The Winnipeg Sea Bears of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) announced Friday that they have signed veteran wing A.J. Hess for the 2023 season. The six-foot-seven Paradise, AZ product averaged 12.8 points and 3.3 rebounds on 48.1 per cent shooting from deep in eight appearances with the Guelph Nighthawks last season. 

A five-year professional veteran, Hess most recently spent time with St. Chamond Basket of the Ligue Nationale de Basket (LNB) in France, where he averaged 7.8 points on a .444 mark from three-point range. He also suited up in one game with the Golden State Warriors affiliate Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA G League this season. 

The 29-year-old’s playing career has also brought him to Bulgaria, Belgium, and Switzerland, with his most productive season coming in 2017-18 with the Starwings of the Swiss Basketball League (SBL). That year he averaged 15.8 points per game and set a career high with 29 points on Jan. 21 against Boncourt. 

“A.J. adds outstanding three-point shooting and CEBL experience to our inaugural Sea Bears team,” said Mike Taylor, Winnipeg’s head coach and general manager. “He will fit well into our system and provide outstanding perimeter shooting to open space for our post players. I believe A.J. has the potential to be the top three-point shooter in our league.”

After suffering a season-ending fibular fracture in his senior year at Southern Utah University, Hess was granted a hardship waiver and joined South Dakota State as a graduate transfer for his final year of NCAA play. He totaled 53 games of double-figure scoring throughout his five-year collegiate career. 

Hess has also spent time with the Armenian national team, representing the country in the 2017 FIBA World Cup and the European Championships later that year.

“Being back in the CEBL is exciting, because I had a great experience last time,” said Hess. “I feel like I have a good rapport with coach Taylor and have heard great things about Winnipeg.”

The seventh player to sign with the Sea Bears in free agency, Hess joins Teddy Allen as the second American added to Winnipeg’s roster. CEBL rules place an upper limit of three American players on each team’s 10-man active roster.

The Sea Bears open training camp Friday, May 19 at the Sport For Life Centre in downtown Winnipeg. Their inaugural season tips off May 27 at Canada Life Centre in a matchup against the visiting Vancouver Bandits. For tickets, visit

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