The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) announced the results of the 2023 CEBL U SPORTS Draft on Wednesday after 10 CEBL franchises drafted 20 student-athletes from 17 Canadian universities over two rounds of selections. This presents a coveted opportunity for top players in U SPORTS to get a chance to experience professional basketball by practicing and playing alongside veteran pros from the NBA, NBA G League, Canadian National team, and top international leagues.
"Congratulations to the 2023 CEBL U SPORTS Draft class! The 2022-23 U SPORTS season saw tremendous performances on the court, and we are very excited to witness that momentum carry forward this summer,” said Lisette Johnson-Stapley, Chief Sports Officer, U SPORTS. The CEBL partnership provides meaningful opportunities for players to learn and grow alongside some of the best Canadian talent, and we could not be more proud of this year’s class.”
Each team had one pick in each of the two rounds. The order of selection had the latest expansion team, the Winnipeg Sea Bears, pick first, followed by the reverse order of finish in the 2022 regular season standings. Winnipeg drafted Simon Hildebrandt as their first-ever CEBL U SPORTS Draft pick, a second-year 6-foot-9 forward from the University of Manitoba. The Winnipeg native averaged 16.9 points and five rebounds in the 2022-23 season and received the Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy for U SPORTS Rookie of the Year honours. Hildebrandt was named a Second Team All-Canadian and given U SPORTS All-Rookie Team honours this past season.
The Montréal Alliance selected Aryan Sharma of Western University with the second pick of the first round. The Milton, Ont. native averaged 23.4 points and 6.1 rebounds in 2022-23 while shooting 45.1 percent from the field. The Calgary Surge then selected current year graduate Mason Bourcier of Trinity Western University who averaged 20.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 6.7 assists in 20 games played. The 6-foot-4 guard was also named a Canada West Team All-Star and a U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian. The Kelowna, B.C. native was drafted 18th overall in the 2022 CEBL U SPORTS Draft by the Newfoundland Growlers and sixth overall in the 2019 CEBL Entry Draft.
Somto Dimanochie of York University was selected fourth overall by the Edmonton Stingers. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged a career and team-high 20.3 points and 10.9 rebounds in 2022-23. Dimanochie was picked 11th overall by Edmonton in the 2022 CEBL U SPORTS Draft. The Saskatchewan Rattlers picked Anthony Tsegakele of Brandon University fifth overall. This is Tsegakele’s third consecutive year being drafted in the CEBL after being picked fourth overall last year by Saskatchewan and sixth overall in 2021 by the Vancouver Bandits.
Vancouver selected Diego Maffia of University of Victoria with the sixth pick. Maffia, a U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian and Canada West First Team All-Star in 2022-23 averaged 24.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 20 games played. The Ottawa BlackJacks then selected Sukhman Sandhu of University of British Columbia. The 6-foot-10 Surrey, B.C. native was drafted 14th overall by Vancouver last year.
The Niagara River Lions picked four-time U SPORTS national champion Aiden Warnholtz of Carleton University eighth overall. The first-team All-Canadian averaged a career-high 17.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in 2022-23 before winning the Jack Donohue Trophy awarded to the U SPORTS Championship Finals MVP.
David Muenkat of STFX University was picked ninth overall by the Scarborough Shooting Stars. Muenkat, a first-overall pick of the 2022 CEBL U SPORTS Draft, won the 2022-23 U SPORTS Defensive Player of the Year and was named a Second Team All-Canadian. Muenkat also led STFX to the U SPORTS National Championship final this past season as he averaged a career-best 15.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 1.4 steals in 20 games played.
The 2022 CEBL champion Brampton Honey Badgers selected Najee Brown-Henderson of the University of Windsor 10th overall with the final pick of the first round. Brown-Henderson averaged 20.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and five assists in 22 games played in the 2022-23 season.
“This 2023 Draft class is elite. Congratulations to all twenty (CEBL U SPORTS) Draft picks. We can’t wait to see everyone take the court starting May 24 and hope that unique experiences and opportunities like this continue to help showcase and nurture the depth of talent within U SPORTS programs across this country. The future of pro basketball in Canada has never been brighter.”
Mike Morreale - Commissioner & Co-founder, CEBL
The complete 2023 CEBL U SPORTS Draft results are below:
|Round||Pick||CEBL Team||First Name||Last Name||School||Hometown|
|1||1||Winnipeg||Simon||Hildebrandt||University of Manitoba||Winnipeg, Man.|
|2||Montréal||Aryan||Sharma||Western University||Milton, Ont.|
|3||Calgary||Mason||Bourcier||Trinity Western University||Kelowna, B.C.|
|4||Edmonton||Somto||Dimanochie||York University||Kleinberg, Ont.|
|5||Saskatchewan||Anthony||Tsegakele||Brandon University||Gatineau, Que.|
|6||Vancouver||Diego||Maffia||University of Victoria||Victoria, B.C.|
|7||Ottawa||Sukhman||Sandhu||University of British Columbia||Surrey, B.C.|
|8||Niagara||Aiden||Warnholtz||Carleton University||Ottawa, Ont.|
|9||Scarborough||David||Muenkat||STFX University||Brampton, Ont.|
|10||Brampton||Najee||Brown-Henderson||University of Windsor||Windsor, Ont.|
|2||11||Brampton||Callum||Baker-Magnaye||University of Toronto||Oakville, Ont.|
|12||Scarborough||David||Walker||Toronto Metropolitan University||Toronto, Ont.|
|13||Niagara||Jordan||Tchuente||Brock University||Ottawa, Ont.|
|14||Ottawa||Guillaume||Pépin||University of Ottawa||Montréal, Que.|
|15||Vancouver||Brian||Wallack||University of British Columbia||Surrey, B.C.|
|16||Saskatchewan||Isaac||Simon||University of Alberta||Regina, Sask.|
|17||Edmonton||Adam||Paige||University of Alberta||White Rock, B.C.|
|18||Calgary||Deon||Ejim||STFX University||Brampton, Ont.|
|19||Montréal||Bahaïde||Haïdara||Université du Québec à Montréal||Montréal, Que.|
|20||Winnipeg||Tyler||Sagl||Lakehead University||Burlington, Ont.|
About the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL):
A league created by Canadians for Canadians with a mission to develop Canadian players, coaches, sports executives, and referees, the CEBL boasts the highest percentage of Canadian players of any pro league in the country with 71 per cent of its 2022 rosters being Canadian. Players bring experience from the NBA, NBA G League, top international pro leagues, the Canadian National team program, and top NCAA programs as well as U SPORTS. Nine players have moved from the CEBL into the NBA following a CEBL season, and 28 CEBL players attended NBA G League training camps last October. The 2023 CEBL season tips off May 24 with the Brampton Honey Badgers visiting the Ottawa BlackJacks in a game that will be nationally televised on TSN.
More information about the CEBL is available at CEBL.ca and @cebleague on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.