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Edmonton makes Ambanza first-round selection in inaugural CEBL draft

Wesmen guard Narcisse Ambanza was selected by the Edmonton Stingers during the inaugural Canadian Elite Basketball League draft on Saturday. (David Larkins/Wesmen Athletics file)
Wesmen guard Narcisse Ambanza was selected by the Edmonton Stingers during the inaugural Canadian Elite Basketball League draft on Saturday. (David Larkins/Wesmen Athletics file)

Winnipeg Wesmen guard Narcisse Ambanza will have a chance to play pro basketball in an upstart Canadian league this summer.

Ambanza, a third-year guard from Toronto, was selected by the Edmonton Stingers in the first round, fifth overall of the U Sports rounds in the Canadian Elite Basketball League it was announced Saturday.

Ambanza was one of 37 current or former U Sports players picked in the draft for the CEBL, which will begin play in May in six cities. The draft was broken into three categories: Regional Rounds, where players from team's selected players from their respective areas; Open Rounds, where teams were allowed to select players from any area; and U Sports Rounds, where current Canadian university players were selected. 

Ambanza, who was named the Wesmen male athlete of the year last week, had a career year averaging more than 18 points, six rebounds and six assists per game in being named a second-team all-Canada West all-star. 

The Stingers will be coached by current Alberta Golden Bears head coach, and former Wesmen assistant, Barnaby Craddock. 

Former Wesmen forward Jelane Pryce was also selected Saturday, going to the Saskatchewan Rattlers in the second round and ninth overall of the Regional Rounds.

Regional Rounds:

The first four rounds of the draft had a regional focus as CEBL teams selected players from their respective territories, allowing each team to have a nucleus of players from its own region.

Round 1

1.    Fraser Valley Bandits: Joel Friesen, University of Alberta / University of the Fraser Valley (Hometown: Abbotsford, BC)

2.    Edmonton Stingers: Mamadou Gueye, University of Alberta (Hometown: Quebec City, QC)

3.    Guelph Nighthawks: Connor Wood, Carleton University (Hometown: Guelph, ON)

4.    Saskatchewan Rattlers: Denzel James, MacEwan University (Hometown: Edmonton, AB)

5.    Hamilton Honey Badgers: MiKyle McIntosh, University of Oregon (Hometown: Toronto, ON)

6.    Niagara River Lions: Kaza Kajami-Keane, Carleton University (Hometown: Ajax, ON)

Round 2

1.    Niagara River Lions: Kassius Robertson, Missouri State University (Hometown: Toronto, ON)

2.    Hamilton Honey Badgers: Erik Nissen, Acadia University (Hometown: Quispamsis, NB)

3.    Saskatchewan Rattlers: Jelane Pryce, University of Winnipeg / Ryerson University (Hometown: Innisfil, ON)

4.    Guelph Nighthawks: Jevohn Shepherd, Michigan State University (Hometown: Toronto, ON)

5.    Edmonton Stingers: Mathieu Kamba, Central Arkansas University (Hometown: Calgary, AB)

6.    Fraser Valley Bandits: Marek Klassen, Point Loma Nazarene University (Hometown: Abbotsford, BC)

Round 3:

1.    Fraser Valley Bandits: Diego Kapelan, McNeese State University (Hometown: Vancouver, BC)

2.    Edmonton Stingers: Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, University of Calgary (Hometown: Winnipeg, MB)

3.    Guelph Nighthawks: Marvin Binney, St. Mary's University, Texas (Hometown: Toronto, ON)

4.    Saskatchewan Rattlers: Justus Alleyn, University of Manitoba (Hometown: Winnipeg, MB)

5.    Hamilton Honey Badgers: Duane Notice, University of South Carolina (Hometown: Toronto, ON)

6.    Niagara River Lions: Guillaume Boucard, Carleton University (Hometown: Montreal, QC)

Round 4:

1.    Niagara River Lions: Tyrone Watson, New Mexico State University (Hometown: Hamilton, ON)

2.    Hamilton Honey Badgers: Junior Cadougan, Marquette University (Hometown: Toronto, ON)

3.    Saskatchewan Rattlers: Thomas Cooper, University of Calgary (Hometown: Chattanooga, Tennessee)

4.    Guelph Nighthawks: Emanual Shepherd, Southern University (Hometown: Toronto, ON)

5.    Edmonton Stingers: Jordan Baker, University of Alberta (Hometown: Edmonton, AB)

6.    Fraser Valley Bandits: Dallin Bachynski, University of Utah (Calgary, AB)

Open Rounds:

