TORONTO, ON – At 3-1, the Hamilton Honey Badgers sit third in the CEBL, and their victories have come with nothing short of impressive performances. Kalif Young, Kenny Ejim and Thomas Kennedy get the job done inside the paint while their guards put on a show offensively.
Feeding the ball to a dominant post inside and letting a player go to work is something many teams love to do. Just look at the connections between Marek Klassen and Brandon Gilbeck in Fraser Valley, Junior Cadougan and Nick Ward in Ottawa and, the duo of Xavier Moon and Jordan Baker in Edmonton.
The Honey Badgers have no shortage of guards to feed the ball to Kenny Ejim and Thomas Kennedy.
Starting with the U SPORTS and Rams alumni JV Mukama, the Honey Badgers are third in the CEBL in assists-per-game, and a lot of that has to do with the vision Mukama has shown.
The former Ram can find players across the floor and his height and length at the point guard spot really helps the Honey Badgers find open shooters and distribute until a lane opens up like they’ve done to start the season. In the case of their home game against the Guelph Nighthawks on July 3, they created much of their offence off a dribble handoff to Mukama, relying on his ability to find the next pass.
Once the ball gets distributed, a wealth of scorers can put the ball in the net from around the court. Cody John, a 6’3” guard, provides that shooting off the bench. An energetic player, John is a spark for the Honey Badgers, and when they need to get the offence going, he is usually a part of the solution.
Talking about spark plugs and facilitators, there are few better in the CEBL than the Honey Badgers guard Lindell Wigginton. The 6’2″ guard and Iowa State alumni from Nova Scotia is making it happen for the Honey Badgers and has been nothing short of vital for their early success.
Wigginton averaged 15 points in his career at Iowa State and 2.5 assists, and those stats improved when he came to the CEBL. Wigginton sits in second in the CEBL in points-per-game with 25.2 behind Xavier Moon of the Edmonton Stingers and second in assists per game with 5.8, not only leading his team in both those categories but amongst the best in the league.
Wigginton will attack off a screen, distribute off a pick and roll or find one of his other talented guards along the perimeter for a 3-pointer, and he’s incredibly efficient. He’s averaged 32 minutes per game through their first five games, and he is not only a veteran but a true leader for the Honey Badgers, who are looking to improve on the playoff run they made during the 2020 Summer Series.
Rounding out the group of Honey Badger guards who have made a substantial impact early on in the season, Trevon Duval. Duval sits in second in points and assists on the Honey Badgers squad.
With the athleticism that the Honey Badgers have, Duval’s athleticism allows him to get to positions on the floor to get rebounds and get out in transition.
Duval, John and Mukama combine for 11 rebounds per game for the Honey Badgers. Those second-chance opportunities can be vital for finishing a game for a team with the Honey Badgers’ shooting skills.
Making steals at a vital time can lead to runs, as fans saw at the end of the game against Guelph, and a stolen inbound pass sealed the game for Hamilton and put them closer to the Elam Ending target score.
The Honey Badgers can attack from anywhere on the floor. With Kennedy and Ejim leading the way for the forward position, the combination of skilled guards improves the repertoire head coach Ryan Schmidt can implement at any point in the game. Among the best guards in the league, Wigginton will undoubtedly continue to lead the way as the 4-1 Honey Badgers keep marching through the league.