It’s by no means a slam dunk, but at least one basketball pundit believes Carleton’s Philip Scrubb could end up in the NBA after his Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) playing days are over.
Tariq Sbiet, founder and national scout of Canadian media outlet and scouting service North Pole Hoops, said he’d be “shocked” if Carleton’s star point guard doesn’t get a tryout with at least one NBA team.
“If you can shoot it like he can, I think you can find a job or at least get some looks in the NBA,” said Sbiet, who watches about 400 Canadian basketball games per year. “If not there, you’re going to be sitting pretty in Europe.”
Scrubb, who will turn 20 later this month, scored a game-high 32 points against National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I squad Villanova Wildcats Nov. 1, 24 of which came from three-point range.
The following night, Scrubb put up just 12 points against the La Salle Explorers, but he still drew high praise from Explorers head coach John Giannini.
“Scrubb is a big-time player,” Giannini told reporters after the game. “He could play in any conference in America.”
And that should come as no surprise.
In his senior year at Vancouver College, Scrubb drew interest from the New Mexico State Aggies and University of Portland Pilots — both NCAA Division I teams — before ultimately settling on Carleton.
The Richmond, B.C. native was named rookie of the year in his first season with the Ravens, both regular season and CIS championship MVP in the second, and earned an invite to Canada’s senior national team training camp this past summer.
“It’s not really surprising when you take into consideration what a D1 type talent could do on the CIS level,” Sbiet said. “He has a great opportunity to set the standard for the CIS as far as players that are going to make it to that next level.”
Many CIS graduates have enjoyed successful professional careers in Europe, but only two have ever appeared in an NBA regular season game — the first was American-born Brian Heaney in 1970, and the second was Uxbridge, Ont. native Jim Zoet in 1982.
They played a combined total of 27 regular season and playoff games.
Many more Canadians have played in the NBA in recent years — a record eight featured on opening day rosters this season — but they have all come from the U.S. college system.
Michel Bélanger, CIS media relations and communications manager, said he receives accreditation requests from NHL, CFL, and even NFL scouts every year, but the NBA has never come calling.
“In all my years at the CIS office, including 10 years of attending the CIS men’s basketball championship, I have never had a single request from an NBA scout,” he said via email.
Although it would be unprecedented for Scrubb to make the leap, Sbiet said it shouldn’t be ruled out — particularly because of the network of coaches connected to Ravens head coach Dave Smart.
“It’s not like [Scrubb]’s going to have a shortage of eyes looking at him,” Sbiet said.
“But will he make a roster? We don’t know.”
For his part, Scrubb said it was “nice to hear” Sbiet’s comments, but he knows he’s a long way from the NBA.
“It’s good that I’ve got a few years here to improve,” said Scrubb, who has never had any contact with NBA personnel.
“And I think this is the best possible spot for me to achieve those goals.”
Coming off back-to-back national championships, Scrubb and the Ravens kick off their 2012-13 regular season Nov. 9 at Windsor. Having lost three veteran players to graduation, Scrubb said he’ll be looking to take on more of a leadership role this season.
The Ravens have won eight national championships in the last 10 years – one more would set a new CIS record.