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RJ Barrett, Canadian NBA prospect, drafted 3rd overall by New York Knicks

The New York Knicks have taken RJ Barrett third overall in the NBA draft, kicking off what could be a record-setting night for Canadian basketball.

A native of Mississauga, Ont., and a star with Duke, the six-foot-seven Barrett was the highest-ranked player from his country on a large list of Canadians available to be drafted.

WATCH: Courtesy NBA TV – Toronto native RJ Barrett said “Canada basketball is on the rise” after being drafted 3rd overall by the New York Knicks on Thursday. Barrett also showed off his bilingualism answering a question in French.

‘Canada basketball is on the rise’: RJ Barrett drafted 3rd overall by Knicks
‘Canada basketball is on the rise’: RJ Barrett drafted 3rd overall by Knicks

Canada entered the 60-pick event with a realistic shot of setting or matching a record for most players picked from any country outside the United States in a single draft. The record was set by France with five in 2016.

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Vancouver-born and Arizona-raised Brandon Clarke of Gonzaga, Toronto’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker of Virginia Tech and Burlington, Ont., native Mfiondu Kabengele of Florida State also were invited to the green room as top prospects for Thursday’s draft.

READ MORE: From March 18 – Lin scores 20 points, Lowry reinjures ankle and Raptors rout Knicks 128-92

Several other Canadians were thought to be candidates to go later in the draft.

WATCH: Courtesy NBA TV – The New Orleans Pelicans selected Toronto’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker with the 17th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft Thursday

Toronto’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker drafted 17th overall in NBA Draft
Toronto’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker drafted 17th overall in NBA Draft

The evening was a continuation of a memorable week for Canadian basketball. A massive crowd cheered on the NBA champion Raptors during a parade and rally in downtown Toronto on Monday, four days after the team became the first squad from outside the U.S., to capture the crown.

WATCH: Courtesy NBA TV – Burlington, Ont. native Nfiondu Kabengele talks about the growth of basketball in Canada after he became the fourth Canadian selected in the 1st round of the 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday.
2019 NBA draft pick Nfiondu Kabengele proud of Canadian roots
2019 NBA draft pick Nfiondu Kabengele proud of Canadian roots