirting at the University of Kentucky. Though he didn’t play in any games, he practiced and worked out with his teammates in preparation for this year’s draft.

When Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups phoned Sharpe with the news, the 7th pick in the draft was ready to hop on a flight immediately to meet his new coaching staff at the gym.

The Blazers selected Sharpe 7th, marking the second time that two Canadian players have been selected in the top 10 of the same draft. Prior to falling in love with basketball, Sharpe, like Mathurin, played football and hockey while growing up in London, Ontario. He couldn’t be happier about helping to make Canadian hoops history.

“I feel like basketball is taking over in Canada just because we've had many draft picks come out of Canada,” Sharpe said.”

Nembhard will be joining Mathurin in Indiana after the Pacers selected the senior point guard out of Gonzaga with the 31st pick. The two will join fellow Canadian Oshae Brissett on the Pacers roster as Indiana immediately becomes a must-watch team for Canadian hoops fans.

Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle was quick to welcome Nembhard to Indiana, calling him as the team made their pick official.

Immediately after Nembhard was selected, Canadians got to hear another familiar name when Houstan was selected by the Orlando Magic with the 32nd pick. The Mississauga, Ontario native comes to Orlando from the University of  Michigan, becoming the 12th Canadian drafted since 2019, and marking the third time that four Canadians have been selected in the same draft.

Though draft night is over for another year, in the days and weeks to come, keep an eye out for more Canadians to sign on with NBA teams to participate in summer league and get their shot to prove their NBA worth.