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Record number of Canadians in March Madness is part of an ongoing basketball success story

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Canada has seen double-digit numbers of its homegrown basketball players taking part in March Madness in recent years, a testament to the deep pool of talent on this side of the border.

Fifty-three such athletes are part of this year's famed NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Basketball Championships, which Canada Basketball says is a record — though the tournaments have had at least 50 Canadian participants for three consecutive years, including this one.

University of Connecticut forward Aaliyah Edwards, from Kingston, Ont., is one such player, and she attributes her success to her "big sisters" on the Canadian senior women's national team who mentored her. "Big shout-out to them; just a big shout-out to the Canadian basketball family," she told CBC News, adding she hopes she can make a similar impact on the next generation of players. "All those little girls who aspire to be in my position ... [who] want to pick up a basketball and are passionate about it, just know you can be successful if you put your mind to it and keep your family close."  Matt Slan, the founder and CEO of Slan Sports Management, said that number is unlikely to shift much with Canada producing so many great players. "Canadians are here to stay in terms of basketball," said Slan, who remembers the days when it was a hard sell to get players from this side of the border noticed.

To his point, there were 50 Canadian players involved in March Madness in 2022. A year earlier, 25 men and 27 women were part of the tournaments, according to Canada Basketball-reported numbers.

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