By Luca Rosano

A few years ago, if someone said that as many as eight Canadian players would potentially be taken in the 2014 NBA draft, it would be hard to take them seriously.

Well, now that fantasy can become a reality.

A few short years ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted Brampton Ontario’s Tristan Thompson with the fourth pick of the 2011 NBA Draft. Thus, at the time making him the highest drafted Canadian since Steve Nash (No.15). Thereafter the Cavs, who seem to love Canadian potential more than any other team, gave Canada another shining moment when they selected Toronto’s own Anthony Bennett with the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft making Bennett the first ever Canadian to be drafted first overall.

A year later and the 2014 NBA Draft promises to be a groundbreaking moment for Canadian basketball, which could officially mark the golden era for Canada’s rise in the NBA.

Andrew Wiggins

This is the name that has been hyped about for quite some time leading up to this year’s draft. Wiggins is a freak athlete from Toronto, Ontario who has dazzled everyone with his athletic ability and whom many are calling “Maple Jordan.” Andrew Wiggins is likely to be the No.1 pick come Thursday night’s draft. Although the early LeBron James comparisons are a bit ludicrous, Wiggins has plenty of potential that can turn him into a superstar for years to come.

Nik Stauskas

Another name expected to be taken high is Michigan Wolverine’s Nik Stauskas. Stauskas, who is already being called the best pure shooter in this draft, expanded his game at the college level. This six-foot-six Mississauga, Ontario native showed his ability to put the ball on the floor, create his own shot and move effectively without the ball.  Many comparisons are being drawn between he and J.J Redick, for his ability to stop and pop from anywhere on the court.

Tyler Ennis

Tyler Ennis is another Canadian born player who could go as high as being drafted in the lottery round or as low as being drafted at No.20 by Canada’s very own, the Toronto Raptors. Ennis is a nifty point guard from Syracuse who comes into the NBA game with a lot of potential. The Brampton, Ontario prospect was considered one of the top freshmen during the 2013-14 NCAA campaign. Ennis believes that either Orlando (No.12) or Toronto (No. 20) will select him and what a feel good story it would be if Ennis falls to Toronto. Ennis would be the first ever Canadian to be drafted by the Toronto Raptors.

Along with the three main Canadian players expected to go high in the first-round, many other Canadian players could be drafted once the second-round hits. With names like Khem Birch, Melvin Ejim, Dwight Powell, Jordan Bachynski and Sim Bhullar on the board, it can be a Canadian filled night in Brooklyn.

National Basketball League of Canada’s (NBL-C) very own Alex Johnson of the Mississauga Power is very excited about the crop of players coming to the NBA.

“I am so excited. This is what you like to see,” he said. “When I was growing up, Canada did not get a lot of respect for having good ballers. It was only a matter of time that we would start making some real noise. Andrew Wiggins, Tyler Ennis and Nik Stauskas are only a few scraping the surface.”

For so long Canada basketball has waited for the day where its talent would finally be recognized and acknowledged on a global stage.

The 2012 NBL-C champion and guard for the London Lightning, Dane Smith, knew this day was coming where Canadian talent would take over.

“Well to me I always knew that as the years would go on, there would be more Canadians in the league,” said Smith. “Every year we put out over 50 kids in school and preps, also about 20-50 kids in the university/college level as well.

People from all over Canada, will get together and watch the 2014 NBA Draft knowing that they will witness history. They will sit there and marvel over the top Canadian prospects their country has produced over the years and they will smile knowing that this is only the beginning. Basketball north of the border has officially arrived.

Smith would go on to say that if Canadian players work hard, great results are inevitable.

“The rise of northern basketball is doing really well now, but like I said if kids anywhere put in the work and don’t cheat themselves, anything can happen.”