From the Canadian Elite Basketball League
NIAGARA, Ont. — The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) announced the results of the 2021 CEBL U SPORTS Draft on Wednesday. The seven CEBL franchises drafted 21 student-athletes from 17 Canadian universities during three rounds of selections. This is a coveted opportunity for top players in U SPORTS to get a taste of professional basketball by practicing and playing alongside veteran pro’s from the NBA, NBA G League, Canadian National team, and top international leagues.
Each team had one pick in each of the three rounds, selecting in inverse order of their finish in the 2020 CEBL Summer Series, with the Saskatchewan Rattlers holding the first pick. Saskatchewan used that pick on Nervens Demosthene, a third year 6-foot-2 guard from the Bishop’s Gaiters, who was a RSEQ 1st team All-Star and RSEQ champion in 2019-20.
The Niagara River Lions tabbed Emmanuel Owoo-Toah, who won two U SPORTS national championships with Carleton University before completing his university career at Brock in 2021, with the second pick of the first round. The River Lions had also selected Owoo-Toah in the first round of the 2020 CEBL U SPORTS Draft. The Guelph Nighthawks then followed with Isiah Osborne, who was also part of two national title winners with Carleton.
The Ottawa BlackJacks picked Laurier’s Ali Sow fourth overall. Sow, an OUA First Team All-Star in 2018-19, was picked 12th overall in the 2020 CEBL U SPORTS Draft by Guelph. The Hamilton Honey Badgers selected 6-foot-4 guard and 2019 AUS Male Athlete of the Year, Keevan Veinot of Dalhousie University fifth, before the Fraser Valley Bandits added Anthony Tsegakele from Brandon University. The Edmonton Stingers closed out the opening round by drafting Alex Carson, also from Dalhousie, seventh overall.
Another notable pick in the 2021 CEBL U SPORTS Draft came when the Niagara River Lions called the name of 2020 CEBL – U SPORTS Player of the Year, Lloyd Pandi, with the 13th overall selection. A second-year guard from Carleton University and the youngest player in the 2020 CEBL Summer Series, Pandi averaged 8.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 22.0 minutes in six games with the expansion Ottawa BlackJacks in 2020. The 6-foot-4 native of Ottawa led his hometown team in steals, field goal percentage, and offensive rebounds while finishing fifth in points scored for the BlackJacks.
CEBL clubs have a choice of carrying one U SPORTS player on their 10-man active roster as either a developmental player returning to school after the completion of the 2021 CEBL season or as a current year graduate who has concluded his university career. All 21 draftees are classified as developmental players, as no eligibility was consumed during the 2020-21 season due to the cancellation of the national champions.
The complete 2021 CEBL U SPORTS Draft results are below:
1 (1) – Saskatchewan Rattlers: Nervens Demosthene (Bishop’s Gaiters)
1 (2) – Niagara River Lions: Emmanuel Owootoah (Brock Badgers)
1 (3) – Guelph Nighthawks: Isiah Osborbe (Carleton Ravens)
1 (4) – Ottawa BlackJacks: Ali Sow (Laurier Golden Hawks)
1 (5) – Hamilton Honey Badgers: Keevan Veinot (Dalhousie Tigers)
1 (6) – Fraser Valley Bandits: Anthony Tsegakele (Brandon Bobcats)
1 (7) – Edmonton Stingers: Alex Carson (Dalhousie Tigers)
2 (8) – Edmonton Stingers: DeAndrae Pierre (York Lions)
2 (9) – Fraser Valley Bandits: Adam Paige (Alberta Golden Bears)
2 (10) – Hamilton Honey Badgers: Thomas Kennedy (Windsor Lancers)
2 (11) – Ottawa BlackJacks: Guillaume Pepin (Ottawa Gee-Gees)
2 (12) – Guelph Nighthawks: Jordan Henry (McMaster Marauders)
2 (13) – Niagara River Lions: Lloyd Pandi (Carleton Ravens)
2 (14) – Saskatchewan Rattlers: Alexander Dewar (Saskatchewan Huskies)
3 (15) – Saskatchewan Rattlers: Tyrese Potoma (Saskatchewan Huskies)
3 (16) – Niagara River Lions: Grant Shephard (Carleton Ravens)
3 (17) – Guelph Nighthawks: Cole Long (Memorial Sea-hawks)
3 (18) – Ottawa BlackJacks: Graddy Kanku (Ontario Tech Ridgebacks)
3 (19) – Hamilton Honey Badgers: Mychael Paulo (McMaster Marauders)
3 (20) – Fraser Valley Bandits: Grant Audu (UBC Thunderbirds)
3 (21) – Edmonton Stingers: Colton Gibb (Lethbridge Pronghorns)
The CEBL led the NHL, and later the CPL in returning to play in Canada after the coronavirus shut down the sports world in March of 2020. The CEBL Summer Series put professional basketball on the television and digital screens of millions of viewers across Canada and around the world, establishing the league as the top Canadian-based global team sports brand. The 2021 season, set to start June 5, will build on that momentum with an expanded viewing audience around the world, and locally through an innovative approach to addressing the uncertainties due to the pandemic around having fans in arenas across the league.
A league created by Canadians for Canadians, the CEBL has the highest percentage of Canadian players of any professional league in the country, with 80 percent of its 2020 rosters being Canadians. Players come from the NBA G League, top international leagues, the Canadian National team program, and top NCAA and U SPORTS programs. It uses FIBA (International Basketball Federation) rules, and player and referee standards set by its partner, Canada Basketball. The CEBL became the first professional basketball league in the world to use the Elam Ending in FIBA competition when it incorporated the innovative conclusion into all of its games during the 2020 CEBL Summer Series.
- T. Bennett