Week three of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) featured the first school day game on the West Coast with over 3000 students packed inside the Langley Events Centre for an 11:00 AM local start between the scorching hot Hamilton Honey Badgers and the hometown Fraser Valley Bandits.
Over a quarter of the season has been played, 36 out of the 100 regular season games are in the books. An entire new cast of top performing players make their first apperance in the weekly top ten. Only two players make a return from the first two weeks.
A total of five household Canadians get their names buzzing. Jermaine Cole dropped a career-high six points on not one, but two sweet looking three-pointers and took off to handle his concert duties. Drake made another CEBL appearance, sitting court side as two more aspiring ballers put on big perfomances and hit the 35-plus point mark.
Jalen Harris – Scarborough Shooting Stars
We are finally starting to see glimpses and flashes of what the Toronto Raptors executive brass saw in the former second-round pick of the 2020 NBA Draft.
Without Xavier Rathan Mayes in the line-up, Jalen Harris came out hunting for his shot with 16 points in the first-half and lit-up the Newfoundland Growlers with a career-high 38 points in the 99-81 home win.
Harris followed-up his massive scoring performance with his third 20-plus point game of the season to lead the red-hot Shooting Stars past the defending champions Edmonton Stingers for their third straight victory.
June 7 vs. Newfoundland Growlers W, 99-81: 38 points (15/26 FG, 3/9 3FG, 5/6 FT) 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 7 turnovers, 33 minutes
June 11 @ Edmonton Stingers, W, 78-69: 21 points (6/20 FG, 3/9 3FG, 4/4 FT) 1 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 4 turnovers, 31 minutes
Caleb Agada – Hamilton Honey Badgers
Caleb Agada and Hamilton Honey Badgers have established themselves as the top defensive unit in the CEBL. The Steel City team has won five straight double-digit games to improve to a league best 6-1 record and a wide 12.2 point differential.
Agada understood the weekly assignment and turned in two outstanding and one subpar game as the Honey Badgers swept the opposition to open up a gap in the standings.
The former Ottawa Gee-Gees second team All-Canadian guard was in a giving mood, handing out a total of 27 assists across three games this week. Agada dished-out a career best 12 dimes in the blowout win over the Saskatchewan Rattlers.
The two-time, back-to-back U Sports defensive player of the year is averaging 14.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, tied for a league best 6.0 assists and 1.9 steals per game.
June 7 @ Fraser Valley Bandits, W, 80-68: 17 points (7/11 FG, 3/5 3FG, 0/0 FT) 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 28 minutes
June 10 vs. Saskatchewan Rattlers, W, 107-86: 24 points (9/15 FG, 5/6 3FG, 1/1 FT) 7 rebounds, 12 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers, 31 minutes
June 12 vs. Newfoundland Growlers, W, 80-68: 7 points (2/10 FG, 1/6 3FG, 2/2 FT) 5 rebounds, 9 assists, 5 steals, 2 turnovers, 28 minutes
Shaquille Keith – Newfoundland Growlers
Not to be outdone by Jalen Harris’ performance, Shaquille Keith (Toronto, Ont.) went off for 36 points, dropping 17 of his own in the first-half on 6-of-8 shooting against the Scarborough Shooting Stars.
A tough 0-3 week against supreme competition proved too much for the Growlers who are still searching for their first win in franchise history.
The lone Atlantic Canada CEBL franchise, dropped 18-point decision against the improving Scarborough Shooting Stars, lost a 98-97 heartbreaker on the road versus the Niagara River Lions and got blown out at home versus the visiting Hamilton Honey Badgers to drop to 0-5 in the season.
Keith leads the CEBL in steals at 2.8 per game and ranks in the top ten in scoring at 19.2 points per contest.
June 7 @ Scarborough Shooting Stars, L, 99-81: 36 points (13/18 FG, 3/4 3FG, 7/11 FT) 2 rebounds, 1 assists, 4 steals, 36 minutes
June 10 @ Niagara Riverlions, L, 98-97: 10 points (3/7 FG, 0/3 3FG, 4/8 FT) 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 16 minutes
June 12 vs. Hamilton Honey Badgers, L, 80-68: 21 points (6/13 FG, 3/6 3FG, 6/7 FT) 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 turnovers, 31 minutes
Ahmed Hill – Guelph Nighthawks
The case can be made for Guelph having the best back court in the league. On any given night, the combination of Ahmed Hill (Augusta, GA) and Cat Barber (Hampton, VA) can explode for nearly half of the Nighthawks offensive output.
Back for his second CEBL season, the rugged six-foot-five guard is off to a hot start, scoring in double-figures in all of the Nighthawks games this season. The former teammate of Nickeil Alexander-Walker at Virginia Tech hit up the Montreal Alliance with a career best 28 points on 9-of-13 shooting and 3-of-4 from deep.
The Guelph Nighthawks halted a three game losing streak with two much-needed wins to return the team to a respectable 3-3 record.
Hill signed a two-way contract with the Charlotte Hornets in September 2019 and has NBA Summer League experience with the Brooklyn Nets.
June 9 vs. Ottawa Blackjacks, W, 86-79: 16 points (4/12 FG, 2/5 3FG, 6/6 FT) 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 1 turnovers, 31 minutes
June 11 vs. Montreal Alliance, W, 86-84: 28 points (9/13 FG, 3/4 3FG, 7/8 FT) 8 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 30 minutes
Jeremiah Tilmon Jr. – Hamilton Honey Badgers
At just 23 years old, Jeremiah Tilmon Jr. (East St. Louis, IL) is one of the most promising young big men in the CEBL. A strong rim runner that loves to play above the rim, the six-foot-ten forward has solid footwork in the low post, is comfortable in face-up situations and is a threat with the mid-range game.
