Week two of the 2022 CEBL season provided plenty of fireworks. Intriguing cross-country matchups, featuring all ten teams, across eleven games, provided an opportunity for players to create early separation and distinguish themselves from the pack.
All eyes were on the Scarborough Shooting Stars ‘ends’ and their star-studded home opener at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.
At the intersection of hoops and culture, the Shooting Stars ownership and marketing team flexed their creative prowess with the fitting unveiling of their “One time for the endsss” slogan. Covering the entire backend, the visual provided the perfect backdrop for the sold out, standing room only crowd.
Rocking a J. Cole Shooting Stars jersey, Canadian icon Drake took in his first CEBL experience, sitting courtside to support his good friend Jermaine Cole. Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes and Utah Jazz guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker also sat court side to witness professional basketball in Scarborough.
In the East Coast, the Newfoundland Growlers made their CEBL debut with a pair of exciting home games and a record setting scoring performance in only their second game. Overall, four players that were featured in week one make a return appearance. Six newcomers, including three Canadians, make their mark in this week’s edition.
Brandon Sampson – Newfoundland Growlers
The Newfoundland Growlers made their CEBL debut with a growling start. Six-foot-five guard Brandon Sampson (Baton Rouge, LA) scored the first two points in franchise history on a sweet rim-rocking alley-oop dunk against the Edmonton Stingers. The 25-year-old, former Louisiana State University guard wasted no time adding his name to the CEBL record books with a remarkable 42 point performance to set the CEBL scoring mark in an 86-85 loss to the Ottawa Blackjacks
June 3 vs Edmonton Stingers, L, 89-74: 20 points (8/15 FG, 3/7 3FG, 1/2 FT) 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 37 minutes
June 5 vs. Ottawa Blackjacks, W, 86-85: 42 points (13/18 FG, 4/5 3FG, 12/13 FT) 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 1 turnover, 28 minutes
Khalil Ahmed – Niagara River Lions
Four games into the CEBL season, it’s evident that the Niagara River Lions and Khalil Ahmed (Corona, CA) have established themselves as top contenders for potential late season hardware. Ahmed scored 33 points to record his second 30-point outburst of the season as the River Lions proved too much for the reeling Guelph Nighthawks.
Four days later, showcasing his passing ability, Ahmed dished out a season high nine assists as the River Lions dispatched the visiting Montreal Alliance by 25 points to improve to 3-1.
May 31 @ Guelph Nighthawks, W, 89-80: 33 points (11/16 FG, 6/9 3FG, 5/6 FT) 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 5 turnovers, 29 minutes
June 3 vs. Montreal Alliance W, 87-62: 14 points (6/15 FG, 2/7 3FG, 4/6 FT) 4 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals 2 turnovers, 34 minutes
Christian Vital – Hamilton Honey Badgers
Fresh off an NBA G league championship with the Rio Grande Valley, Christian Vital (Hollis, NY) is just starting to find his groove in the Canadian Elite Basketball League. Vital connected on 4-of-5 three pointers in the first quarter, finished with a team-high 27 points as the Hamilton Honey Badgers spoiled the Scarborough Shooting Stars star-studded home debut.
May 26 @ Guelph Nighthawks, W, 103-85: 21 points (9/25 FG, 2/8 3FG, 1/3 FT) 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 21 minutes
June 4 @ Scarborough Shooting Stars W, 84-69: 27 points (10/22 FG, 5/14 3FG, 2/2 FT) 6 rebounds, 1 assists, 4 steals, 2 turnovers, 32 minutes
Cat Barber – Guelph Nighthawks
It was a rough week for the Guelph Nighthawks. Royal City went 0-3 against a trio of formidable opponents with 2022 CEBL Championship Weekend aspirations. Cat Barber’s 29 points in 28 minutes kept the Nighthawks within striking distance at home versus the Niagara River Lions. Two 20-point road losses in Hamilton and Montreal dropped Guelph to 1-3 on the season.
May 31 vs. Niagara Riverlions, L, 95-84: 29 points (11/20 FG, 2/6 3FG, 5/5 FT) 1 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 turnovers, 28 minutes
June 2 vs. Hamilton Honey Badgers, L, 103-85: 25 points (7/12 FG, 2/5 3FG, 9/10 FT) 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 9 turnovers, 37 minutes
June 5 @ Montreal Alliance, L, 94-74: 14 points (5/17 FG, 2/8 3FG, 2/2 FT) 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 turnovers, 38 minutes
Xavier Rathan-Mayes – Scarborough Shooting Stars
A bonafide natural scorer since his high school days at Huntington Prep, Xavier Rathan-Mayes (Scarborough, Ont.) has carved himself a rewarding pro career. Following a successful four-years under head coach Leonard Hamilton at Florida State, the Canadian guard spent the 2021-22 season hooping for the Illawarra Hawks of the Australian National Basketball League.
