WINNIPEG – Four members of the 2023 Winnipeg Sea Bears have been honoured with major accolades at the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s (CEBL) end-of-season award ceremony. 

The CEBL announced the winners late Wednesday night in a banquet ceremony to kick off Championship Weekend in Pitt Meadows, B.C.

Entering the ceremony, the Winnipeg Sea Bears were represented by finalists for four of the seven major awards. Teddy Allen, Mike Taylor, Jelani Watson-Gayle and Simon Hildebrandt were each named one of two finalists for the league’s Most Valuable Player, Coach of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year and U SPORTS Player of the Year, respectively. Each of the four nominees walked away as the winning candidate, completing a sweep of their nominated categories and making the Sea Bears the most-awarded team on the night.

Read more about each of the Sea Bears’ honourees below:

Teddy Allen – 2023 CEBL Most Valuable Player

American guard Teddy Allen was named the CEBL’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) after a historic season leading the Sea Bears.

The engine of Winnipeg’s offence, Allen’s 27.2 point-per-game average in the regular season made him one of only two players in league history to post an average over 25. Saskatchewan’s Justin Wright-Foreman, Allen’s co-finalist for the award, led the league this year with his 29.2 per-game mark.

Allen’s electric scoring performances were sights to behold for Sea Bears fans. The six-foot-six phenom found the bottom of the basket in every way – attacking the rim, drilling tough midrange shots and punishing perimeter defenders with a league-high 70 three-point makes.

The Phoenix, Ariz. product contributed far more than just scoring, though, posting the highest rebounding average of any guard with his 7.9 retrieves per game. His halfcourt scoring was only bolstered by his defensive ability, with his team-high 1.6 steals per game setting up countless high-flying dunks and alley-oops in transition. Winnipeg’s leading scorer was also their top facilitator, averaging a team-high 3.6 assists per game.

“Teddy Buckets” regularly reset the record books while representing Winnipeg. His 42-point outburst against the Scarborough Shooting Stars tied Brandon Sampson for the CEBL single-game scoring record in a statement win over his former team. Less than two weeks later, he tied another single-game record – this time for three-pointers – with nine in a 40-point effort against the defending league champion Brampton Honey Badgers. Allen’s 35 points in the Sea Bears’ playoff matchup against Edmonton were a single-game playoff record, cementing his name atop both the regular-season and playoff scoring leaderboards.

Allen played in all 21 of the Sea Bears’ games, finishing the season among the league’s top 10 in nine major statistical categories. Winnipeg’s iron man, Allen led the CEBL in minutes per game (35.9), playing all 40 regulation minutes on six occasions.

“Teddy’s contributions to our team this year are the epitome of what it means to be the Most Valuable Player,” said Taylor. “He immediately established himself as our go-to guy and leader. His record-setting performances in scoring and three-pointers may have caught everyone's attention, but I'm also proud of Teddy's growth as a leader. His love to play is just as apparent as his scoring talent.”

Mike Taylor – 2023 CEBL Coach of the Year

Sea Bears head coach and general manager Mike Taylor was honoured as the CEBL’s Coach of the Year. Ranked third-to-last in the CEBL’s opening championship odds by the league’s sports betting partner BetVictor, the Sea Bears earned a playoff berth with the CEBL’s second-best record under Taylor’s guidance.

After leading the then-Fraser Valley Bandits in his first Canadian campaign last year, Taylor was drawn to helm the newly minted Sea Bears by the opportunity to serve as both head coach and general manager. Drawing on nearly 30 years of coaching experience in the NCAA, Europe and NBA G League, Taylor built the Sea

Bears’ on-court product – from the roster, to the playbook, to the coaching staff – from scratch.

Nearly nine months after Taylor’s hiring in December, the team now stands having completed one of the most successful inaugural campaigns in league history.

With 12 wins, Winnipeg tied the Scarborough Shooting Stars’ 2022 season for the best record ever by an expansion team. In Taylor’s hands, the Sea Bears boasted one of the league’s most potent offences en route to a second-place finish in the CEBL’s new Western Conference.

In addition to building and coaching a winning roster, Taylor made community involvement a core principle of his team. The Sea Bears offered five days of free youth basketball programming led by coaches and players as part of their Sea Bears Summer Series of programs. Taylor’s players made opportunities to give back to the community part of their daily routine, regularly appearing at cultural fairs, local businesses and for youth organizations like BGC Winnipeg. Taylor’s staff also hosted a free coaching clinic to help educate and develop the city’s up-and-coming local coaches.

