Edmonton Stingers guard Xavier Moon has been named the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s first-ever Player of the Year.
Moon, who led the Stingers in scoring (19.9 points per game), assists (5.8) and three-point percentage (43.1), edged out Hamilton Honey Badgers Ricky Tarrant Jr. to win the award.
Both Moon and Tarrant Jr. were also named to the inaugural CEBL All-Star First Team.
Moon guided the Stingers to a 14-6 record and second place in the CEBL regular season, one game behind the first-place Niagara River Lions.
The 6-foot-2 guard from Goodwater, Alabama, will also be crucial to Edmonton’s success in the four-team CEBL championship tourney this weekend in Saskatoon.
Moon is no stranger to Canada — he played 40 games this season for the London (Ontario) Lightning of the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC).
He joined the Stingers May 10, after London’s first-round loss to the Kitchener-Waterloo Titans in the first round of the NBLC playoffs.
Canadian Player of the Year
Guillaume Payen-Boucard, at 6-foot-6 forward from Montreal, was named the CEBL’s first Canadian Player of the Year.
He led the Niagara River Lions in scoring (15.9 ppg), minutes (31) and offensive rebounding (2.0) and was also named to the CEBL All-Star First Team.
Stingers forward Jordan Baker was also a finalist for the award, averaging 13.9 points and a league-leading 9.3 rebounds per game.
Baker was also a Second Team all-star.
Defensive Player of the Year
Samuel Muldrow, a 6-foot-10 guard from Florence, S.C., was the CEBL’s leading shot-blocker this season, averaging 2.1 per game for the Niagara River Lions.
The league recognized him with its first-ever Defensive Player of the Year, edging out Marlon Johnson of the Saskatchewan Rattlers.
Muldrow set a single-game record with eight blocks July 20 against the Fraser Valley (B.C.) River Bandits.
Coach of the Year
Niagara River Lions head coach Victor Raso was recognized as the league’s first Coach of the Year.
Raso led the River Lions to a lead-best 15-5 record and never lost consecutive games. Niagara averaged 100.2 points per game and led the league in most other statistical categories.
No other CEBL team averaged more than 100 points this season.
Stingers coach and general manager Jermaine Small was also a finalist for Coach of the Year after leading his team to a 10-2 record.
U Sports Player of the Year
Stingers forward forward Brody Clarke was listed the top U Sports athlete in the CEBL this season averaging 5.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in six games.
U Sports has a development agreement with the CEBL that allows its athletes to play with CEBL teams during the university off-season.
All-Star First Team
C – Samuel Muldrow (Niagara)
F – Guillaume Payen-Boucard (Niagara)
F – Travis Daniels (Edmonton)
G – Ricky Tarrant Jr. (Hamilton)
G – Xavier Moon (Edmonton
All-Star Second Team
C – Marlon Johnson (Saskatchewan)
F- Jordan Baker (Edmonton)
F – Tavrion Dawson (Saskatchewan)
G – Marek Klassen (Fraser Valley)
G – Trae Bell-Haynes (Niagara)
Ottawa BlackJacks hire Dave Smart as General Manager
It was only a matter of time for Dave Smart to get back in the game.
Truthfully, he really never left.
Bored and tired of beating up and winning championships at the Canadian U Sports basketball level — Smart shocked the nation by announcing his coaching retirement a week after winning his 14th title in 19 years with the Carleton Ravens.
Now, nine months after walking way from the coaching bench, Smart will take on a new challenge in the role of General Manager with the upstart Ottawa BlackJacks franchise of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL).
When it was announced that the City of Ottawa was awarded a professional basketball team less than month ago — many pointed and wondered to what capacity the sure-shot future Canadian Basketball hall-famer would have with the organization. After all, you don’t just walk into one of Canada’s biggest basketball markets and set-up a franchise without consulting with, and getting the blessing of one of the games’ sharpest minds.