The former Missouri Tiger has scored in double-figures in six of the Honey Badgers seven games thus far and is shooting 68.9% percent from the floor, good for third best in the entire Canadian Elite Basketball League.
The Honey Badgers fell behind 9-0 to start the game and trailed by double digits in the opening quarter against the Fraser Valley Badgers. Led by strong defensive effort in the paint and the perimeter, Hamilton came all the way back pull out their fifth straight double-digits win.
June 7 @ Fraser Valley Bandits, W, 80-68: 13 points (6/8 FG, 0/0 3FG, 1/2 FT) 9 rebounds, 1 assists, 2 blocks, 36 minutes
June 10 vs. Saskatchewan Rattlers, W, 107-86: 22 points (9/12 FG, 1/1 3FG, 3/6 FT) 11 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 28 minutes
June 12 vs. Newfoundland Growlers, W, 80-68: 17 points (6/8 FG, 0/1 3FG, 5/8 FT) 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, 1 block 28 minutes
Tony Carr – Saskatchewan Rattlers
Tony Carr (Philadelphia, PA) was outstanding once again as the Saskatchewan Rattlers earned a split in their two games this week. The silky smooth guard dropped a pinpoint behind the back assist to help set up the Elam game winner. The Saskatchewan Rattlers rallied from 15 points down to steal an 86-81 road win and sweep the season series over the Niagara River Lions.
Carr, a top 2022 CEBL MVP candidate is averaging 20.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and is tied for top assist leader at 6.0 per game. The 2018 second round pick of the New Orleans Pelicans is shooting 44% percent from the field, 43.3% from three-pointers and a league best 94.4% percent from the foul line.
June 7 vs. Hamilton Honey Badgers, L, 107-86: 20 points (6/11 FG, 2/3 3FG, 6/7 FT) 5 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 turnovers, 36 minutes
June 12 @ Niagara Riverlions, W, 92-89: 25 points (6/12 FG, 3/4 3FG, 10/10 FT) 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers 38 minutes
Shane Gibson – Fraser Valley Bandits
Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) nearly made the cut in week two, and for good reason. The veteran and experienced sharpshooter has been lights out since being inserted into the Fraser Valley starting line-up.
After two games of producing off the bench, the six-foot-two, 32-year-old guard has connected on 21 of his last 42 shots (50%) and has led the Bandits in scoring in two of the last three games.
Gibson scored over 2000 points in four (2008-2013) NCAA seasons for the Sacred Heart Pioneers.
Following his elite collegiate career the American import started his professional basketball career in Canada with the now defunct Halifax Hurricanes of the National Basketball League of Canada.
June 7 vs. Hamilton Honey Badgers, W, 71-70: 22 points (7/11 FG, 4/7 3FG, 2/2 FT) 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 32 minutes
Devonte Bandoo – Saskatchewan Rattlers
Devonte Bandoo (Brampton, Ont.) has scored in double figures in all the Rattlers games and has been one of the most consistent Canadians in the CEBL.
The six-foot-three guard is putting up 14.8 points and 5.5 rebounds and is the third leading Canadian scorer in the league, behind only Shaquille Keith (Newfoundland Growlers) and Murphy Burnatowski (Fraser Valley Bandits).
June 7 vs. Hamilton Honey Badgers, L, 107-86: 21 points (8/16 FG, 5/11 3FG, 0/0 FT) 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 36 minutes
June 12 @ Niagara Riverlions, W, 92-89: 14 points (5/14 FG, 2/9 3FG, 2/2 FT) 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers 31 minutes
AJ Lawson – Guelph Nighthawks
It’s tough to get your name in the weekly top ten performers list when you share back court minutes with arguably the league’s best back court duo.
Not to be outdone by the exceptional work of Cat Barber and Ahmed Hill, guard AJ Lawson (Toronto, Ont.) has been as good any other Canadian player in the CEBL.
The 21-year-old, six-foot-six guard has proved to be a fitting addition to the Nighthawks roster and has scored in double-digits in all but one of the teams first seven games.
June 9 vs. Ottawa Blackjacks, W, 86-79: 15 points (5/11 FG, 1/4 3FG, 4/4 FT) 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 32 minutes
June 11 vs. Montreal Alliance, W, 86-84: 18 points (5/14 FG, 2/9 3FG, 6/6 FT) 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 0 turnovers, 36 minutes
Jordan Baker – Edmonton Stingers
Coach Jordan Baker. Please. It’s fascinating to see Baker continue to play at a high level this late into his basketball career. Baker, a local hoops star who starred for the Alberta Golden Bears and once had a 30 point and 24 rebound outburst leads the Stingers in rebounds, assists, steals and minutes played.
June 6 @ Niagara Riverlions, W, 92-89: 11 points (5/15 FG, 1/5 3FG, 6/6 FT) 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 32 minutes
June 8 vs. Montreal Alliance W, 87-62: 13 points (6/8 FG, 1/2 3FG, 0/2 FT) 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 34 minutes
June 12 vs. Scarborough Shooting Stars, L, 78-69: 2 points (1/6 FG, 0/2 3FG, 0/0 FT) 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 2 turnovers, 28 minutes