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Guelph Nighthawks Finalize Roster for 2nd Canadian Elite Basketball League Season

Original Source: https://www.thenighthawks.ca/guelph-nighthawks-finalize-roster-for-2nd-canadian-elite-basketball-league-season

Guelph, ON – The Guelph Nighthawks and Head Coach & GM Charles Kissi wrapped up the 2020 Canadian Elite Basketball League offseason with a flurry of free agent signings that focused on adding size, depth and positional versatility to a roster that looks to improve on its fifth place finish in the 2019 CEBL standings. Since the end of March, the Nighthawks signed nine free agents to join the previously announced re-signing of guard Tyrell Corbin, guard Olu Famutimi, forward Mic Kyser, guard Kimbal Mackenzie, guard Jamal Reynolds and USPORTS Draft picks guard Marcus Anderson and guard Ali Sow. Kissi has now finalized his 16-player roster in preparation for the start of the Nighthawks second CEBL training camp.

The Nighthawks kicked off the month of April by announcing the return of 25-year-old Canadian guard Myles Charvis. Myles was drafted out of Ryerson University by the Nighthawks at the 2019 CEBL Entry Draft where he developed on Guelph’s practice roster for the first half of the 2019 season. Following the arrival of Charles Kissi in July, Charvis was moved to the active roster and became an integral part of the team’s bench. In 11 games Myles put up 10.6 points and 5.1 assists per game. Charvis is currently recovering from a torn achilles suffered while playing this winter for the KW Titans in the NBL Canada. Both the Nighthawks and Myles are optimistic that his recovery will allow him to see the court at some point during the coming season.

On April 17th, 6’7” American small forward Tre’Darius McCallum of the NBA G-League’s Windy City Bulls signed on with the team. Better known as Tre, McCallum’s shooting ability and size make him a difficult match-up. As a starter this past season with the Chicago Bulls G-League affiliate, McCallum averaged 11.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.8 made three-point field goals per game. 

With a focus on improving the club’s depth and versatility, Coach Kissi added four new Nighthawks who spent time with other CEBL club’s during the 2019 season, including former Fraser Valley Bandits Tyrrel Tate and Joel Friesen, Edmonton Stingers forward Akeem Ellis and Niagara River Lions forward Yohanny Dalembert.

A 6’5” forward, Tyrrel Tate grew up in North Carolina but was born in Calgary, thereby giving him Canadian status in the CEBL. Tyrrel has spent three seasons in the NBA’s G-League, most recently with the Washington Wizards affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go. Tate was a mainstay in the lineup for the Fraser Valley Bandits in 2019, starting 18 games, scoring 14.2 points and adding 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. His career most recently took him to the Mexican CIBACOPA, where he shot 58% from 3-point range while scoring 17.8 points per game.

Another former Fraser Valley Bandit and first overall draft pick from the 2019 CEBL Entry Draft, guard Joel Friesen, was signed by the Nighthawks on April 20th. The 6’5” Canadian starred for the University of Alberta, leading the Golden Bears to 2nd and 3rd place finishes at the USPORTS Final 8 Men’s Basketball Championship. Since turning pro Joel has played in the CEBL, NBL Canada and the Ukrainian Superleague. Last season in the Valley, Friesen was a versatile veteran presence, scoring 8.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game for the Bandits.

Looking for front court depth the Nighthawks signed former Edmonton Stinger Akeem Ellis, a veteran American forward who was a staple in the club’s starting line-up on its way to the 2019 CEBL Championship Weekend. Ellis, from Brooklyn, NY, has played professionally in the NBA’s G-League, Britain, France and Canada. Last season Akeem averaged 8.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game with Edmonton. Since the conclusion of the 2019 CEBL season Ellis has been playing for the KW Titans in the NBL Canada, where he put up 17.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4 assists per game. The big man from Haiti, Yohanny Dalembert, was the final of four Nighthawks signings from other CEBL clubs. A Canadian immigrant from Port-au-Prince, Dalembert spent the 2019 CEBL season in Niagara where he was a spark off the bench for the River Lions, scoring 8.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and blocking 1.5 shots in only 17 minutes of action per game. Dalembert will bring size and a physical presence in the paint. Since leaving Niagara, Yohanny has most recently spent time with French NM1 club team Caen Basket Calvados.

Former UNLV standout Tyrell Green was signed by Coach Kissi as he continued to build out the team’s depth in the backcourt, giving him another weapon from behind the arc. The 6’7” Canadian guard spent parts of this past season in Finland’s Korisliiga with Ura Basket and with the London Lightning of the NBL Canada. Between the two league’s Tyrell averaged 12.0 points per game while shooting 40% from 3-point range. Tyrell’s addition now gives the Nighthawks seven guards that shot at or over 40% from 3-point range last year.

The Nighthawks final two signings were both of the international variety, as the club agreed to terms with American forward Flenard Whitfield and French big man Tidjan Keita. 
Whitfield, a 6’7” forward from Detroit, MI, has played in Iceland, Finland and the NBL Canada since graduating from Western Michigan University in 2012. Flenard most recently spent time with the KW Titans in the NBL Canada where he scored 14.4 points and added 5.9 rebounds on 51% shooting from the field.

Tidjan Keita, a French national, joins the Nighthawks from BBC Coburg of the German Pro B League. A young, sizeable talent, the 23-year-old Keita played a starting role for Coburg, contributing 15.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, while shooting 59% from the field. Keita has also spent time with the Phoenix Suns NBA G-League affiliate Northern Arizona Suns, as well as the Toronto Raptors during the NBA Summer League in 2017/18. At 6’10” Tidjan will add height to the front court, but with the speed and versatility to play outside as a threat from beyond the arc.

Coach Kissi is optimistic about the roster he and the Nighthawks basketball operations staff has been able to bring to Guelph for the club’s second season. “Last year our two biggest challenges were a lack of size and depth of talent. You’ll find across the board in the CEBL there has been an influx of better pro players as we head into the 2020 season, and our club is no different. Mic Kyser and Tre McCallum spent this past season playing prominent roles for their G-League clubs… Tidjan is a French big man that, as a 23-year-old, is leading his German club team in points, rebounds and blocks per 40 minutes. His long-term prospects as a pro are really strong. In the backcourt we now have seven guys that are a legitimate threat from three. We can play inside and out, go big or small. That versatility will give us the opportunity to be selective with our roster based on matchups.”

There is a different attitude around this club as Coach Kissi prepares to head into his second season with the Nighthawks. “These guys are going to have to come in and compete every day just to make it on the 10-man active roster. It’s that type of daily competition that will help establish the winning culture we’re focused on building in this organization,” said Kissi. 

Now, both players and fans patiently await news on the start date of the second Canadian Elite Basketball League season. Currently, the league is hopeful for a June tip-off but are being prudent in taking direction from public health and government officials in each of their seven markets to ensure the league puts the health and safety of fans, players, staff and officials first before making a return to the court. Once the 2020 league schedule is finalized the Nighthawks organization will provide further information on the start of training camp and a revised home schedule.