DAILY DISH: Canada’s Melvin Ejim is a serious baller; Iowa State beats Michigan

Alright, so you were probably watching football on Sunday.

Even if you live in Canada, where Chris Farley tribute mayor Rob Ford was cheering on his Argonauts against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Grey Cup semifinals. (The Farley line came from Stephen Colbert, but it’s awesome, so I had to sneak it in somewhere). 

Even if Ford is the most embarrassing excuse for a public official we’ve seen in days, Canadians can still be proud about the unexpectedly awesome exports they’re trotting out on our hardwood.

Melvin Ejim

Photo: Ames Tribune

Toronto native Melvin Ejim was terrific in Iowa State’s 77-70 win over No. 7 Michigan, putting up 22 points, 9 rebounds and snatching 3 steals. If you don’t already know Ejim, get familiar. The 6-6, 220 pound forward was a beast on the interior, showing a wide array of post moves and out-hustling Michigan bigs for buckets down low.

He’s got guard-like quickness and swingman size, but he plays big in the paint. Ejim was creative offensively, and even though he doesn’t have an automatic jump shot, he’s dangerous if given space. He also made a couple of spectacular, tough shots.

With Ejim playing the way he did, it’s hard to call Iowa State’s victory an upset. Fred Hoiberg has things rolling in Ames, despite losing Korie Lucious and Will Clyburn off of last season’s 23-win team. Ejim seems to be filling their scoring void quite well, and looks like a legitimate contender for first-team All-Big 12 honors.

Hilton Coliseum is also one of the toughest places in the country to play. Fans were raucous on every possession, even when other fan bases would go quiet or get discouraged. They know how to watch basketball there in Ames.

Michigan was also breaking in a new backcourt in freshman point guard Derrick Walton Jr. and sophomore Caris LeVert, and big man Mitch McGary was making his first appearance of the season after a back injury sidelined him for the first two games.

But let’s get back to Ejim. Seriously, this dude is from Canada? How many stud basketball players do they have up there? Don’t they play hockey anymore?

Andrew Wiggins Canada

Andrew Wiggins isn’t the only guy from Canada who can ball. (Getty Images)

Cavs forward and 2013 No. 1 draft pick Anthony Bennett hails from Brampton, Ontario. And of course, everyone’s 2014 No.1 pick, Andrew Wiggins, is from Thornhill, a suburb of Toronto.

But there’s also New Mexico State’s Sim Bhullar, UNLV’s Khem Birch, Baylor’s Brady Heslip, the Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk, former Texas star Myck Kabongo and former Marquette star Junior Cadougan, all of whom hail from the place that used to just be famous for hockey and syrup.

Also noteworthy from Sunday is the fact that Belmont upset North Carolina—in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels struggled mightily from the free throw line, missing 22 of 48 attempts. They were 9-for-28 at one point. We didn’t include UNC in our preseason Top 25, and their performance Sunday shows why. The Tar Heels don’t have a point guard, have a bunch of guys who can’t shoot and don’t consistently get good looks on offense.

Someone other than James Michael McAdoo is going to have to step up if Carolina is going to have any shot at making a run in the ACC this year.

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