EDMONTON, AB - Another piece of Canadian basketball history was made on Thursday morning as the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) announced today the league’s first-ever Entry Draft will be held in Hamilton, Ontario on March 23, 2019. While the results of the draft will be made public on March 23rd, the event itself will take place one week prior on March 16th.
On the 16th, each of the six CEBL organizations will phone their first-ever picks into the league offices. March 23rd will see the league host a draft reveal event to put together a program that the league says will include in-depth analysis of the draft picks, statistics and more in the CEBL’s first entry at a draft. An invitation-only event will also take place at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, with the entire draft to be streamed live on CEBL.Tv.
“Its an exciting time for our league as fans will get a first-hand look at the top players that will play in our inaugural season,” said Mike Morreale, Chief Executive Officer of the CEBL in a league release. “Team General Managers and other officials will be joined by celebrities and influencers, Canadian basketball officials, community leaders, media, and sponsors for a monumental night in the history of basketball in our country. This will be a unique event for a unique league, and one that can be experienced by people around the world through a live stream.”
“There is no dearth of talent when it comes to basketball in this country” continued Joe Raso, Director of Basketball Operations, CEBL. “Thanks to the league making key partnerships with Canada Basketball and U SPORTS, I am extremely excited to see how our rosters take shape as the CEBL becomes an elite platform for the development of the sport in this country”.
The order of the draft will be determined by a blind draw and announced publicly on Wednesday, March 6. Once the draft order has been determined, the 13-round draft will follow a snake format. Unlike a traditional draft, picks will be split by three groupings for selection in order to allow the league to cultivate a strong Canadian presence. The 2019 Entry Draft will consist of 11 rounds, followed immediately by a two-round U SPORTS draft.
Round 1-4: Canadian Regional Rounds
The first four rounds of the CEBL Entry Draft will be segregated by region, with the three Eastern CEBL teams - the Guelph Nighthawks, Niagara River Lions and the draft host Hamilton Honey Badgers - will be required to draft players based in Ontario or any provinces further east, while the Edmonton Stingers, Fraser Valley Bandits and Saskatchewan Rattlers will draft from players from Manitoba westward.
Round 5-11: General Draft Rounds
The 5th through 11th rounds will feature no restrictions, as teams are allowed to select players from any region of the world.
Round 12 - 13: The U SPORTS Draft
The final two rounds of the CEBL’s inaugural entry draft will feature teams selecting exclusively from current U Sports players, with the intention to give Canadian professional basketball players the opportunity to develop their skills closer to home than traditionally found.
It’s an exciting time to be a Canadian basketball fan, and the latest announcement from the CEBL should only increase the interest in the fledgeling league. Only 12 days remain until the official announcement of the draft order, and with the league scheduled for tipoff in May, new information on the CEBL should be coming fast and furious.
Buckle up, basketball fans - we’re nearly ready to #HoldCourt.
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