Big men on campus

STEPHEN RIPLEY

, Last Updated: 6:52 AM ET

As this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament has progressed, two things have been in noticeably short supply -- upsets and Canadians.

By the time the dust had settled after the first three rounds last weekend, all but one of the dozen or so Canucks in the tournament had been eliminated. Only Oklahoma's Ryan Wright remained ... and the Sooners aren't exactly shoo-ins to make it to the Final Four.

But as this list demonstrates, no matter what happens in the remaining games of this year's tournament, Canadian players have left their mark on big-time college basketball south of the border.

10. CARL ENGLISH

Carl English's journey to NCAA stardom took him almost halfway around the globe -- from his birthplace in St. John's, Nfld., to Honolulu, Hawaii. In three seasons with the Rainbow Warriors, English averaged 17.5 points per game and twice led them to the NCAA tournament. But in an unfortunate miscalculation, he opted to forgo his senior year of eligibility in 2003, but ended up getting completely passed over in the NBA draft. He now plays for the Canary Islands in the Spanish league.

9. STEWART GRANGER

Along with fellow Montrealer Bill Wennington, Stewart Granger spent his high school years honing his hardwood skills in New York City. He parlayed those skills into a scholarship at Villanova, where the 6-foot-3 point guard led the Wildcats to Elite Eight appearances in 1982 and 1983. For his career, he averaged 10.5 points and 4.8 assists per game.

8. JAMAAL MAGLOIRE

Unlike many of the players on this list, Toronto's Jamaal Magloire benefited from the exposure of playing for a big-time program -- the University of Kentucky -- during his college career. After losing to Arizona in the 1997 final, Magloire and the Wildcats beat Utah to win the NCAA championship a year later. In his four years at Kentucky, the 6-foot-11 centre averaged 7.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and left Lexington as the school's all-time leader in blocked shots.

7. BILL WENNINGTON

Along with star forward Chris Mullin, Bill Wennington was one of the mainstays of the powerhouse St. John's teams of the mid-1980s. The Montreal-born centre averaged 12.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game in 1985, his senior year, as the Redmen advanced to the Final Four. Post-graduation, Wennington went on to win three NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls.

6. STEVE NASH

Santa Clara University was the only U.S. college to offer Steve Nash a scholarship after he graduated from high school in Victoria, B.C., in 1992. The gamble paid immediate dividends, as the freshman point guard led the Broncos to their first NCAA tournament appearance in five years, where they pulled off one of the greatest upsets in history by beating second-seeded Arizona in the first round. He went on to become Santa Clara's all-time leader in assists and was twice named player of the year in the West Coast Conference.

5. LEO RAUTINS

Still a legend at Syracuse, where his son Andy now plays, Toronto's Leo Rautins was the first Canadian ever to be taken in the first round of the NBA draft, on the strength of a stellar NCAA career. The versatile forward averaged 12.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and five assists per game as an Orangeman and was selected as an honourable mention All American in his senior year.

4. JUAN MENDEZ

In his four years at Niagara University, Montreal-born power forward Juan Mendez didn't have a lot of success in the NCAA tournament, losing in the first round in his only trip to the big dance. But he was a star in the regular season, racking up 2,210 points -- second only to Niagara legend and NBA Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy -- to become the all-time leading Canadian scorer in Division 1.

3. TODD MACCULLOCH

Until his career was ended by an obscure foot disorder, Winnipeg's Todd MacCulloch was well on his way to becoming the greatest big man Canada has ever produced. At the University of Washington, the seven-foot centre led the NCAA in field-goal percentage three times, earning an honourable mention All-America nod in his senior year. Over his four-year Huskies career, MacCulloch averaged 15.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. A dual-sport athlete in the tradition of Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, MacCulloch is now the 154th-ranked pinball player in the world.

2. ERNIE VANDEWEGHE

The captain of the Colgate Red Raiders in his junior and senior years, Montreal-born swingman Ernie Vandeweghe averaged 19.2 points per game during his college career and was named to several all-American teams in 1949, his final season before graduating to the NBA. Vandeweghe may be best known for the exploits of his son, Kiki, who scored almost 16,000 points in a distinguished NBA career.

1. BOB HOUBREGS

The son of a minor-league hockey player, Vancouver-born Bob Houbregs is the only basketball player ever to have his jersey retired by the University of Washington. The undersized centre with the nickname "Hooks" was named the NCAA's player of the year in 1953, when he averaged 35 points per game in the NCAA tournament to lead the Huskies to their only Final Four appearance. He still holds 10 school records, including most points in a single game with 49.


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