It’s no secret Canadian basketball has been growing exponentially for a few years now. With players such as Shai Alexander-Gilgeous and Luguentz Dort from the OKC Thunder as well as R.J. Barrett from the N.Y. Knicks coming through the ranks and making their respective debuts this year, the rise of basketball up north is undeniable; on that note, here is a list of the top 15 high school prospects hailing from the North Side, class of 2020.
15 – George Lefebvre (Vermont)
Lefebvre, a 6’9, 200 lbs forward hailing from the Montreal metro area in Quebec, is part of a Canadian trio at Cape Fear Academy (Wilmington, NC), where he caught the eye of Vermont University scouts due to his athleticism and impressive handles/coordination for his build. The Catamounts, reigning America East champions, will no doubt be looking forward to seeing what Lefebvre can bring to the table for them, as a promising wingman with huge upside; he could be one to watch if he fulfills his potential. The sole commit of Vermont’s 2020 recruiting class rejected offers from American, Siena and Boston University, among others.
14 – Kellen Tynes (Montana St.)
Coming out of an isolated program at Rothesay Netherwood School (RNS) in New Brunswick, Canada, Kellen Tynes may be one of the most underrated players on this list. An absolute problem on the defensive end, the relentless 6’3 point guard captained his team to an undefeated season (12-0) in NPA action, one of the top circuits in Canadian high school ball, picking up the league MVP while averaging 22 points, 6 assists and 5 steals per game. Losing out on an opportunity to win RNS’ first national championship because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he will be walking into an interesting project at Montana State University from the Big Sky conference, where he’ll be taking in his winning and leadership qualities to a squad seeing its 5 seniors depart.
13 – Coleman Stucke (Northeastern)
One of two top Canadian recruits from this Northeastern Huskies recruit class, Coleman Stucke is a high IQ 6’7 versatile forward who will doubtless ensure a solid perimeter presence for a program coming off a mediocre year in the Colonial Athletic Association. Averaging 21.2 points per game and shooting a superb 43% from 3 point land with Orangeville Prep in Ontario (#5 in Canada), Stucke’s arrival will soften the blow of losing the team’s top two scorers while hoping to flourish under Bill Coen, arguably the best head coach in the CAA and known for his ability to evaluate and develop young players. The 17 year-old will be looking to help a promising Northeastern team get back to winning ways, having turned down highly reputable programs such as Utah as well as Vermont and High Point.
12 – Jalen Celestine (California)
Hailing from a tremendous Long Island Lutheran (#1 H.S. in New York State) 2020 class, Celestine is a 6’6 left-handed combo guard from the 905 who boasts an impressive set of playmaking and shooting skills. He also possesses a very high basketball IQ as well as great length, attributes contributing to his excellent defensive ability. Having received offers from multiple standout D1 teams, he will be headed to Berkeley, CA next year when he joins the ranks of the California Golden Bears, a program which boasts alumni such as Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb, and where he will evolve under the guidance of HC Andrew Francis, whom had reportedly been determined about getting him on campus. The 10th ranked recruit in the state of NY notably declined offers from UMass, Bucknell and St. Bonaventure.
11 – Kobe Elvis (DePaul)
Kobe Elvis, a 6’2 point guard out of Brampton, ON racked up an incredible 30+ D1 offers after seemingly blossoming out of nowhere at Northern Kings AAU and Bill Crothers Prep in Markham, ON. Averaging a spectacular 26.5 points per game in the OSBA conference, the electric Elvis will take his elite playmaking and scoring abilities to DePaul University, where he’ll nonetheless need to bring his outside shooting up a notch (21% from the 3 point arc) in order to make a true impact at the Big East level, especially on a squad which boasts real quality at the 1 and 2 positions (Moore, Jacobs, Gage). Grabbing his share of headlines through his performances in the summer of 2019, the form he carried into the regular season notably earned him scholarship offers from Minnesota, Iowa St., Ole Miss and Buffalo.
10 – Zach Edey (Purdue)
Zach Edey, coming in at an astounding 7’3 frame, reclassified at the start of the year and joined IMG Academy, where he put up decent numbers as a senior and improved considerably, having only started playing basketball in 2017. One of the best 7 foot recruits in the world, he has committed to Purdue University of the Big Ten in what seems to be a match made in heaven; the Boilermakers, in desperate need of a tall presence with starting center Matt Haarms now moving to BYU as a grad transfer, represent one of the best programs in terms of developing big men. Paired with Purdue’s two top 100 guards, he will look to maximise his potential and gain valuable experience in one of college basketball’s best conferences after rejecting Minnesota University and the Seton Hall Pirates.
9 – Joshua Hemmings (Harvard)
After honing his skills at world-renowned Oak Hill Academy, where Carmelo Anthony and Rajon Rondo spent their high school days, Hemmings graduated from the Lawrenceville School as the 4th-ranked prospect out of New Jersey in 2020 (ESPN). A high-IQ athlete on and off the court, Hemmings held multiple Ivy League scholarship offers before committing to the Harvard Crimson last summer. A versatile wing, it is expected that he will be filling the role of a flex-forward on a squad losing 6 of its seniors as of next year. He headlines a recruiting class of three, coming in as the sole prospect at the 3. At 6’9, he possesses great guard skills and extreme length which contributes to his solid upside as a potential future NBA player, attributes which had earned him interest from programs such as Oregon, Ole Miss, UCLA and Georgia Tech.
8 – Jefferson Koulibaly (Washington St.)