In dire need of a win after starting the season 0-2 on the road, the Shooting Stars road trip hit the nation’s capital. Playing for the first time in Ottawa, Rathan-Mayes racked up a near double-double with 14 points, 9 assists to help Scarborough pick-up their first win in franchise history.
With a packed house and Drake sitting courtside, Rathan-Mayes put on a show for the sold out celebrity crowd with 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting.
June 2 @ Ottawa Blackjacks, W, 98-81: 14 points (6/13 FG, 2/6 3FG, 3/4 FT) 2 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 turnovers, 35 minutes
June 4 vs. Hamilton Honey Badgers, L, 84-69: 28 points (9/17 FG, 2/7 3FG, 8/9 FT) 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 7 turnovers, 33 minutes
Tony Carr – Saskatchewan Rattlers
June 1 vs. Fraser Valley Bandits, W, 95-84: 25 points (9/16 FG, 3/5 3FG, 4/4 FT) 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 36 minutes
June 4 @ Fraser Valley Bandits, L, 90-78: 15 points (5/15 FG, 1/5 3FG, 4/5 FT) 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 38 minutes
Deng Adel – Ottawa Blackjacks
It was business as usual for Deng Adel. The Ottawa Blackjacks 0-3 start to the 2022 CEBL season forced general manager Jevohn Shepherd to take action. In his first major shake-up since being hired, the young general manager relieved head coach Charles Dubé-Brais of his coaching duties.
Shepherd appointed Ottawa Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin as interim coach and the Blackjacks announced the hiring of David DeAverio, the current
Ryerson Toronto Metropolitan University Rams men’s basketball head coach, as a lead assistant.
A multi-dimension player that can get his own shot and facilitate for his team, Adel closed out the Newfoundland Growlers to give the Blackjacks a one-point win and a successful professional coaching debut for Derouin.
June 2 vs. Scarborough Shooting Stars L, 98-81: 18 points (7/13 FG, 2/4 3FG, 2/4 FT) 6 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 turnovers, 36 minutes
June 5 @ Newfoundland Growlers W, 86-85: 20 points (8/13 FG, 3/3 3FG, 1/2 FT) 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 8 turnovers, 33 minutes
Thomas Kennedy – Fraser Valley Bandits
Four games into his third CEBL season, Thomas Kennedy (Windsor, Ont.) has established himself as the leading candidate for the 2022 CEBL U Sports player of the year. The Fraser Valley Bandits split a pair of home/away games with the Saskatchewan Rattlers.
The 2022 U Sports first-team All-Canadian has hit double digits scoring in his last three games on 69% percent shooting. A force on the glass, Kennedy currently ranks in the top five in rebounds at 8.3 per game.
June 1 @ Saskatchewan Rattlers, L, 86-77: 13 points (6/7 FG, 0/0 3FG, 1/2 FT) 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 23 minutes
June 4 vs. Saskatchewan Rattlers, W, 90-78: 18 points (8/11 FG, 0/0 3FG, 2/3 FT) 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 32 minutes
Murphy Burnatowski – Fraser Valley Bandits
Murphy Burnatowski (Kitchener, Ont.) continued his stellar start to the season with 27 points to tie a career-best seven three-pointers in the 90-78 win over the Saskatchewan Rattlers. The 31-year-old sharpshooter is a difference maker for the Fraser Valley Bandits, who are off to a 3-1 start to the 2022 season.
June 1 @ Saskatchewan Rattlers, L, 86-77: 8 points (2/9 FG, 2/6 3FG, 2/2 FT) 1 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 23 minutes
June 4 vs. Saskatchewan Rattlers, W, 90-78: 27 points (10/17 FG, 7/12 3FG, 0/0 FT) 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 32 minutes
Isiah Osborne – Montreal Alliance
Isiah Osborne delivered two efficient games to help the Montreal Alliance maintain a 3-2 winning record after the first five games in the league. Osborne swatted five shots and knocked down seven triples in two game split.
June 3 @ Niagara Riverlions, L, 87-62: 15 points (6/11 FG, 3/8 3FG, 0/0 FT) 6 rebounds, 1 assists, 3 blocks, 1 turnover, 24 minutes
June 5 vs. Guelph Nighthawks, W, 94-67: 20 points (8/13 FG, 4/8 3FG, 0/0 FT) 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 29 minutes