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2024 CEBL Draft Recap: U Sports athletes get their shot to go pro

The CEBL Draft 2024 logo in black and gold
(Image via CEBL.ca)

BY: ELI SILVERSTONE


The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) and U Sports university basketball have a partnership where teams can sign top U Sports student-athletes after their university season is completed in March to play during the May-August CEBL season. The partnership was announced in 2019 and the 2024 draft was the sixth of its kind. 


Though playing time is hard to come by as rosters are full of older, more experienced professionals, the league provides great development opportunities for U Sports athletes. Some have played in the league before but others are taking their first steps into a professional career.


Let’s have a look at the results of the 2024 CEBL-U Sports draft.


ROUND 1

PICK

TEAM

PLAYER

SCHOOL

1

Montréal Alliance

Ismaël Diouf

Laval University (U SPORTS)

2

Brampton Honey Badgers

Callum Baker

University of Toronto (U SPORTS)

3

Saskatchewan Rattlers

Elias Ralph

University of Victoria (U SPORTS)

4

Vancouver Bandits

Adam Olsen

University of British Columbia (U SPORTS)

5

Edmonton Stingers

Aaron Rhooms

Toronto Metropolitan University (U SPORTS)

6

Scarborough Shooting Stars

Malcolm Christie

Dalhousie University (U SPORTS)

7

Ottawa BlackJacks

Dragan Stajic

University of Ottawa (U SPORTS)

8

Winnipeg Sea Bears

Simon Hildebrandt

University of Manitoba (U SPORTS)

9

Calgary Surge

Dondre Reddick

St. Francis Xavier University (U SPORTS)

10

Niagara River Lions

Jordan Tchuente

Brock University (U SPORTS)


  1. Montreal Alliance select Ismaël Diouf from Laval University


After a rough 11-29 record through their first two seasons in the CEBL, Montreal will be adding a 2024 U-Sports national champion in Diouf. The 6’9 forward/center was a catalyst all season for the Rouge et Or and dropped 26 points and 12 assists in the championship game against the Queens Gaels to take home the tournament MVP. Diouf is one of three local players Montreal selected in the three-round draft, along with Bahaïde Haïdara (Round 2, born in Montréal) and Renoldo Robinson (Round 3, born in Montréal). 


  1. Brampton Honey Badgers select Callum Baker from University of Toronto


After being selected 11th overall by Brampton last year, Baker’s back for the summer again. Baker was the fifth player in CEBL history to start a playoff game as a current U Sports athlete, scoring a career-high 16 points vs. Scarborough in the Eastern Conference Quarter-final. Baker racked up awards this past year at U of T—including Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Player of the Year—and led the OUA in scoring. He could surely make a difference for the Honey Badgers again this year.


  1. Saskatchewan Rattlers select Elias Ralph from University of Victoria


Ralph was a 2024 Canada West Second Team All-Star and is a three-time Canada West Champion (2022, 2023, 2024) with the Vikes. The 6’7 guard brings a unique skill set as he averaged 15.8 points and 8.2 rebounds and shot 40% from beyond the arc last season for UVic.


  1. Vancouver Bandits select Adam Olsen from University of British Columbia


Born in Surrey, BC and playing for UBC, Olsen won’t have to move far to play for Vancouver. As a freshman at UBC, Olsen was named to the Canada West all-rookie team. It is rare for freshmen to go this high in the CEBL draft but Olsen will be a good developmental piece for a Bandits team that just missed the finals last season.


  1. Edmonton Stingers select Aaron Rhooms from Toronto Metropolitan University


After getting drafted by Scarborough in the second round last year, Rhooms had a fantastic season at TMU, shooting up draft boards. Rhooms averaged 16.7 points and nearly 8 rebounds a game, leading TMU in both categories. The 2022 U Sports Rookie of the Year will now look to help Edmonton make a deep playoff push this summer.


  1. Scarborough Shooting Stars select Malcolm Christie from Dalhousie University


The reigning CEBL champs will look for some help from the 2023-34 Atlantic University Sport (AUS) MVP and U Sports First Team All-Canadian. The third-year guard averaged 22 points per game last season for the Dalhousie Tigers. Joining him for the trip down to Scarborough from the Maritimes is Koat Thomas, the AUS Rookie of the Year, who the Shooting Stars selected in the second round. 


  1. Ottawa Backjacks select Dragan Stajic from University of Ottawa


Yet another hometown selection, Stajic is an all-around talent from the point guard position, averaging nearly 8 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists for the GeeGees this past season. The Blackjacks were the second seed in the Eastern Conference last year but flopped out of the playoffs, so adding steady point guard play from Stajic should help them get over the hump.


  1. Winnipeg Sea Bears select Simon Hildebrandt from University of Manitoba


A returning Sea Bear, Hildebrandt won the CEBL award for best U Sports player in the league last year. Hildebrand was one of only four Sea Bears players to touch the court in every game last year, having averaged 5.9 points. The second-year forward averaged  16.1 points for his Manitoba Bisons this year, a slight step back from 2022-23, though the team also took a step back.


  1. Calgary Surge select Dondre Reddick from St. Francis Xavier University


Last year's CEBL runner-ups, Calgary will enjoy Reddick’s shooting efficiency—the 6'3 guard shot 48% from the field, and 42% from three last year for the X-Men. An AUS First Team All-Star last season, Reddick poured in 16.9 points a night and finished top 10 in defensive rebounds in the AUS. He will now look to make his mark on a professional court.


  1.  Niagara River Lions select Jordan Tchuente from Brock University 


After being Niagara’s second-round pick last year, Tchuente led his 10th-seed Brock Badgers to three big upsets in the OUA playoffs, cementing him as a first-rounder. Tchuente is a physical presence down low, leading the OUA in rebounds at 9.1 boards a game, finishing ninth in the country. The fourth-year forward will look to play an important role for last year's top-seeded River Lions. 


Round 2 and 3 notable selections

  • The Niagara River Lions drafted 2024 U SPORTS Defensive Player of the Year Luka Syllas from Queen’s University with the 11th overall pick. His brother Cole, who scored the national championship-winning basket on home court, went eight picks later to the Brampton Honey Badgers

  • Niagara also selected Jerry Jr. Mercury out of Mohawk College with the 30th overall selection, making him the league’s first-ever CCAA (Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association) draft pick.

  • TMU’s David Walker was selected 22nd overall by Brampton. He’ll look to build off his rookie season last year in Scarborough as questions remain about his U Sports future


Other hometown selections included:

  • Ottawa Blackjacks selected Justin Ndjock-Tadjoré from the University of Ottawa (Pick 14).

  • Montréal Alliance selected Bahaïde Haïdara from Université du Québec à Montréal (Pick 20).

  • Vancouver Bandits selected Connor Platz from Trinity Western University (Pick 24) 

  • Edmonton Stingers selected Nate Petrone from University of Calgary (Pick 25).

  • Winnipeg Sea Bears selected Shawn Maranan from University of Winnipeg (Pick 28).

  • Calgary Surge selected Noah Wharton from University of Calgary (Pick 29).




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