Editor’s Note: Brady Heslip, a member of the Timberwolves’ Summer League squad, had an illustrious career at Baylor University and today plays in the North of the Border Basketball League in Canada. Here’s a bit more about Heslip’s basketball journey and how he came to be a member of the Wolves for Summer League.
Brady Heslip is arguably the greatest 3-point shooter in Baylor University history, and a pioneer in helping to bring popularity to the sport of basketball in Canada. Heslip was born in Ontario, and today he’s a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves Summer League roster.
Starting 73 of 75 games during his sophomore and junior seasons, Heslip was accustomed to starting for the Bears. In his senior season, though, he appeared mostly off the bench. Despite this new sixth-man role, Heslip averaged more points and minutes during his appearances as a senior, and was able to finish a three-year career as a Bear with 1140 points (20th in school history). Heslip’s 301 made-threes is second in program history, fifth all-time among the stoic Big 12 conference, and his lifetime 42.1 3-point shooting percentage is the best in school history (third all-time in the conference).
As a senior, Heslip recorded the highest 3-point shooting percentage of his career, connecting on 118 of 254 (46%) attempts from beyond the arc. Prior to start of his senior season, Heslip participated in FIBA’s Tournament of Americas, hoping to help Canada qualify for the 2014 World Cup of Basketball.
Competing against some of the toughest internationally-born competition, Heslip scored 70 of Canada’s 625 points and made 17 of 33 3-point attempts during the tournament. Although his country failed to qualify for the upcoming World Cup, Heslip attained invaluable experience playing against international stars, such as Luis Scola of the Indiana Pacers and the Timberwolves’ own J.J. Barea.
His family is deeply rooted within the Canadian basketball-culture, and Heslip is also on the forefront of basketball and it’s overall growth. His father, Tom, was an All-Canadian player at University of Guelph in 1980, and Heslip’s Uncle, Jay Triano, was head coach of the Toronto Raptors from 2008-2011. Now, Triano is an assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers and is also coach of the Canadian national team.
Basketball is a sport growing in popularity among Canadians because of players like Heslip. For two consecutive years, a Canadian born player has been selected first overall in the NBA Draft. Last summer, Anthony Bennett was the first Canadian selected first overall, and this year, it was Andrew Wiggins—both were taken by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
When Josh Sheriff and Justin Avery founded the North of the Border Basketball League (NBBL), they made it their mission to foster the growth of the game of basketball in Canada.
Sheriff and Avery had a vision: gather elite Canadian basketball players and have them compete within a league during their respective off-seasons. They reached out to Heslip, who was receptive to this vision and the overall concept of the NBBL, and he joined Blessed Sacrament Nation (BSN). The NBBL gave Heslip opportunities to interact with the younger generations of athletes, to inspire those athletes and to prove how talented he really is.
In addition to being a role model, Heslip continued to shine on the court, averaging over 30 points in three appearances with BSN. In his most memorable performance, Heslip scored 50 points (45 in the second half), spearheading a 107-63 victory over the Hamilton Huskies. Canadian youth players could see, talk and watch Heslip in play ball in person.
“Heslip was great interacting with the younger basketball community,” says Sheriff, who serves as Vice President of the NBBL, “as so many look up and aspire to reach the levels he has reached and continues to strive for.”
At 6-foot, 2-inches tall and only 180 pounds, Heslip went undrafted. His short, skinny build just wasn’t what teams were looking for on draft night. Still, teams around the NBA value players who have an ability to consistently knock down the 3-point shot, and Heslip can do that in his sleep. Perhaps he’ll have a chance to show this skill for the Timberwolves playing in Las Vegas.