By AVERY YANG
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Saturday, June 22, 2019
NEW YORK -- Canada's basketball celebration keeps on going.
Six Canadians were drafted Thursday night, setting the record for a country other than the United States.
One week after the Toronto Raptors won the country's first NBA championship, Canadians RJ Barrett, Nickeil AlexanderWalker, Brandon Clarke, Mfiondu Kabengele, Ignas Brazdeikis and Marial Shayok were drafted.
"It's amazing to be Canadian," said Barrett, who went third overall to the New York Knicks. "We take a lot of pride. That's why I've got my Canadian flags on this side of my jacket. To put it on for our country, that means a lot."
France had five players selected in 2016.
"To see players come out of [Canada] and be very good is something that's awesome," said Clarke, who went 21st to the Oklahoma City Thunder. "I'm somebody who grew up watching [Steve] Nash play and I always thought it was really cool he was from Canada."
The players selected - four in the first round - join the 13 active Canadian players in the NBA.
Among them are former No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins, NBA champion Tristan Thompson, Jamal Murray, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Tyler Ennis.
"I know guys like Andrew Wiggins and Tyler Ennis gave me hope," said Alexander-Walker, the 17th pick by the New Orleans Pelicans. "Now as RJ got selected. I got selected. Hopefully more Canadians who get selected can kind of give those kids and other generations hope."
The previous record for the most Canadians chosen in a single draft was in 2014, when four were picked. Only nine were selected in total from 1983-2009.
"It feels great," Barrett said.
"Canadian basketball is really on the rise."