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The Hopes of Canada Ride on Andrius' Shoulders

Imagine the pressure of being on the outside of the NBA trying to earn your way in to the draft and on to a roster. Now imagine the additional pressure of an entire country pulling for you as they peer over their jug of maple syrup.

I'm sure the Canadians have a word for that emotion and it's exactly what Andy Rautins is feeling right now because, should he make an NBA roster, I believe he will be only the 20th Canadian citizen to play in the NBA!* That's right, if Andy makes it to the NBA than the Rautins family will be responsible for 1/10 of all NBA Canadians. (New fact to me: Andy's uncle George Rautins, Leo's brother, was drafted in 1975. But that was back when teams just kept drafting until no one was left. George went at the 158th pick to Buffalo [natch] but didn't make the team. The 159th pick was a pound of Taylor's Ham, which actually suited up for a few games in New Jersey.)

This makes it even more impressive that Andy shot lights out at the NBA Combine on Friday. Granted it's just spot up shooting with no defense, but knowing the dreams of aspiring Canuck children live and die by your jumper might make shooting tougher than an actual hand in your face.

Andy Rautins: The Great Canadian Hope and his Hair of NBA Destiny.

(H/T: Phila-cuse)

* - The number might not be exact. Looking at this page and this more recent Canadian fan page, I added up 19 draftees. It's possible there may be more but, surprisingly, the internet is not full of up-to-date pages on Canadian NBAers.