The Ottawa BlackJacks took two basketball players with local connections in the Canadian Elite Basketball League U Sports Draft Wednesday, grabbing Ali Sow of the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (fourth overall), Guillaume Pepin of the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees (11th) and Graddy Kanku of the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks (18th).
Sow, a 6-foot-1 guard who’s from Ottawa, averaged 22.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists for Laurier and was the second-leading OUA scorer in 2018-19, behind BlackJacks guard Kadre Gray. A second-round pick by Guelph at the 2020 U Sports Draft, Sow represented Canada at the 2019 World University Games in Italy, where he averaged 7.5 points and 2.8 rebounds.
Pepin, a 6-foot-6 forward from Montreal, averaged 15.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game with the Gee-Gees.
Kanku, a 6-foot-5 guard born in Montreal, is the first CEBL player drafted from Ontario Tech University. As a freshman in the program’s inaugural season in 2019-2020, he averaged 20.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists. He netted 20 or more points 10 times.
Saskatchewan used the No. 1 pick on Nervens Demosthene, a 6-foot-2 guard from Bishop’s. Niagara took Emmanuel Owootoah, who won two national titles with Carleton before completing his university career at Brock, with the second pick. Guelph then took Carleton’s Isiah Osborne. Another Carleton player – Grant Shephard – was taken by Niagara with the second pick of the third round. Former U Sports Player of the Year Lloyd Pandi (Carleton University) was selected 13th by Niagara. The youngest player in the 2020 CEBL Summer Series (with the BlackJacks), the 6-foot-4 guard (from Ottawa) averaged 8.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
All three BlackJacks draft picks are designated U Sports developmental players, which allows them to return to play university basketball next season. In order to maintain the amateur status of returning U Sports development players, payment will be provided in the form of an academic bursary to the player’s university.