TORONTO â€” Five Canadians to Watch in March Madness:
Dillon Brooks, Oregon Ducks
The junior guard from Mississauga, Ont., earned Pac 12 player of the year honours after leading Oregon to the top spot in the conference. He returned from a foot injured to help the Ducks rebound from a 2-2 start. They went 25-2 after Brooks’ season debut versus Georgetown, including an undefeated record at home that extended their NCAA-best active home win streak to 42 games. He shone in big games, hitting game-winning three-pointers against UCLA and California.
Justin Jackson, Maryland Terrapins
The freshman forward from Toronto He earned a start in just his second game of his college career, against Georgetown, scoring 17 points in 26 minutes. He hasn’t looked back. He leads the team in rebounding (6.2 a game) and three-point shooting (44 per cent), and averages 10.4 points a night. A season highlight was back-to-back double-doubles in January against Minnesota (28 points, 10 rebounds) and Ohio State (22 and 12).
Nazareth Mitrou-Long, Iowa State Cyclones
The senior guard from Mississauga, Ont.,has averaged 15.5 points and 4.7 rebounds a game to lead the Cyclones to a 23-10 season. After capturing their third Big 12 tournament title in four years, Mitrou-Long clutched a T-shirt bearing Bryce Dejean-Jones’ name when he cut down the net. The former Cyclone was shot and killed in May.
Elijah Long, Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers
The sophomore guard â€” and younger brother of Nazareth Mitrou-Long â€” earned Northeast Conference player of the year honours, and led the Mountaineers (20-15) to the conference title. He poured in 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Tuesday night’s First Four victory against New Orleans. It was just the second NCAA tournament win in Mountaineers history.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Florida State Seminoles
The junior shooting guard from Toronto is averaging 10.4 points, three rebounds, and 4.8 assists this season. Rathan-Mayes made headlines in the Seminoles’ 88-72 win over Duke. A victim of a Grayson Allen trip last season, Rathan-Mayes appeared to exact some revenge as Allen tumbled to the floor. Afterward, Rathan-Mayes said: “This one was personal for me. Ever since he did that, I’ve been waiting a long time to see him again.
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press