With the BlackJacks, Smart will take on a executive role with club, and much like his current leadership position with the Carleton Ravens — he will be responsible for the day-to-day basketball operations of the CEBL’s 7th franchise.
“Creating a professional basketball program is an exciting challenge. Our city and the thousands of basketball fans deserve a team. I am honoured to be the first general manager in franchise history and look forward to seeing many familiar faces represent the Ottawa BlackJacks as the season unfolds. I am thankful to Carleton University for allowing me to accept this opportunity while continuing my role with the university.” stated Smart at a press conference at the TD Place, the of home the BlackJacks.
With his roots firmly cemented in the Ottawa basketball region since the mid 1990’s and a unprecedented dynasty and winning culture — which he built from scratch less than five kilometers from TD Place at Carleton University. It’s early days in the new venture, but it’s fair to say that the BlackJacks have made their first smart decision towards establishing the team as a potential powerhouse in Canada’s Elite Basketball League.
“The Ottawa BlackJacks welcome the most successful basketball leader in Canada. Throughout his illustrious career, Dave Smart has developed a basketball program that is the envy of university sport throughout the world. Dave will help create a winning environment in Ottawa as we build together the foundation of this franchise. The professional basketball landscape is filled with alumni of Dave Smart and the Carleton Ravens. We thank Carleton University for their commitment to the community. There is no better person to orchestrate a winning team. As the BlackJacks strive to be champions in the community and on the court, we just took the best first step.” added Michael Cvitkovic, Interim President of the BlackJacks.
With the season just five months away the team has quite a bit of work to do as it gets set to kick-off it’s inaugural game on road against the Niagara River Lions on May 7, 2020. The home-opener is set for a week later on May 14th against the Hamilton Honey Badgers.
The next major announcements will be the BlackJacks head coach and staff, followed by player announcements and various other community initiatives.
CEBL’s Fraser Valley Bandits recruit Kyle Julius as new coach and GM
In locker rooms and on sidelines around the world, players have heard Kyle Julius’ earnest, animated admonitions to work their tails off and to fall in love with winning.
A video announcing the former U Sports standout as the new head coach and general manager of the CEBL’s Fraser Valley Bandits found Julius ranting about focus.
“If you can’t focus, you can’t play!” he yelled.
Another clip found him speaking in steady, placid tones about how winning makes everything worthwhile
“When you fall in love with winning, the pain and all that other stuff becomes part of the process,” he said. “You start to enjoy it.”
Julius, who grew up in Thunder Bay, Ont., and was an OUA All Star with the Guelph Gryphons, joins the CEBL after a coaching stint in Taiwan’s ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).
He previously led the London Lightning of the NBL Canada to a league championship in 2017, winning coach of the year that season.
In between, he spent three years as coach of the Saigon Heat in Vietnam, becoming the team’s all-time winningest coach and turning them into an ABL contender.
“I have been blessed with some incredible coaching opportunities all around the world in the past few years and a chance to join the Fraser Valley Bandits is another fortunate blessing,” said Julius in a statement.
“I want the fans to know that I will pour my heart and soul into our team, our players and basketball development in the region.”
Julius parlayed his elite shooting skill into a NCAA Division I roster spot at Furman University in South Carolina, where he played two seasons, averaging eight points in about 17 minutes per game. He transferred to Guelph and became an OUA All-Star and Second Team All-Canadian during the 2003-04 season before playing overseas in Italy and earning a spot with Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team in 2005.
Canada didn’t have a professional league when Julius retired as a player in 2009, but he quickly found a coaching foothold in the NBL Canada with the Mississauga Power and later the Lightning, where he set multiple league records.
He returns to Canada in an attempt to revive the Bandits, who finished last in the CEBL last season with a 4-16 record.
That was a theme of his coaching stint in Asia, and his high-intensity style may be a boon to the only pro franchise in British Columbia’s rich basketball culture.
“Our practices will always be open to coaches and young players for learning opportunities and growth,” he said.
“I look forward to an awesome summer of growing the game in British Columbia and competing at the highest levels of the CEBL.”
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