In what is a sure sign that Canadian basketball is on the upswing, the Toronto Raptors worked out two Canadians on Wednesday ahead of this month's NBA draft.
Toronto's Melvin Ejim and Quebec City's Khem Birch went through their paces in front of the Raptors scouting staff.
Birch, who played at UNLV and declared for the draft after his junior season, points to Vince Carter as one player who caught his eye growing up.
"Vince is probably one of the best Raptors of all time. He had a big impact on all of us," said Birch. "Even though he wasn't Canadian, you thought he was Canadian because he played here and everyone embraced him."
Birch is projected to be drafted late in the second round but that hasn't deterred him from making his best impression in workouts.
"I don't look into mock drafts," added Birch, who has already worked out for the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers. "Those guys don't really know what goes on in a GM's mind. It only takes one team to like you and if you feel you're ready, you're ready."
As for what he could bring to a potential NBA lineup, the 6'9 forward knows his strength is under his own basket, despite scoring a Big 12-record 48 points in a game this season.
"I bring a defensive energy," he said. "That's the type of player I am and that's why I left (school). I proved myself in college, I was defensive player twice."