Commencing with Round Five, the draft opened up for all teams to select players from any region of the world. The following were the players drafted by each team in the open rounds:

Fraser Valley Bandits:

•           Ransford Brempong, Western Carolina University

•           Rashaun Broadus, Brigham Young University

•           Elijah Foster, University of Nevada

•           Troy Gottselig, University of Saskatchewan

•           Maurice Jones, Northwest Nazarene University

•           Levon Kendall, University of Pittsburgh

•           Conor Morgan, University of British Columbia

Edmonton Stingers:

•           Corey Allmond, Sam Houston State University

•           Akeem Ellis, Coppin State University

•           Grandy Glaze, Grand Canyon University

•           Greg Morrow, Western University

•           Christian Musoko, Southern Utah University

•           Adika Peter-McNeilly, Ryerson University

•           Ashton Smith, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Guelph Nighthawks:

•           Chris Johnson, St. Bonaventure University

•           Myck Kabongo, University of Texas

•           Abednego Lufile, Arkansas Tech

•           Chadrack Lufile, Wichita State University

•           Meshack Lufile, Cape Breton University

•           Jamal Reynolds, Canisius College

•           Marvell Waithe, University of Arkansas

Saskatchewan Rattlers:

•           Kevin Bercy, St. Francis Xavier University

•           Alex Campbell, University of Windsor

•           Michael Linklater, University of Saskatchewan

•           Shane Osayande, University of Saskatchewan

•           Chad Posthumus, Morehead State University

•           Gentrey Thomas, University of California, Riverside

•           Terry Thomas, University of Ottawa / St. Francis Xavier University

Hamilton Honey Badgers:

•           Murphy Burnatowski, Colgate University

•           Derek Cooke Jr., University of Wyoming

•           Justin Edwards, Kansas State University

•           Ryan Ejim, Carleton University / York University

•           Shaquille Keith, Cape Breton University

•           Joe Rocca, Carleton University / McMaster University

•           Tramar Sutherland, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Niagara River Lions:

•           Julian Boyd, Long Island University Brooklyn

•           Rayvon Higdon, Redeemer University College

•           Alex Johnson, North Carolina State University

•           Joel Kindred, Saint Augustine's University

•           Nem Mitrovic, University of Portland

•           Jaylon Tate, University of Illinois

•           Ryan Wright, Oklahoma State University


The rising stars of tomorrow – these rounds saw teams select emerging Canadian basketball talent currently playing in U SPORTS programs across Canada.

Round 1

  1. Niagara River Lions: Fil Vujadinovic, Ryerson University
  2. Hamilton Honey Badgers: Connor Gilmore, McMaster University
  3. Saskatchewan Rattlers: Chan De Ciman, University of Saskatchewan
  4. Guelph Nighthawks: Malcolm Glanville, University of Guelph
  5. Edmonton Stingers: Narcisse Ambanza, University of Winnipeg
  6. Fraser Valley Bandits: Mason Bourcier, University of British Columbia

Round 2

  1. Fraser Valley Bandits: Grant Shephard, University of British Columbia
  2. Edmonton Stingers: Brody Clarke, University of Alberta
  3. Guelph Nighthawks: Myles Charvis, Ryerson University
  4. Saskatchewan Rattlers: Jean-Victor Mukama, Ryerson University
  5. Hamilton Honey Badgers: Thomas Kennedy, University of Windsor
  6. Niagara River Lions: Tyler Brown, Brock University

 "It gives me immense pleasure to see such amazing talent represent the league and its six teams," CEBL CEO Mike Morreale said. "Congratulations to all the players who got drafted – it's a historic time for a Canadian basketball fan."

The CEBL, the official professional league partner of Canada Basketball, opens its inaugural season in May with franchises in Fraser Valley (Abbotsford), Edmonton, Guelph, Hamilton, Saskatchewan (Saskatoon), and Niagara (St. Catharines). CEBL teams will play a 20-game regular season from May 9 to August 15, culminating with a league championship playoff at a site to be announced.

"This is going to give our Canadian based student-athletes in basketball a real opportunity to continue to play at an elite level," U Sports president and CEO Graham Brown said. "Now with the CEBL, you can pursue both during the offseason and when your schooling is done, opportunities beyond U Sports basketball."


— With files from U Sports/CEBL