"These awards come as a result of a fantastic team effort," said Taylor on the honours received by him and his team. "Something special happened in Winnipeg this summer. From David Asper's vision, to Jason Smith and everyone in the front office, to our outstanding coaching staff, to all of our players and our fantastic Sea Bears fans who fell in love with the team."

"I'm so proud of everyone and thankful for everything. The CEBL is so much fun, and we are showing everyone what a special place Winnipeg can be."

“Coach Taylor came into a new organization and established a winning mentality instantly,” said Sea Bears president Jason Smith. “His emphasis on togetherness and loyalty shone through every facet of Sea Bears basketball and helped to guide our organization in its formative days. His ability to prepare, manage and execute laid the foundation for this team and the successes we saw this first season, and we thank him for all his hard work and dedication.”

Jelani Watson-Gayle – 2023 CEBL Sixth Man of the Year

British guard Jelani Watson-Gayle received CEBL Sixth Man of the Year honours for a league-best campaign off the bench. The six-foot-one London product averaged 12.5 points per game in 19 regular-season contests, leading all active players without a start for their team.

Watson-Gayle was a cool-headed closer for the Sea Bears, knocking down five of the team’s 12 game-winning shots in target score time. The sharpshooter also finished as the league’s top three-point shooter with an incredible mark of 49 per cent from deep. His 50 total threes ranked seventh on the league leaderboard.

The 24-year-old finished the season as Winnipeg’s third-leading scorer and ranked second on the team in assists with 3.5 per game.

“Jelani gave our team a big boost off the bench with his dynamic playmaking and clutch shots. His five game-winning baskets showed the winner that he is,” Taylor said. “We’re all tremendously proud of Jelani, and he’s more than deserving of this award.”

Watson-Gayle signed June 23 to join Brussels Basketball of Belgium’s BNXT League for the fall/winter season. He will travel to join the team immediately as they prepare for the league’s September tipoff.

Simon Hildebrandt – 2023 CEBL U SPORTS Player of the Year

University of Manitoba Bison and reigning U SPORTS Rookie of the Year Simon Hildebrandt continued to make noise on the national stage in his first professional season, earning the title of CEBL U SPORTS Player of the Year.

The 20-year-old Winnipegger averaged 5.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 20.6 minutes per contest while playing a key role for his hometown’s new team. The first overall pick in the CEBL’s 2023 U SPORTS Draft, Hildebrandt showed few signs of rookie inexperience as one of only four Sea Bears to play in all 21 games this season.

Hildebrandt thrived in his trusted role, regularly providing a spark for the Sea Bears with timely shots and key performances. On July 8 against Edmonton, he poured in a season-high 19 points in a RE/MAX Player of the Game effort.

Not long after, the hometown hero knocked down a thrilling target score time winner on his home floor with a pullup jump shot to ice the visiting Montreal Alliance on July 14.

Hardly afraid of the spotlight, Hildebrandt notched his first-ever professional double-double with 11 points and a season-high 11 rebounds in the Sea Bears’ August 4 playoff matchup with the Stingers.

“Simon played a key role in our success this summer,” said Taylor. “As a 20-year-old playing with older, more experienced professionals, he demonstrated an outstanding work ethic and an excellent attitude to learn new things. We are all very proud of the work Simon has put in all summer to play at the high level he has and to now receive this award.”


Winnipeg is the first team in league history to be honoured with four major awards at the ceremony.

“We are very lucky that our lives intersected with special people like Mike, Teddy, Simon and Jelani as we built our team,” said Sea Bears owner and chairman David Asper. “I’m just so happy to see them earn the recognition they deserve.”

Also announced at the awards banquet were the all-CEBL first and second teams, which included Teddy Allen and Sea Bears forward E.J. Anosike, respectively.

“We could not be prouder of this team. To bring four major awards back to Winnipeg in our inaugural season is truly special,” said Smith.

“These accolades are a testament to the work put in by each player, on and off the court, and to the leadership established by our head coach and general manager, Mike Taylor. My sincere congratulations go out to Teddy, Jelani, Simon and coach Taylor for this well-deserved recognition.”

The annual awards are voted on by the league’s head coaches, general managers, assistant coaches, internal media personnel and select league broadcasters. Team representatives are prohibited from voting for a player or coach from their own team.

The Sea Bears organization will now turn their focus to planning and community initiatives before the team takes the court again for the 2024 season. Be sure to follow @wpgseabears on all social channels for regular content and updates.

2024 season tickets are available now! For more information, visit

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