KANSAS CITY - If the reality is merely near the hype, then Kansas' Andrew Wiggins will be the first pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
That's no surprise to anyone who's watched a career that erupted under Rob Fulford at Huntington Prep.
But Wiggins would also be the second straight Canadian selected No. 1 overall, following former UNLV star Anthony Bennett, who was picked first last June by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
That might be a surprise from the hockey-mad nation that has its own professional football league and lacrosse as its national sport.
If the reality is again merely near the hype, the world will be hearing a lot about Canadian basketball soon.
"There is a great pool of young talent there now," said Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim, a preseason all-Big 12 forward from Toronto who played for Canada this summer in the World University Games.
"Over time, people have worked on it and it's developed and Canada has taken leaps in the right direction in terms of having a program to get out and reach younger players to bring them into the system early. The players in Canada are doing well and the potential to have a great national team is there."
Wiggins, the Big 12's first freshman to make the preseason all-conference team, Ejim and Baylor's Brady Heslip, who played for the national team that nearly qualified for the world championships, were each at the Big 12 media days Tuesday.
They rattled off a roster of players who could play for Canada.
In the Big 12 alone, there are those three, Baylor point guard Kenny Chery, who was a junior college All-American; Kansas State's Justin Edwards, a transfer from Maine who must sit out this season; and Iowa State's Naz Long, the No. 7 prospect in Canada in the 2012 class, according to North Pole Hoops. Edwards is in the national team program and Chery was part of the junior national team in 2010.
In the rest of college, there's touted Syracuse freshman Tyler Ennis, Florida State freshman Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Gonzaga's Kevin Pangos, UNLV's Khem Birch, Marquette's junior Cadougan, Michigan's Nick Stauskas, Kentucky's Kyle Wiltjer, New Mexico State's Sim Bhullar and Daniel Mullings, Arizona State's Jordan Bachynski and Stanford's Dwight Powell. Trey Lyles, a 6-foot-10 high school senior considered among the best players in his class, will play at either Kentucky or Louisville next season.
In the NBA, there's Bennett and Texas forward Tristan Thompson with the Cavaliers, Gonzaga centers Kelly Olynyk with Boston and Robert Sacre with the Lakers, Texas guard Corey Joseph with San Antonio, Syracuse guard Kris Joseph with Brooklyn and St. Bonaventure star Andrew Nicholson with Orlando. Lakers guard Steve Nash is the general manager of the senior national team.