TORONTO, ON – Formed in 2018, in conjunction with Canada Basketball, the CEBL, a league filled with local and international talent, is set to kick off once again. On Thursday, June 24 at 7:00 pm EST, the Niagara River Lions take on the Ottawa Blackjacks to kick off the CEBL’s third season.
Seven teams will compete in this season, all vying for a championship once Championship Weekend comes to a close on August 22 in Edmonton. Last season was filled with high-intensity basketball and a mix of young aspiring talent combined with veteran skill and leadership, and this year should be no different.
With teams re-signing past U SPORTS players to play with their newly drafted talent through the CEBL U SPORTS Draft, every roster is stacked with homegrown skill for every type of fan to cheer for.
Canadian basketball fans get their first taste of homegrown U SPORTS talent playing in the 2021 CEBL season with some very prominent names and championship experience. Former Carleton Ravens and U SPORTS National Champions Phil and Thomas Scrubb will go against each other, Phil for the River Lions and Thomas for the Blackjacks. Alongside the two brothers, Ottawa’s universities are well represented in the kickoff matchup with Lloyd Pandi, Guillaume Boucard and former Gee-Gee Johnny Berhanemeskel.
The guard matchup of Berhanemeskel and Kadre Gray, one of the most decorated players in U SPORTS basketball history, against the second overall pick Emmanuel Owootoah (Brock Badgers) and Carleton’s Raven Lloyd Pandi is going to be a spectacular one. With speed, athleticism, toughness, those four guards are tremendous talent and bring a wealth of experience to their respective teams.
The second game of the season features the 2020 CEBL Summer Series champions in the Edmonton Stingers. With additions of U SPORTS talent from across Canada, the Stingers look to repeat as champions and make a run once again in Championship weekend.
The Stingers used their first-round pick on 6′ 5″ guard Alex Carson out of Dalhousie University. Carson’s last matchup on the court for Dalhousie was on the biggest stage in U SPORTS basketball, the National Championship Final. Carson led the team in their championship game against the Carleton Ravens with 20 points on an impressive 50% shooting.
The Hamilton Honey Badgers re-signed JV Mukama, an extremely talented guard who played his university ball with the X Rams in downtown Toronto. If you saw the Rams play while Mukama was on their roster, you could tell he stood out from the rest, and his experience since graduating surely backs that up.
Playing both in the Basketball Africa League and in Europe, Mukama has paired his CEBL with time playing against players from all over the world, and he has become a standout player for the Honey Badgers. Averaging 25 points in the Honey Badgers final three games, JV is an elite scorer that will be someone to keep an eye on as the 2021 CEBL season gets started.
The rosters are set, opening weekend is upon us, and CEBL basketball is about to begin another summer. Some of U SPORTS’ best will be taking the court every week to put on a show for their hometown fans, and as championship weekend rolls around in August, it will surely be a spectacle.