Mississauga, Ontario is exactly 2,042 km from sunny Orlando, Florida. For many 22 year-olds away from home, the distance alone may seem daunting, but Andrew Nicholson is living his dream as a professional basketball player in the NBA.

The tales of many first-round picks often begin the same - a boy picks up a basketball shortly after learning to walk and the rest is history. Nicholson however, took a more round-about route; his first passion growing up was on the field in a baseball diamond. A growth spurt in grade 11 would change the young man's path and lead him to the game of basketball. He was able to take full advantage of his new-found height and the hardwood became his new home.

Nicholson played for his high school team at Father Michael Goetz Secondary School in Mississauga. During his two seasons, he was named MVP in five tournaments. In his senior year, he was named to the Toronto Star High School All-Stars.

Andrew's journey to the NBA would next bring him south of the border to St. Bonaventure University in New York. Not one to ignore his studies, Andrew worked hard in the classroom in his pursuit of a major in physics. Rowan Barrett, Executive Vice President of Canada Basketball and Assistant General Manager of the Senior Men's National Team, spoke highly of the Mississauga native's time with the Bonnies saying, "Andrew demonstrated excellence athletically and academically and he will be a tremendous role model for our youth."

Nicholson shined on the court and earned numerous accolades and awards in his four years with the Bonnies including A-10 Rookie of the Year (2009), an All-American Honourable Mention (2012), two A-10 First-team selections (2012, 2011), an A-10 Second-team selection (2010), an A-10 All Rookie-Team selection (2009), eight A-10 Player of the Week awards and six A-10 Rookie of the Week awards. He helped lead the Bonnies to an A-10 championship in his senior year and guided them to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Andrew's success on the court culminated in him being named the 2012 A-10 Player of the Year.

Andrew's draft stock grew with each game he played. This past summer, the 22 year-old's hard work and determination finally paid off when NBA commissioner David Stern stepped to the podium and announced that "with the nineteenth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic select Andrew Nicholson." Barrett once again saw the young Canadian up-close at the Senior Men's National Team Camp in August and agreed with the Magic's assessment, "Andrew is a fundamentally complete player; he is tremendously skilled and possesses a very high basketball IQ."

Expect a strong contingent of Nicholson supporters for the Raptors game on Sunday as another Canadian son comes home.  

Orlando vs. Toronto Game Note

On Sunday, the Orlando Magic face the Toronto Raptors on Jonas Valanciunas bobblehead day. To purchase tickets, follow this link. If you can’t make it down to the ACC, be sure to catch the game on Rogers Sportsnet with the tip-off set for 1 p.m.