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The latest infusion of U Sports talent is on its way to the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL).
St. Francis Xavier University forward David Muenkat was selected first overall by the expansion Scarborough Shooting Stars in the CEBL U Sports draft, the league announced on Tuesday.
The Montreal Alliance, another new team, picked Carleton's Alain Louis — a Montreal native — second overall, while the third expansion club, the Newfoundland Growlers, took St. John's native Cole Long of Memorial University with the third pick.
CEBL commissioner Mike Morreale said the draft class, featuring 20 players from 19 different universities across two round, was "exceptional."
"U Sports programs continue to develop some of our country's best players, and we can't wait for these rising stars to play alongside top professional talent from around the world," Morreale said. "We hope that opportunities like this continue to help forge future pro basketball stars who can represent Canada domestically and on the world stage."
Pandi returns to River Lions
Carleton guard Lloyd Pandi, the CEBL's two-time reigning U Sports player of the year, returned to the Niagara River Lions with the ninth pick. Pandi averaged 7.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 22.0 minutes in 14 games for Niagara in 2021.
The Ottawa native is coming off his second consecutive U Sports championship with the Ravens, who beat the Saskatchewan Huskies for the title earlier in April.
U Sports chief sport officer Lisette Johnson-Stapley applauded the players chosen for their tenacity playing through a pandemic.
"The CEBL has provided these individuals with a unique opportunity to pursue their professional careers while playing in their home country and is vital to the growth of basketball in Canada. We look forward to watching the draft class thrive across the country this summer," Johnson-Stapley said.
The CEBL's fourth season begins on May 25, featuring 10 teams — up from seven the past two seasons. Canadian players must make up at least 75 per cent of each team's roster.