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Who is Richard Townsend-Gant?

Who is this underclassman guy from the CCAA that threw his name into the NBA Draft hat last week?  (Photo: VIU Mariners Basketball)
Who is this underclassman guy from the CCAA that threw his name into the NBA Draft hat last week? (Photo: VIU Mariners Basketball)

Looking over the annual NBA Early Entrant List has left Can Ball Ray scratching his head and wondering - Who is Richard Townsend-Gant? He took to the internet and found out a little bit about the lone Canadian college early entrant in recent memory here ...

I'll admit, I've been a little on the sloppy side the last few weeks since the NCAA season ended.

Hearing One Shining Moment usually means a short break for me since I focus pretty hard on the NC-Double-Eh side for about five months plus the assorted high school and college stuff I can in between before the summer begins and the National Team programs start up in earnest.

Unlike previous years, there have been multiple players that may have shots to get into the NBA via the June Draft and for the most part, I usually have been keeping an eye on them to some degree as the Draft Lottery closes in. To be honest with you, before last season when Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph announced they were entering the Draft after their freshmen seasons at Texas, no Canadian underclassman has really done enough in his college career, NCAA or otherwise, to warrant any real attention when it came to declaring early.

Until 2012 that is ...

As I was perusing the NBA's Early Entrant List this week I had to do a double take three times. Was I reading that right? Richard Townsend-Gant from Vancouver Island University? Really??? Consider him the anomaly of the Canadian post secondary basketball scene.

After I got over the initial shock, I began to wonder exactly who this kid was. And here's what I could find ...

Townsend-Gant is actually from Portland and attended Jefferson High graduating in 2007 it seems. He then went on to Coffeyville Community College from 2008-10 where he averaged 10.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists. It seems he took the 2010-11 off before surfacing at VIU.

He was a member of this season's Vancouver Island University Mariners' men's basketball team. According to my calculations, of the ten games that I could find boxscores of in the team's schedule page (since there were no stats available on the team page or the Pac West Conference) he seemed to be pretty decent. In the ten games I calculated, Townsend-Gant was averaging 15.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg and 1.8 apg in 23.4 minutes. He shot .508 (63-of-124) from the floor, .288 (15-of--52) from the three and .629 (17-of-27) from the line.

Now this is a slice of the 25-plus games the team played this season so I may have missed a few stinker games as well as some Jordan-esque ones also. But the limited amount of data available to me when I posted this was pretty impressive. I was actually able to find this story that included Townsend-Grant stating that he was named a First Team PacWest Conference team and had apparently averaged 17.6 points and a conference high 9.2 boards per game.

He's got some pretty good credentials from this past season and they no doubt add to his pro stock in some form I'm sure. Now do I think he's done enough to warrant entering the NBA Draft as an underclassman? My initial thought was "Umm, No!" but then again, who am I to stand in the way of basketball dreams. Lesser players have declared and done well. OK not well but they did declare which is step one I suppose.

I'm not sure what the rules are for CCAA basketball but I'm almost sure that A) he's not jeopardised his lone remaining year of eligibility on any Canadian college team by doing this and B) if he did chose to sign with an agent (and something tells me that he has if he hasn't already) I'm sure he can come back to play out that lone year anytime in the future. My bottom line thought is that he's gonna have a chance to come back to the Mariners if this doesn't exactly pan out for him.

So there you have it, an anomaly in the CCAA throwing his name in the NBA Draft. I'm not expecting to see Townsend-Gant's name among those called in June, hell I'm not expecting his name to show up on team workout lists as those begin to happen next month but I'm definitely not rooting against him.

Long live the longshot!