Ottawa, ON – Success breeds opportunity, but to keep that success going requires creativity.
The Carleton Ravens have built their dynasty of the last 20 years by constantly bringing in fresh talent to build into their system and heading into 2022-2023 they be tasked with one of the most difficult replacements they’ve ever had to fill.
On Sunday afternoon, a little under a week after he helped the Carleton Ravens to a 16th National title at the Saville Community Centre in Edmonton, second-year guard Lloyd Pandi announced on social media that he is leaving the Ravens and declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft.
Pandi comes off a season where he averaged 14.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.7 game. The 22-year-old’s list of accolades overall though, in just two seasons in the black and red for Carleton is truly outstanding.
- 2x U Sports Champion (2020, 2022)
- U Sports Most Valuable Player (2022)
- U Sports All-Canadian First Team All-Star (2022)
- OUA First Team All Star (2020, 2022)
- 2x CEBL x U Sports Player of the Year (2020, 2021)
- Ravens Scoring Leader (2020)
- U Sports All-Canadian Second Team All-Star (2020)
- U Sports Rookie of the Year (2020)
Will Pandi get drafted?
It’s difficult to say whether Pandi will hear his name when the NBA Draft goes down in June. To date, 12 players have been drafted from CIAU/CIS into the NBA, but none since the re-branding into U SPORTS. The last player drafted, William Njoku, was a two-time AUS Player of the Year with St Mary’s before being drafted by the Indiana Pacers in 1994.
The last U SPORTS players to declare for the NBA draft were former Ryerson Ram turned Florida State Seminole Tanor Ngom and former Laurentian Voyageur Kadre Gray, each in 2019. Ngom later withdrew from the draft a few weeks prior, but Gray went through and did not hear his name called among the 60 picks. Gray and Pandi are not the same players, but Gray entered the 2019 NBA Draft with a resume that included winning OUA and U SPORTS Athlete of the Year in 2018 and OUA and U SPORTS Men’s Basketball Player of the year in 2018 and 2019. That’s about as polished a resume as you can have, and he still didn’t get picked. That is not to say Pandi won’t hear his name, but the odds, at least based on precedent, are stacked against him.
What does this mean for the Ravens?
Dealing with the inherent positive but negative challenge of “next man up” with players has been what has kept the Ravens rolling for two decades. Losing Pandi will be difficult, especially with the other potential graduations on the roster.
Alain Louis, Grant Shepard, Ivan Cucak and Cordell Veira all move on from the Ravens after 2022. Although the Ravens have never really operated with a “central figure” style offence, they lose the closest proximity to that in Pandi, along with a starter and some key bench pieces.
What it means for the Ravens likely is that it implies that veterans like Aiden Warnholtz and Biniam Ghebrekidan will be asked to take further steps forward while looking at younger players like Connor Vreeken and Wazir Latiff to take that next step as well.
A week ago, on a confetti-covered floor at the University of Alberta, Lloyd Pandi was straightforward about why players commit to the Carleton program.
“This is what you come to Carleton for,” Pandi said about winning the National title. “To live and experience this type of success.”
Pandi went to the Ravens and experienced that success with accolades and a pair of National Titles, and now it will be up to the Raven program to find the next set of players to keep moving forward.
Cover Photo: Don Voaklander