The thought of a Canadian basketball player succeeding in U.S. hoops isn't exactly a foreign concept. Two words: Steve Nash. Maybe you've heard of him.
But the idea that Canada would not only become a pipeline for highly rated hoops talent but that that pipeline would stretch from one end of North America to another -- ending in Austin, Texas -- well, that's a slightly weirder concept.
It's true, though. Two highly rated Texas freshmen in the class of 2010 hail from Canada. Tristan Thompson, 2010's No. 4-ranked power forward, and Cory Joseph, the No. 4 shooting guard in the incoming class, both hail from Findlay College Prep in Las Vegas, but before that they were citizens of that friendly hockey-loving nation north of the border. In 2011, they'll be joined by the No. 2 point guard in his class, Myck Kabongo, who was born in Zaire and moved to Canada at the age of six. Kabongo recently gave his verbal commitment to the Longhorns.
Why head south? Kabongo told Jeff Goodman and Evan Daniels that the "best players are here in America," which is right. Except for Chris Bosh. Wait. Never mind. (Sorry, Raptors fans.)
Still, that explanation doesn't exactly explain Barnes' sudden ability to recruit the best young Canadian players. Whatever he's doing, it's working. Three of his five starters for 2011 could very well be of the Canadian persuasion. The next step, then? Getting some maple leaf flags to the Frank Erwin Center. Because that would be awesome.