O, Canada again No. 1 in NBA draft

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NEW YORK (AP) - Seems basketball is making inroads on hockey up north.

For the second straight year a native of Canada was the overall No. 1 pick in the NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Andrew Wiggins of Kansas was taken first on Thursday night. Last year, Anthony Bennett of UNLV, like Wiggins a native of Ontario, was taken No. 1 by the Cavaliers.

Wiggins was the 11th international player to be selected No. 1 overall and the third in the last four years. Kyrie Irving, a native of Australia who played at Duke, was the No. 1 overall in 2011, again by Cleveland.

Wiggins was one of four international players selected in the lottery. Kansas teammate Joel Embiid, a native of Cameroon, was taken No. 3 by Philadelphia, while Dante Exum of Australia was selected No. 5 by Utah. Nik Stauskas, a native of Canada who played at Michigan, was taken No. 8 by Sacramento and Dario Saric of Croatia was taken 12th by Orlando.

There were 10 international players taken in the first round, tied with 2011 for the second-most ever behind the 12 last season.

Last year there were three international players taken in the lottery, Bennett, No. 12 Steve Adams of New Zealand, who played at Pittsburgh, and No. 13 Kelly Olynyk of Canada, who played at Gonzaga.

SILVER SHINES: Adam Silver had quite a first night in charge of the NBA draft.

The league’s commissioner since David Stern retired on Feb. 1, Silver made a big impact on the sports world with his quick and decisive moves against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling when racist remarks he made in a recording were made public.

Stern and the New York-area crowds at the draft had quite a relationship. The longtime commissioner was always booed when he came out to announce the players selected in the first round.

Silver would come out and announce the second round and the remaining fans would cheer his every word. One year some fans showed up with Adam Silver masks.

On Thursday, Silver received cheers that got even louder when he announced between the 15th and 16th picks that the NBA had selected Isaiah Austin of Baylor, who learned last week after a physical for the draft that he had Marfan syndrome, which ended his playing career.

Silver’s ceremonial pick allowed Austin to take the walk across the stage and shake hands with the commissioner just as every draft pick in attendance gets to do.

“For Commissioner Silver to even invite me here was a tremendous blessing and it just shows how much class that man has,” Austin said.

The move made Silver even more popular with the crowd. And when the commissioner was done announcing names and deputy commissioner Mark Tatum took over Silver’s old second-round duties, he spent time shaking hands with some of the people in the crowd and even posed for a selfie or two.

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