Edmonton Stingers: PF Jordan Baker (Alberta 2009-2014)
One of the most dominant players in the entire CEBL last year, Baker is the clear choice to represent the Stingers once again on this list in 2021. The former Golden Bear ruled the paint in 2020’s CEBL Summer Series, leading the league in rebounds for the second season in a row, to go along with his typical highly efficient shooting and effective passing. Baker was undoubtedly the 2nd most important player to the Stingers’ championship run, short just of league MVP Xavier Moon, and his strong season was rewarded with a place on the All-CEBL First Team, as well as the CEBL Canadian Player of the Year Award. With the Stingers looking to mount a strong title defence in 2021, Baker will be one of the most important players in the league in 2021, regardless of where he went to school.
More Names to Know: Adika Peter-McNeilly, Jahmal Jones, Sascha Kappos
Fraser Valley Bandits: G Alex Campbell (Windsor 2013-2016)
Last year’s Fraser Valley entry Mamadou Gueye left for the Guelph Nighthawks this season, leaving the spot wide open for Alex Campbell to come in and snatch it up. A potent scorer, Campbell is making his return to the CEBL with the Bandits in 2021 after skipping the Summer Series last year. The former Windsor Lancer was well worth watching in his 2019 stint with the Saskatchewan Rattlers, though, and will hope to replicate that success in Fraser Valley in 2021. The former OUA First Team All-Star averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 rebounds a game for the Rattlers in 2019, and led the team to the 2019 CEBL championship. It’s a feat he’ll be looking to replicate out west with the Bandits in 2021.
More Names to Know: Anthony Tsegakele, Adam Paige
Guelph Nighthawks: F Mamadou Gueye (Alberta 2013-2018)
Gueye appears on the list for the second year in a row, and although he’s the first player to appear on the list despite switching teams, (spoiler alert) he won’t be the last. Gueye didn’t end up playing for the Fraser Valley Bandits last season, leaving CEBL fans missing the talented former Golden Bear in 2020. Gueye is ready to make an impact in Guelph, however, as he comes off a fantastic season in the Japan-B3 League, one in which he averaged more than 20 points per game. Gueye has clearly grown from the last time he played in the CEBL in 2019, and the Nighthawks will be looking to him to lead a talented roster deep into this year’s playoffs.
More Names to Know: Myles Charvis, Marcus Anderson, Isiah Osborne
Hamilton Honey Badgers: G Jean-Victor Mukama (Rams 2013-2019)
Last year’s pick Kadre Gray has moved on (more on him later), so Mukama steps in to fill a slot that he more than earned with his play in 2020. The former Rams star emerged as the star that many OUA fans knew he was during last season’s Summer Series, leading the Honey Badgers in scoring as the team fought their way in to the playoffs. Mukama was rewarded with an All-CEBL First Team selection, quite an achievement for any rookie.
More Names to Know: Owen Klassen, Ammanuel Diressa, Lock Lam
Niagara River Lions: F Lloyd Pandi (Carleton, 2019-Present)
Lloyd Pandi might only have played one full season of OUA basketball so far in his career, but that hasn’t stopped the Carleton star from turning heads and racking up the awards everywhere he’s gone since he burst on to the scene with the Ravens in 2019. Pandi is such an exciting prospect that he takes the spot on our list here, despite being on a roster overflowing with notable U SPORTS talent and alumni. The Ottawa native followed legendary Carleton coach and executive Dave Smart from the Ottawa BlackJacks to the River Lions, and will be looking to prove once again that he’s more than capable of hanging with the best that Canadian professional basketball has to offer. Coming off of being named the 2020 CEBL U SPORTS Player of the Year following his strong rookie season with the Ottawa BlackJacks, Pandi will look to make an even bigger impact for his new team and show the country how much he’s been able to improve without OUA basketball this year.
Other Names to Know: Guillaume Boucard, Emmanuel Owootoah, Grant Shephard, Phil Scrubb
Ottawa BlackJacks: G Kadre Gray (Laurentian, 2016-2020)
We’ve all been waiting for this one. With Dave Smart, travelling south to Niagara, the BlackJacks roster has much less of a Carleton feel to it this season, but that didn’t stop new GM Jevohn Shepherd from adding the cream of the U SPORTS crop. One of the best to ever touch a U SPORTS court, Gray was supposed to make his professional debut for the Hamilton Honey Badgers in last year’s Summer Series, but didn’t end up playing. The two-time U SPORTS Player of the Year averaged more than 25 points and 7 rebounds per game over the course of his career at Laurentian, and will no doubt be looking to replicate that success at the next level. So, better late than never, all eyes will turn to Ottawa to see how Gray can match up against professional competition, on a roster loaded with veteran talent. It’s a task that he hasn’t faced yet in his career, but there’s no doubt that he’s more than up to it. Gray’s seemingly unlimited ceiling just might make him the #1 U SPORTS Name to Know in the entire CEBL.
Other Names to Know: Johnny Berhanemeskel, Joel Friesen, Alain Louis
Saskatchewan Rattlers: G Nervens Demosthene (Bishop’s, 2017-Present)
The first overall pick in this year’s U SPORTS Draft, Demosthene will look to make an immediate impact on a Rattlers team that struggled in 2020 after winning the first ever CEBL championship in 2019. The Gaiter is certainly poised to do just that, as he’s coming off a season in which he scored almost 20 points per game the last time we saw the RSEQ in action. Demosthene has shown drastic improvement over his three seasons in Sherbrooke, as his free throw percentage and assist numbers have both risen noticeably over his career there. Look for Demosthene to potentially unveil an improved shooting stroke with Saskatchewan this summer, to pair with his explosive athleticism and transform into an even more dangerous weapon both for Saskatchewan and Bishop’s.
Other Names to Know: Mambi Diawara, Jelane Pryce