Ottawa,ON- The second season of CEBL action is on the horizon, and even though it’s in a bubble city tournament format, Canada’s basketball league is back.
Over the past year, the league’s seven teams have introduced big names, seen their rosters shuffled, and with all of that, a significant portion of the league is now made up of U SPORTS alumni. With the tournament beginning on July 25, 49 Sports is here to introduce you to one U SPORTS name to know on each team.
Edmonton Stingers: PF Jordan Baker, Alberta 2009-14
It was tempting to give this slot to another 6’8” Golden Bear power forward in Brody Clarke, but Edmonton native Baker played a big role for the Stingers last season, and will look to have a similar impact in a crowded frontcourt rotation for Edmonton. Baker will have to compete for minutes not only with holdover Travis Daniels, but also newcomers Clarke, Dalhousie alum Sascha Kappos, and import Marlon Johnson. However, the veteran Baker contributed 14 points and nine rebounds per game last season, while starting every game the Stingers played, so look for the 2-time First Team All-Canadian to continue to make his presence felt in the paint once again for the Stingers.
Other Notable U SPORTS Alumni: Brody Clarke, Sascha Kappos, Adika Peter-McNeilly
Fraser Valley Bandits: F Mamadou Gueye, Alberta 2013-18
One of the best players in the history of Golden Bears basketball, Mamadou Gueye spent the first season of the CEBL in Edmonton, before moving to Fraser Valley this offseason. After going just 4-16 in 2019, the Bandits made big moves to bring in more talent this offseason, with Gueye being one of the rewards reaped by that effort. The third highest scorer in U of A history averaged 15 points and 6.5 rebounds a game in his U SPORTS career, and put up a strong scoring effort in his first season in the CEBL. Gueye will join a roster now filled with Canadian talent with NCAA roots, such as Junior Cadougan and Malcolm Duvivier, as he looks to help lead the Bandits to a more competitive showing in this year’s tournament.
Other Notable U SPORTS Alumni: Dan Adediran, Joey Haywood
Guelph Nighthawks: G Myles Charvis, Windsor 2013-15, Ryerson 2016-19
Charvis was an effective scoring weapon off the bench for the Nighthawks last year, scoring over 15 points per game despite starting just three times. The strong production came as no surprise to those who watched Charvis in his U SPORTS career, as the Mississauga native routinely put up big numbers whether playing for the Warriors or the Rams.
The 2019 OUA All-Star averaged more than 20 points per game in his final season at Waterloo, before continuing his scoring success after making the switch to downtown Toronto. The Nighthawks will look to improve on a shaky start to their CEBL existence, after they went just 6-14 in 2019, and Charvis’ contributions should play a big factor as the team tries to climb up the standings without last year’s leading scorer, Carleton alumni Connor Wood.
Other Notable U SPORTS Alumni: Marcus Anderson, Ali Sow, Joel Friesen
Hamilton Honey Badgers: G Kadre Gray, Laurentian 2016-20
The Hamilton Honey Badgers will be one of the most interesting teams to watch in the second year of the CEBL. The runner-up in the inaugural season, Hamilton returns without their two top scorers from last year’s team, as well as with a new head coach in Ryan Schmidt. The roster is still stacked, which makes Kadre Gray a very interesting player to watch for the Honey Badgers in 2020.
The two-times U SPORTS Outstanding Player has rightly made his reputation as one of the best scorers in the U SPORTS history, averaging over 25 points per game for his career at Laurentian. Gray also averaged seven rebounds and almost six assists per game in his career as well, establishing himself as an all-around threat at a level not often seen before. However, his time at Laurentian was also marked by a complete lack of playoff appearances, despite his stardom. As Gray joins a roster more talented than he has ever played with before, it will certainly be interesting to see how his game and playstyle adapts. With a player this talented, however, bet against him at your own risk.
Other Notable U SPORTS Alumni: Owen Klassen, Jean-Victor Mukama, Caleb Agada
Niagara River Lions: F Guillaume Boucard, Carleton 2011-16
A 5-time national champion with the Carleton Ravens, Boucard broke out in the final year of his U SPORTS career, averaging almost 15 points per game while leading the Ravens to the championship alongside Connor Wood and Kaza Kajami-Keane. The 6’6″ forward continued to excel after leaving Carleton, especially in the first season of the CEBL. Boucard starred for the River Lions, averaging 16 points and seven rebounds a game for a strong Niagara squad. He went on to be named the CEBL’s Canadian Player of the Year and a First Team All-Star in 2019 as he helped lead the River Lions to a league-best 15-5 regular season record. The River Lions were unable to turn their regular season dominance into playoff success, and as a result spent their offseason upgrading, adding Boucard’s former Carleton running mate Ryan Ejim from the champion Rattlers. As the league sees an influx of new Canadian talent, Boucard will have to perform at his best if he wants to keep his crown, and the River Lions will be relying on that to earn themselves a crown of their own.
Other Notable U SPORTS Alumni: Ryan Ejim, Emmanuel Owootoah
Ottawa BlackJacks: G Philip Scrubb, Carleton 2010-15
The BlackJacks roster features a long list of players with successful U SPORTS careers, most of which carry a legacy of success from the Carleton program, however, Ravens alumni Philip Scrubb rises above them all. One of the best non-NBA players in Canadian basketball history, Scrubb was a 5-time national champion with Dave Smart and the Ravens, taking home a plethora of records and honours, including four First-Team All-Canadian honours, two Jack Donohue Championship MVP trophies, and three consecutive U SPORTS Outstanding Player awards. Armed with a deadly three-point shot, Scrubb has been playing professionally in Europe since his time at Carleton, and along with his brother Thomas he will look to lead Ottawa in their first year of existence and establish himself as a star in the CEBL.
Other Notable U SPORTS Alumni: Thomas Scrubb, Kaza Kajami-Keane, Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles
Saskatchewan Rattlers: G Rashawn Browne, Manitoba 2017-20
With just three years of eligibility after spending the first two seasons of his university career in the NCAA, Rashawn Browne certainly made up for lost time at the University of Manitoba. The 6’1″ guard put up great numbers for the Bisons, and averaged more than 19 points a game in the 2019-20 season on his way to being named a Second-Team All-Canadian. How the small guard will respond to the size and skill of the CEBL is a question, as there are several other guards on the Rattlers that are also well deserving of minutes. Once he gets on the court, however, Browne is definitely a player to keep an eye on, as the explosive guard has done nothing but excel since his return to Canada.
Other Notable U SPORTS Alumni: Jelane Pryce, Evan Ostertag, Shane Osayande