Andrew Wiggins is having a stellar first season with the Minnesota Timberwolves

VIDEO: Steve Nash talks Andrew Wiggins, Canada’s ‘golden era’ of basketball

The former Victoria kid – schooled in Saanich – has a new view from above, as the general manager of Canada's national men's team.



Steve Nash is a fan, man.

The all-time great Canadian point guard – raised and schooled in Victoria and Saanich, – offered his praise to rising phoenix Andrew Wiggins, the Toronto kid who’s in the middle of a should-be award-winning first season with the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.

“Andrew’s been phenomenal,” Nash said Monday. “He’s very young, he has a bright future, and his rookie season’s been incredible. I don’t think people understand what a jump it is from college to the pros, and sometimes how difficult it can be to be in a position he’s in, where he’s asked to do a lot, play a lot, and kind of grow on the fly like that.”

Nash also said he thinks Canadian basketball is entering a new golden era, a well-timed Belle Epoque considering he’s taken over the reigns as Canada’s men’s team’s general manager.

Nash said he keeps in pretty constant contact with all of the national team’s young stars.

“It’s such an amazing place we’re in, as a country in the sport,” Nash said. “So much young talent, and more to come. They’re all doing so well, and most importantly the great majority – if not every one of them – is getting better.

“That’s exciting to see, is that guys, whether you can see it in public yet or not, are improving.”

Nash, who played his college ball at Santa Clara, will miss the entire 2014-15 season after suffering a potentially career-ending back injury last October. Nash is 41 – the legacy he’s left is cemented and bronzed. But Wiggins, at half his age, is the north’s future.

Yesterday was Wiggins’s 20th birthday, which he spent guarding James Harden. It went well.

The Wolves lost, but Wiggins led the way in vain with 30 points and six rebounds, another stellar performance in a freshman year where he’s averaged 15.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and almost 35 minutes a night through 55 games played.

“I would have thought it would be very fair of him to make a ton of mistakes (in his first season), for it to be really awkward, and he’s just been incredible,” Nash said. “Definitely a testament to his ability.”

Success of any kind this year would have shut up the kid’s doubters – after he was drafted first overall, the Cleveland Cavaliers shipped him and fellow Canuck Anthony Bennett to Minnesota for Kevin Love. No love there, reportedly at the request of the Cavs’ loved-again LeBron James, who transferred back to Ohio from Miami last summer.

And Wiggins had been knocked by scouts and analysts, who believed ‘the jumper was suspect’. That sort of became a conventional fact dogging Wiggins, that he couldn’t shoot from the floor and was more of an athlete than he was an NBA regular.

But to-date, Wiggins hasn’t just been satisfactory – he’s proven himself worthy of the No. 1 overall pick.

And his jumper’s just fine.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Playful pooches take over Bullen Park for free event Saturday, Sunday

Ninth annual Pet-A-Palooza featured a mud run, weiner dog races, puppy stampede and more

Take your opportunity to sing at the Royal Theatre

Great Canadian Sing debuts Sept. 8 with inspirational music, talented performers, singalong format

Victoria’s Other Secret not so secret anymore

How six Mount Doug teachers turned a lunch jam into $11,000 raised for charity

PHOTOS: Inside the opening of the expanded Westhills Stadium

The grand opening of the expanded stadium in Langford is on schedule for Aug. 24

Award-nominated Snotty Nose Rez Kids headline Indigifest 2019 coming to Victoria

Scheduled for Aug. 24, the event is a showcase of Indigenous musicians from around B.C.

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

Most Read