Last year was not a good year for the Texas Longhorns. In the dying seconds of the first round of the NCAA playoffs, the Longhorns lost focus and, in turn, lost the game to Wake Forest.
Not only did their season end after hardly any playoff action, but they also lost three players after they were drafted to the NBA that year. It looked like it would take a few years before the Longhorns would be contending for the championship again.
However, two Canadian freshmen who joined the team this year changed that. Brampton native Tristan Thompson, forward, and Ajax native Cory Joseph, point guard, helped Texas go 27-7 this season, bettering their 24-10 perfomance from last year.
Both Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph represented Canada at the FIBA U-19 Basketball Championships in New Zealand in 2009. The two players also played together in high school, when they earned their diplomas at Nevada’s Findlay Prep, which has one of the most highly regarded high school programs in the United States.
Thompson and Joseph helped lead Findlay to back-to-back ESPN Rise NHSI Championships and a 32-2 record.
The two players became just the second and third Canadians to be named to the McDonald’s High School All-American game.
It looks as though Texas will earn more Canadian fans, because Longhorn’s coach Rick Barnes has signed 6’2″ point guard Myck Kabongo. Kabongo, a Toronto native, will play at this month’s McDonald’s High School All-American game in Chicago.
Barnes also has a verbal commitment from 6’8″ small forward Kevin Thomas from Brampton, Ontario.
With four Canadian players, Texas is likely to become a popular choice for Canadian players when being recruited.
These two Canadian all-stars have just swept Texas by storm and they have Longhorn fans praising Canadian basketball programs. The Longhorns have acquired the name of “Toronto’s team” in the tournament because of their GTA players. Canadians have a lot to be proud of in this tournament, as Gonzaga, Marquette, and Syracuse all have Canadian players. Expect to see more recruitment taking place north of the border—these young men have proven they belong in the NCAA.