Ontario Player of the Week Feb. 19 – Feb. 25
There’s a little bit of international flavour this week to the Ontario Player of the Week naming as it goes to Toronto native and Team Canada representative Melvin Ejim.
Ejim is currently playing for BC UNICS, a team situated in Kazan, Russia playing in the VTB United League. He just finished a two-game series playing for Team Canada in the FIBA Americas World Cup qualifying tournament finishing up the second window of the tournament with a 2-0 record after victories against the US Virgin Islands and Bahamas. He led the way with a game high 28 points in their victory against the US Virgin Islands on February 22 and scored 15 points with four rebounds and four assists against the Bahamas on February 25.
Ejim was born in Toronto but moved to the United States at a very young age to pursue high level high school basketball. He attended St. Mary’s Ryken and then transferred to Brewster Academy, where famous alumni including 2018 Slam Dunk Champion Donovan Mitchell, Phoenix Suns forward TJ Warren and Denver Nuggets guard Will Barton have all taken careers into the NBA. In his final year at Brewster, Ejim helped lead them to a 34-4 and the National Prep School championship.
Ejim received multiple offers as a 3-star recruit coming out of high school, from higher profile schools including Butler and Boston College, before deciding to commit to Iowa State University for the 2010 season.
He started 30 of 32 games in his freshman season, becoming the 13th freshman in school history to average double figures scoring (10.3 points). Ejim had one of the best seasons in school history in 2013-14, averaging 17.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in winning the Big 12 Player of the Year award. He became the fourth player in Big 12 history to record 1500 points and 1000 rebounds in his career and finished his career with the most wins of any player in Iowa State history with 88.
Ejim entered the 2014 NBA Draft but went undrafted before joining the Philadelphia 76ers summer league team. He then signed overseas, first with Virtus Roma in Italy then signed with Medi Bayreuth in Germany before getting another crack at the NBA with the Orlando Magic in the 2015 summer league. He was sent down to the G-League from Orlando and since then has played in Europe, going back to Italy in 2015-16, before ending up in Russia playing for UNICS, where he is currently.
Ejim has represented Canada on multiple occasions, as a member of the silver medal winning team at the 2015 Pan American Games, and as a key contributor in Canada’s recent efforts to qualify for the 2019 FIBA Americas World Cup.
You can catch Ejim and the rest of Team Canada as they continue their efforts to qualify for the World Cup as they play two games in Ontario this summer, June 29 against the Dominican Republic in Toronto, and July 2 against the US Virgin Islands in Ottawa.