ST. CATHARINES, ON – Although the CEBL’s Summer Series “regular season” is only a few short weeks, the league has seen nearly everything, from injuries, to club conflicts, to a game-ending goaltend, there has been no shortage of action with this compressed schedule. As teams begin to clinch playoff positions, here are some more U SPORTS alumni who have made impressions in the last few days:
Munis Tutu: G, Ottawa Blackjacks (Carleton, 2017-2020)
With Philip Scrubb no longer with the team due to a conflict with his European club, the Blackjacks backcourt is now wide open for guys like Tutu, Yasiin Joseph, and Lloyd Pandi to fill the big shoes left by Scrubb. After graduating from Carleton this year, Tutu is getting his first taste of pro ball with the Blackjacks, and had his best games of the season Tuesday night against Niagara. He logged a season high 25 minutes and finished with 15 points, five rebounds and five assists on 50 percent shooting. Ottawa has a seemingly endless supply of feisty guards who can disrupt plays on one end and then make plays on the other. Tutu is one of those guards.
Mambi Diawara, G: Edmonton Stingers (Calgary, 2016-2019)
After dropping their first game of the season, the Stingers have quickly bounced back, winning their next four games to jump into sole possession of first place in the league. Diawara has been a constant in head coach Jermaine Smalls’ lineup, starting all five games in the backcourt alongside Xavier Moon. Diawara has been a scorer his whole career, from his years with the Dinos to his time playing overseas, where he averaged over 24 points playing in Romania this past season. With Moon playing as the lead guard, Diawara has had to adjust to a more off-ball role, which is no easy thing when you’re used to having the ball in your hands so often. His scoring has dipped, which is to be expected when making such a change, but he’s still rebounding at a high level, especially at the guard position (he hauled down eight boards in 24 minutes against Hamilton). When the Stingers showed some zone against Saskatchewan, Diawara was a fixture at the top of it, rotating nicely and making the Rattlers work for their shots.
Zac Overwater, F: Edmonton Stingers (Lethbridge, 2014-2019)
Another former U SPORTS athlete playing for the Stingers, Overwater played 14 minutes in the win over Saskatchewan in what was really his first game with extended playing time this season. Overwater was anchoring the Stingers’ zone for most of his time out there, and did a great job of constantly talking to his teammates on D. He is a sound defensive player, closes out well, and provides Edmonton with some rim-protection on the inside.
Brody Clarke did not play in the game against Saskatchewan, which opened the door up for Overwater. If Clarke has to miss more time, expect Overwater to continue to eat some of Clarke’s minutes.
Emmanuel Owootoah: G, Niagara River Lions (Carleton, 2016-2019; Brock, 2019-Present)
After winning a national championship with Carleton, Owootoah transferred to Brock along with former Ravens assistant Willy Manigat once Manigat received the head coaching job with the Badgers. A broken right foot ended what would have been Owootoah’s senior year, so the 5’11 guard redshirted last season and looks ready to go whenever the 2020-21 season begins. He’s seen limited playing time so far with the River Lions, but got his first big stretch of playing time in what was a must-win game for Niagara. He’ll most always be the smallest guy on the floor, but he’s got as much experience as a U SPORTS player can have, having played DI with Fresno State before his time with Carleton. In the clip below he does a great job of getting his hand in the passing lane, which sets up a fast break basket for Niagara.
Owootoah is a really nice backup guard who could help out Niagara as they fight to make the postseason.
JV Mukama: F, Hamilton Honey Badgers (Ryerson, 2013-2019)
I already included Mukama in my last article, but he was so good on Tuesday I couldn’t leave him out. With Duane Notice out for the year after tearing his Achilles, the Honey Badgers have big shoes to fill in the stretch run. Mukama stepped up in a huge way, dropping 28 points on Saskatchewan off of 6-10 three-point shooting to get Hamilton back to .500. The loss of Notice is a huge, both for himself personally and the team. Notice was one of the premier players in the Summer Series, so to suffer an injury as serious as a torn Achilles is a tough pill to swallow. Mukama, however, carried the load offensively, and showed that he can create of the dribble just as well as he can of the catch.
He came up big down the stretch, hitting a three that gave Hamilton a nice cushion heading into the Elam time. Mukama had one of the best performances by a former U SPORTS athlete in the Summer Series so far, and did it when his team needed it most.