It’s a good day for Andrew Wiggins and a landmark day for Canadian basketball.
The Cleveland Cavaliers chose Wiggins, a Vaughn, Ont. native, with their No. 1 first round pick during the NBA draft on Thursday. He is the second Canadian in two years to be selected by the team as their top choice.
“It's crazy,” Wiggins said to TSN shortly after stepping off the stage at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.Wiggins, often nicknamed the “Canadian LeBron,” is the son of former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins and former track and field Olympian Marita Payne-Wiggins. The 6-8 small forward recently wrapped up a year of playing college ball with the University of Kansas Jayhawks.
The reality of being selected to play in the NBA is nothing short of a dream come true for the teen, who was praised by an Eastern Conference scout for his “gallops” and “glides.”
“We all had hoop dreams, we all wanted to play in the NBA,” Wiggins said to reporters at a midtown Manhattan hotel on Wednesday.
He was joined by fellow Ontarians Tyler Ennis, 19, of Brampton and Nick Stauskas, 20, of Mississauga at the press conference. In the weeks leading up to the draft, experts considered the trio to be prime first round pick contenders.
“It’s huge, especially having three people that high in the draft. I don’t think that’s ever been done before in Canada, maybe we’ve had one or two. But now we have three guys,” Wiggins said.
Stauskas was selected by the Sacramento Kings as No. 8 overall in the draft. Whereas Ennis went to the Phoenix Suns as their No. 18 pick.
It's a big day for Canadian basketball, and at least one American sports reporter noticed:
— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) June 26, 2014
Even Steve Nash chimed in:
Steve Nash on the idea that three Canadians may go in the first round of tomorrow's NBA Draft: "I feel like a proud uncle."
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) June 25, 2014
So excited for this Draft! Pay the guys maan! They've earned it. So proud of Andrew, Tyler, and Stauskas!!! Canadian Basketball on the rise!
— Drizzy (@Drake) June 26, 2014
Last year, Toronto’s Anthony Bennett was the league’s No. 1 overall pick, also drafted by the Cavaliers. But he failed to live up to the team’s expectations after playing a disappointing rookie season.
Wiggins, who just 24 hours earlier sat in a hotel room swarmed by journalists, admitted he’s been feeling "anxious" over the past few weeks. So he looked to none other than his dad for some advice.
“I always talk to him about it. He just said take it day by day. Don’t think about the past, don’t think about the future, just take it day by day,” he said.
“Just stay humble, and the sky is the limit.”
With files from The Canadian Press