A born leader, Koulibaly is a skilled athlete hailing from Quebec. In his last year of high school at Lincoln Prep (Hamilton, ON), Koulibaly nearly averaged a triple-double (28 ppg/10 rpg/7 ast) and led his team to a respectable 11-9 record in the OSBA, Canada’s most competitive H.S. circuit. Nationally regarded as a top 5 guard, the Washington State-bound playmaker will be looking to make an instant impact at the Pac-12 school, which has been struggling mightily in conference play for the past few seasons. The 6’3 Canada U18 international will be strengthening the combo guard position at WSU, coming in alongside recruits such as Dishon Jackson and TJ Bamba. Koulibaly also held offers from the Maryland Terrapins and Holy Cross University.
7 – Keon Ambrose-Hylton (Alabama)
Ambrose-Hylton, out of UPlay Canada and the International Sports Academy at Andrews Osborne (OH), is an interesting 6’7 SF with huge upside due to his great combination of size, length and athleticism. Possessing great transition and playmaking skills for a 3, the 18 year-old will definitely be one to watch if he becomes a more consistent shooter at Alabama, where he will be the first of two top Canadian prospects joining the Crimson Tide, currently short on wings. Ranked as the #1 prospect coming out of Ohio, he turned down offers/interest from NC State, Arkansas and Illinois, among others.
6 – Javonte Brown-Ferguson (UConn)
Javonte Brown-Ferguson, a 7 foot tall, 240-pound 4-star recruit, surely represents the best big man of this Canadian class, where he finds himself after reclassifying from 2021 to 2020. His highlight tape having caught the eyes of Kansas, Arizona and Indiana scouts, he moved from a notoriously solid Thornlea program in Ontario, where he averaged a double-double (20/10), to a solid Mt. Saint-Joseph H.S. (9th in MD) squad after he officially committed to UConn. He’ll be looking to make his presence felt as a potential star center for the Big East school; his tools in the post as well as his athletic abilities (footwork, speed, wingspan) represent Anthony Davis-like attributes, much needed for a Huskies a team lacking interior presence and losing their top scorer in senior Christian Vitale.
5 – Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe (Oklahoma St.)
A 6’7 wing from powerhouse Orangeville Prep of Ontario, where he was teammates with Coleman Stucke, Alexander-Moncrieffe is a 19 year-old versatile yet lanky slasher. The 4-star recruit, a multi-positional defender, has huge potential on both sides of the floor as well as in the rebounding department; his 7 foot wingspan and 8’8 standing reach are valuable attributes which earned him over 10 scholarships from D1 programs such as Oregon, Florida and Arizona State. However, the Canada U19 international will be headed to Stillwater next year as he joins a stacked Oklahoma State Cowboys recruit class; the squad, looking to make a deep NCAA tourney run, includes #1 prospect Cade Cunningham as well as 4-star recruit Rondel Walker.
4 – Joshua Primo (Alabama)
Primo, a 6’6 guard from UPlay Canada and Royal Crown H.S. in Toronto, recently committed to Alabama after impressing at the NBA Basketball Without Borders camp in Chicago in February. A versatile athlete with a 6’9 wingspan, he is ranked as a 4-star recruit and projected to be a mid-first round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft by ESPN. He will be joining fellow Canadian Keon Ambrose-Hylton at the Crimson Tide, where he’ll fill a hole at the combo guard position after the departure of Raymond Hawkins, who entered the transfer portal following his true freshman year in Tuscaloosa. After reclassifying from ‘21 to ‘20, Primo had also earned scholarships from Oregon and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
3 – Olivier-Maxence Prosper (Clemson)
A 6’7 wing with great guard skills enabling him to play the 2, Prosper is the first of two Canadians on this list out of the NBA Academy Latin America in Mexico City. An excellent athlete, his outstanding versatility on both sides of the floor enable huge NBA upside as a potential hybrid forward/slasher, provided he works on his jump shooting and shot selection; traits he’ll be able to improve as a surefire starter at Clemson University as of next year. Having seen his recruitment monitored by schools like Baylor, Creighton and Stanford, his high basketball IQ also earned him interest from Ivy League schools such as Harvard. A 4-star prospect out of Montreal, he recorded averages of 11.2 points and 44% shooting at the Adidas Gauntlet 2019 with standout AAU program Brookwood Elite, where he also notably dropped 17 on fellow Canadian Jalen Celestine, ranked at #13 on our list.
2 – Karim Mané (n/a)
At 6’5, 192 pounds, Mané, a 5-star rated (247Sports, Rivals.com) athletic playmaker out of Vanier College in Montréal, was highly coveted by programs such as Marquette, Memphis and Michigan St. for his two-way skills which have drawn comparisons to Jrue Holiday’s playing style. However, due to his immediate eligibility at 19 years old, the Canada U-20 international star declared for the NBA Draft just a week ago after impressing pro scouts with his impressive scoring skills which will doubtless ensure he makes an instant impact at the NBA / G-League level. Maxed out physically, his huge upside will probably see him go in the second round of the Draft or make him one of the hottest UDFA’s on the market; his CCAA All-Canadian performances this year notoriously drew interest from the Houston Rockets. There is, however, a possibility of seeing him going D1 as he has yet to forgo his NCAA eligibility by hiring an agent.
1 – Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona)
A potential future NBA star, Mathurin has all the attributes to make an instant impact at Arizona next year. From Montreal, QC, the NBA Academy Latin America prospect possesses a rare combination of skills, power and athleticism for a 6’6, 190-pound wing; however, as a very high-IQ player, his guard abilities remain excellent and we could see him transition to a playmaker role in the Pac-12. Garnering high praise for his maturity on and off the court, the loss of his older brother at age 12 and the decision to leave his hometown of Montreal to head south to Mexico City for the last two years represent factors which leave no doubt as to his capabilities of handling a stage such as the one he’ll be faced with in Tucson, where he will join depleted squad who will have to handle the losses of key players such as Nico Mannion and Zeke Nnaji.