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Canadian Connection at UK

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O Kentucky, our home and native land. True patriot love in all thy Wildcats command?

FIBA U17 World Championships - Dubai Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

For the better part of a century, many young Canadian kids grew up dreaming of wearing the blue and white jersey of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Since the inception of the Toronto Raptors in 1995 and the famed college career of Toronto’s Jamaal Magloire, many young Canadian kids seem to have shifted their attention to donning the blue and white jersey of the Kentucky Wildcats.

With the announcement of top 50 recruit Shai Alexander committing to play for UK, the 2017-18 season will mark the fourth straight year that a Canadian has suited up for the Wildcats. Although Alexander has been playing his prep ball at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, he is actually born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario which is a 45 minute drive west of Toronto. If you travel another 45 minutes west of Hamilton, you’ll end up in Kitchener, Ontario (the home of recent UK alum Jamal Murray).

Basketball has taken a dramatic turn in popularity north of the border with the Toronto area churning out some of the worlds best talent on the hardwood including the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Ennis, Cory Joseph and Nik Stauskas to name just a few. At the collegiate level, there is somewhere in the range of 100 players from the Toronto area playing NCAA basketball highlighted by Oregon’s Dillon Brooks and Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

With the recent success of the Canadian players at Kentucky, it’s safe to assume that John Calipari and his staff will continue to comb the “Great White North” for even more future Wildcats.

Here is a list of Kentucky players past and present from Canada:

Mychal Mulder (2015-17) - Windsor, ON Mulder attended Catholic Central High School and led his team to a provincial championship before becoming a Juco All-American and now playing for the Wildcats.

Jamal Murray (2015-16) Kitchener, ON Murray was recruited out of Orangeville Prep (Athlete Institute) which is the same program that Thon Maker of the Milwaukee Bucks was drafted from.

Trey Lyles (2014-15) Saskatchewan, SK Although he spent most of his childhood in Indianapolis, Lyles was born in Canada to an American father and a Canadian mother and he plays internationally for Canada.

Sheray Thomas (2003-07) Montreal, QC Born in Montreal, Thomas came to UK via Riverdale Baptist in Maryland and he also played for the Canadian national team at times following his college career.

Jamaal Magloire (1996-2000) Toronto, ON Magloire came to UK out the storied Eastern Commerce program in Toronto and finished his career as the all-time leader in blocked shots for UK and continues to be an influential figure in the development of basketball in Canada.