St.Catharines, ON- The CEBL regular season came to an end on Wednesday night, with the Ottawa BlackJacks triumphing over the Saskatchewan Rattlers to clinch the final spot in the 2020 Summer Series playoffs. With the regular season in the books and the playoffs starting on Thursday, 49 SPORTNET is back with a final regular season USPORTS Names Making Noise before the most important games of the year.
Jordan Baker, F, Edmonton Stingers (Alberta 2010-2015)
The Edmonton Stingers have firmly established themselves as the team to beat in the 2020 Summer Series, as the league’s Alberta representatives finished the regular season with a 5-1 record and the first seed in the league. While American Xavier Moon, the defending CEBL MVP, has had another stellar season, the Stingers would certainly not be where they are without the contributions of University of Alberta legend Jordan Baker. The Edmonton native has once again been a force down low for his hometown Stingers, averaging 13 points and 3.6 assists per game during Edmonton’s regular season, as well as leading the entire CEBL with 9.8 rebounds per contest. Baker has been indispensable for Edmonton in the regular season, and as they rest up for their semi-final matchup with eyes on a championship, the Stingers will be leaning heavily on their hometown hero to get them to the promised land.
Thomas Scrubb, F, Ottawa BlackJacks (Carleton 2010-2015)
The elder Scrubb brother wasted no time in establishing himself as a star in the CEBL, as he scored 18 points and pulled down 8 rebounds in his league debut against the Guelph Nighthawks. The veteran was the most important player for the BlackJacks from that point on, as he stabilized the team through roster changes and a slow start, eventually leading the BlackJacks to a 3-3 record and a spot in the playoffs. Scrubb never scored less than 11 points in a game for Ottawa, averaging 15.5 points and 7 rebounds per game over the six game regular season. As the BlackJacks look to make a deep playoff run, they’ll lean on Scrubb to provide scoring and leadership, along with his trademark stellar defence that earned him two USPORTS Defensive Player of the Year awards. The expectations were sky-high for Scrubb in his CEBL debut season, and the veteran will look to continue to meet them as he leads Ottawa through the CEBL playoffs.
Owen Klassen, F, Hamilton Honey Badgers (Acadia, 2009-2014)
One of the most seasoned players to come out of the USPORTS system, Owen Klassen has been putting his talents to good use for the Hamilton Honey Badgers in 2020. The sharpshooting big man got off to a hot start for the Honey Badgers, scoring 15.5 points per game over his first two games this season, before settling into a more supportive role for Hamilton. While he still has shown the ability to get hot and change a game with his shooting, Klassen’s impact has been felt by Hamilton’s opponents all year long even when the shot isn’t falling. The 6’10” forward is second in the CEBL with 1.5 blocks per game, and the Kingston native has also averaged 6.5 rebounds per contest. As the Honey Badgers prepare for their quarter-final matchup with the Niagara River Lions, they would certainly love to get a vintage Owen Klassen performance out of the 28 year old, but even if the shot isn’t on, head coach Ryan Schmidt can rest easy knowing that Klassen will bring his paint presence and veteran know-how to a Hamilton squad that will certainly need to play a full game to pursue their goal of a championship.
Lloyd Pandi, F, Ottawa BlackJacks (Carleton, 2018-Present)
Lloyd Pandi certainly knows how to make up for lost time. The Carleton forward, with just one year of playing in USPORTS under his belt, had big shoes to fill when he was named to the Ottawa roster as a replacement for the legendary Philip Scrubb, but the young phenom made such an impact in his 4 games this season that he still made this list. Pandi certainly did not seem to be intimidated in his first taste of pro play, supplying the same tenacious rebounding and scoring that endeared him to Ottawa basketball fans this school year during his time with the Ravens. The reigning USPORTS Rookie of the Year, Pandi averaged 9.8 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 55% from the field over his 4 games, while the BlackJacks went 3-1 in those matches after starting the year 0-2. Pandi’s intense paint presence and incredible physical strength have marked him as a breakout star of this year’s CEBL season, just a few months after he was the breakout star of the USPORTS basketball season. With 4 years of eligibility still left at Carleton, Pandi is most definitely a name to know for anyone who follows Canadian basketball.
Brody Clarke, F, Edmonton Stingers (Alberta 2014-2020)
The Stingers have been so clearly the team to beat through the regular season of the 2020 Summer Series that they earned themselves a second spot on this list, in the form of another Golden Bears alum in Brody Clarke. Like Pandi, the Toronto native has only appeared in 4 games this season, but he certainly made an impact when he was on the floor. The forward averaged 10.8 points per game, providing the Stingers with a scoring forward off of the bench who often gave Edmonton a needed boost as they rested players like Baker. Clarke’s strong play comes as no surprise to those who watched the CEBL last season, when he was named the USPORTS Developmental Player of the Year and showed his ability to compete at a professional level. After he went back to Alberta and averaged more than 19 points and 8 rebounds a game in a shortened season, Clarke came back and showed his growth in the CEBL in 2020. He’s added a reliable three point shot, and it certainly seems as though the 24 year old still has plenty left to add to an already strong talent base. Clarke is a player to keep an eye on as he continues to grow and develop in his professional career.