When most people think about basketball, they think about the United States. The sport’s place of origin has produced some of the most prominent athletes in sports history. Marist freshman guard Tyler Sagl is here to show everyone that Canada should be on our basketball radar.
The sport of basketball has gained ground in countries around the world and its popularity continues to grow thanks to international superstars like LeBron James, James Harden, and the late Kobe Bryant who passed away just a week ago. The NBA has become a growing league and is rapidly closing in on the NFL and both leagues are made up of a large margin of people that were born in the U.S.
More international players are making their way into the NBA after making noise in foreign leagues. Generational talent like Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker paved the way for young stars like Luka Doncic and odds are they won’t be the last to do it.
Hailing from Mississauga, a suburb outside of Toronto, Sagl had his focus set on baseball. Canada has a large population of athletes that pursue other sports like soccer and ice hockey especially but Sagl had more interest in the cornerstones of American sports. Sagl feels that where he’s from, there’s more than meets the eye.
“People don’t really think about that in Canada,” said Sagl. “We’re gritty and like to get after it.”
Sagl wanted to do exactly that and it all started for him when he made an AAU team in the eighth grade. From there, he attended St. Thomas Aquinas from Grades nine to 11. He was able to take his talents as a prolific scorer to Lincoln Preparatory School in Hamilton, Ontario. And once he arrived there, he knew he had something special to showcase. In his remarkable Grade 12 season, Sagl averaged 26.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. Sagl didn’t truly feel the waves of the success that was to come for him until January of 2019 when he put up 48 points on Southwest Academy.
“Those games and how I played, it really proved that I was capable of playing outside of Canada in Division I,” Sagl said, “That was the ultimate dream and I did achieve it and I’m very happy about that.”
“This was when I was most confident,” he said. “That was when Marist really started recruiting me, that’s when I really felt I was able to do this.”
When Sagl got to Marist, Tyler felt that the family atmosphere was going to be the most beneficial for him and was the best school to help propel his game to the highest level. Starting out the 2019-2020 season, his minutes played started off smaller but increased exponentially as the games went on.
“At the start, it was tough,” said Sagl. “But the guys really picked it up for me, especially Michael Cubbage and Matt Herasme. They welcomed me and helped me throughout the season, preseason, trying to get me better.”
MAAC Rookie of the Week is just one of the many milestones Tyler Sagl looks to accomplish and he feels like the proverbial Canadian chip on his shoulder can take him anywhere he needs to. Sure, there is a long road ahead of him in his college career, but he’s making the most of his opportunities as a freshman. He has one thing on his mind when he steps onto the court.
“I play with a chip on my shoulder because any game could be my last.”
Edited by David Connelly