Canadians in the 2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament, Part 2
For the first time in two years March Madness is finally back, and in the second part of our Canadian NCAA Men’s Tournament coverage, we will look at the other Canadians making the trip to the big dance in Indianapolis.
Joshua Primo – #2 Alabama
Canadian guard Josh Primo has been an absolute difference maker in his first season at Alabama, in what has been a fantastic year for the Crimson Tide. Primo has started in 19 games this season, and is averaging 8.1 PPG and 3.4 RPG on 42.6% shooting. Unfortunately for Primo, he’s going into the tournament with an injury(sprained MCL), but the team is hopeful that he will be able to play at some point during the proceedings. Alabama could go a long way in this tournament, and the Canadian freshman will have a lot to do with whatever success they experience moving forward if able to get back on the floor.
Keon Ambrose-Hylton – #2 Alabama
The second of two Canadians on the SEC champion Crimson Tide is forward Keon Ambrose-Hylton. Also a freshman, Ambrose-Hylton hasn’t had as much time on the court this year as Primo, but he’s been able to put in a solid shift whenever his number has been called. Ambrose-Hylton has featured in 18 games this season, including the SEC quarterfinals against Mississippi State, and will likely get a taste of tournament action at some point in Alabama’s run to a National Championship.
Matthe-Alexander Moncrieffe – #4 Oklahoma State
On a team that features #1 NBA prospect Cade Cunningham, it’s easy to get a bit lost in the shuffle, but the forward from Toronto has impressed in his freshman year at Oklahoma State. Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe has started in 12 games this season for the Cowboys, and is averaging a very solid 9.2 PPG, alongside 5.1 RPG and a 52.4% percentage from the floor. Moncrieffe is an exciting player that can fly, and will be must-watch TV when he goes up against Liberty on March 19th.
Nathanael Jack – #4 Florida State
Coming off of a loss in the ACC Tournament title game, the Florida State Seminoles will be hungry to advance in the big dance, and look like a group that could be a real threat to go far. Canadian Nathanael Jack has played in 17 games for the Seminoles in his senior year, and will get the chance to end his collegiate career under the bright lights of the NCAA Tournament. Jack is a pure shooter in the truest sense and could get a chance to find some minutes in the team’s first game against UNC Greensboro.
Olivier-Maxence Prosper – #7 Clemson
6’8 Olivier-Maxence Prosper out of Montreal, QC has started to find his footing in his freshman year at Clemson. He’s only started twice this year, but he’s gotten playing time in 22 of the Tigers 23 games, with one of them being an impressive 11-point 5-rebound game against South Carolina State earlier on. Clemson is heading into the tournament as a #7 seed, and will have an extremely difficult first round game against Rutgers. Even if just for a few minutes, all signs point to Prosper getting a taste of his first tournament action Friday, which is always great for a freshman’s development.
Aher Uguak – #8 Loyola-Chicago
Everyone remembers the great Loyola-Chicago run of 2018, and this year the Ramblers are back to try and play the role of Cinderella once more. Senior Aher Uguak from Edmonton is in his third year as a starter for Loyola, and is having his best year yet across the board. Uguak averages 7.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.3 APG and shoots an incredible 62.9% from the field. Aher is especially active around the basket, and is known to slam it down when he has the opportunity. He and the rest of this upstart Ramblers squad will be a great watch against ACC Champion Georgia Tech on Friday afternoon.
Quincey Guerrier – #11 Syracuse
After not starting a game in his freshman year, Montreal’s Quincey Guerrier has become an everyday starter for the Orange this season, averaging almost 33 minutes-per-game. His percentages are just as solid as they were in his first season, but the extra opportunity has allowed for his numbers to flourish, and he comes into the madness averaging an impressive 14.4 PPG with 8.8 RPG. The Orange are a team that always seems to be around the bubble, and a strong end to the season meant that they would have a chance to dance. Guerrier will be an intriguing view for Canadian fans as he and Syracuse try and upset San Diego State on Friday.
Okay Djamgouz – #11 Drake
The Drake Bulldogs had a great start to the season but struggled a bit down the stretch, and will head into this year’s tournament as one of the last at-large bids, forcing them to play in the First Four on Thursday. Canadian freshman Okay Djamgouz has featured in 18 games for the Bulldogs this season, and had a 12-point performance earlier on in the year. It’s not certain that he’ll find any playing time against Wichita State or beyond, but the tournament experience for a freshman like himself will pay dividends moving forward.
Maurice Calloo – #12 Oregon State
Junior Maurice Calloo has started 9 games for Oregon State this season and played in 29, making him a key role player for this underdog Beavers team. Calloo averages 5.2 PPG and 2.3 RPG on 16 minutes-per-night, and had a massive 15-point performance in the Pac-12 title game just last week. Both Calloo and the Beavers as a whole are entering the tournament in great form, and will be a popular upset pick when they go up against Tennessee in the first round.
Jahvon Blair – #12 Georgetown
Jahvon Blair has started most of the season for Georgetown, and has played exceptionally well whenever he’s on the floor. The senior guard from Brampton, ON is averaging 15.8 PPG, along with 3.8 RPG and 3.7 APG. He’s had several big performances for the Hoyas down the stretch as they made an incredible run to win the Big East tournament, and will be looking to impress when he takes the floor againsts Colorado in a potential upset game Saturday afternoon.
Victor Radocaj – #14 Eastern Washington
The Eastern Washington Eagles had a great run in the Big Sky tournament and secured a place in this year’s field, to the surprise of many. They’re in for a tough time against Kansas in the first round, but just like it is with many mid-major schools, just getting to the dance itself is very important for the program. British Columbia’s Victor Radocaj has appeared in 10 games for the Eagles this season, and is showing promise considering he’s only in his first campaign.
Elijah Lufile – #15 Oral Roberts
Another surprise in this year’s field is the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles, who got into the bracket by winning the Summit conference tournament last week. The Golden Eagles will have an extremely tough test on Friday against Ohio State, but Canadian Elijah Lufile has had a fairly good season for them. He hasn’t played since February 12th, but was averaging 5.6 PPG and 5.3 RPG and was playing great basketball before the struggles with injury began. Although he likely will not feature in the tournament, Lufile has a bright future ahead of him and the March Madness experience will certainly prove itself valuable.
Written by Kyle Oliveira