A season filled with ups and downs, injuries and personnel changes couldn’t derail the Saskatchewan Rattlers, who cruised to a 94-83 victory over the Hamilton Honey Badgers on Sunday to become the first-ever Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) champions.
Throughout the season, one constant the Rattlers depended on was the production and leadership of captain and finals MVP Alex Campbell.
“Alex is an absolute stable warrior for us, the whole season, (he was) absolutely trustworthy,” head coach Greg Jockims said.
“(He) always comes to the game, whether we play him the whole game, or whatever’s going on you know what he’s going to bring to the table. He’s a great glue guy, (but also) has the ability to play the game at a really high level.”
“Just to be a part of this team, and the family, and the leadership that Alex brought, I’ll remember this for the rest of my life,” guard Michael Linklater said.
The league required team’s rosters to be composed of at least 70 per cent Canadian players. The championship-winning Rattlers boasted nine of a possible ten, including Campbell.
“Our star players are Canadian players,” Jockims said. “We’ve had some U.S. players play pretty well for us over the course of the season, and in this league, but, I mean, that’s a testament to the quality of the Canadian game.”
“I’m just so happy for the players and the coaches, I’m happy for basketball in Canada; I wave a Canadian flag every single day,” CEBL commissioner Mike Morreale said.
“I will continue to raise the bar for this product and for this game because I think it’s important that we do so and we support basketball at all levels.”