Gilgeous-Alexander NBA all-star nod gives Hamilton high school unique double


Published February 3, 2023 at 2:59 pm

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be repping Hamilton in the NBA all-star game in recognition of his emergence as a top-5 scorer in the league.

The Oklahoma City Thunder guard was selected by the league’s coaches as an all-star reserve, as revealed on TNT on Thursday night. The 24-year-old, who spent his formative years in Hamilton and grew his game in the UPLAY Canada club program and in high school at St. Thomas More, is currently fifth in the NBA in scoring, fifth in free-throw percentage and is ranked third in player efficiency rating by Basketball-Reference. All told, Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 30.8 points, 5.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game.

Gilgeous-Alexander, presuming a clean bill of health, will be the fourth Canadian to play in the all-star game — and he will give St. Thomas More the distinction of having seen former students play in both the NBA and WNBA all-star games. Kia Nurse, who is currently on the roster of the Phoenix Mercury, played in the 2019 WNBA all-star game.

This season’s NBA all-star game is on Feb. 19 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The teams will be selected by the captains, the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, just before the tip-off.

The breakout that the six-foot-six Gilgeous-Alexander has earned has been a gradual build. He was a first-round draft choice from the Kentucky Wildcats by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2018. After his rookie season, the Clippers traded him to Oklahoma City in order to land star forward Paul George and pair him with their new signing, Kawhi Leonard (fresh off leading the Toronto Raptors to the 2019 NBA title). While that deal hasn’t led to any championships for the Clippers, Gilgeous-Alexander has increased his scoring average in every season so far with the Thunder.

Hall of fame guard Steve Nash of Victoria, B.C., centre Jamaal Magloire of Scarborough, and guard Andrew Wiggins of Vaughan were the first three Canadians to hoop in the NBA all-star game. Prior to Nurse, centre Tammy Sutton-Brown (Markham, Ont.) and forward Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ont.) had represented Canada in the WNBA’s contest.

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