The Winnipeg Sea Bears have drafted three familiar players, two of whom are Winnipeg products, in the expanded CEBL draft. The team welcomed back CEBL U SPORTS Player of the Year, Simon Hildebrandt, with their first round pick (eighth overall).

“I’m extremely grateful to run it back with the best fans in the league. The team has already made some huge additions and I’m excited to be a part of this group for season two,” said Hildebrandt. 

Hildebrandt won the CEBL award for the best U SPORTS player in 2023 after averaging 5.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 20.6 minutes per contest. He was one of only four Sea Bears to touch the court in every game last season, playing a key role on the Western-leading team at just 20 years old. 

The six-foot-nine grad of Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute followed that up by leading his Manitoba Bisons to a 13-7 record while recording 16.1 points per game in his U SPORTS season.

“Simon Hildebrandt played a very important part in our inaugural season, winning the CEBL U SPORTS player of the Year award and earning a major role in our Sea Bears team. Who can forget his game winning shot at Canada Life Centre against Montreal. We are extremely excited to welcome him back and continue our teamwork into year two. Simon is a fantastic young man who perfectly represents our organization and connects us with the city, his hometown of Winnipeg. Personally, I believe in Simon completely and am looking forward to work with him again this summer,” said Mike Taylor, head coach and general manager of the Winnipeg Sea Bears.

With the team’s second round draft pick (13th overall), they re-selected Tyler Sagl of the Lakehead Thunderwolves in the Ontario University Athletics league. Sagl averaged 12.8 points per game this past U SPORTS season. With the Sea Bears last summer, the three-point shooting threat was effective in his limited minutes, helping the team to a +27 in 60 minutes of play.

“I’m excited to return to Winnipeg this summer to continue the work we started in year one. I can’t wait to be back with the team and the best fans in the CEBL,” said Sagl.  

“We are very happy to welcome Tyler Sagl back to our team after selecting him again in the U SPORTS draft. Tyler played his role extremely well last summer and his hard work was rewarded when he helped us win games against Vancouver and Niagara. Tyler brings excellent three-point shooting and size for position on the wing. We are looking forward to our continued cooperation with Tyler and pushing him closer to his potential,” said Taylor.

The team’s third round draft pick (28th overall) is Shawn Maranan, who led his Winnipeg Wesmen on an inspiring run to nationals this season, picking up several major individual accolades in the process. Maranan, a Canada West second-team all-star, had 21 points, 18 assists and six rebounds in his team’s Canada West semi-final win over the Calgary Dinos. The five-foot-eight guard followed that up with a 34-point, 11-assist effort in the Canada West finals, where the Wesmen came up just short of the title.

The point guard earned another All-Star nod at the U SPORTS national championships, where he put up 46 points in the Wesmen’s two games.

“I’m super blessed and thankful to be able to officially put on that jersey this summer. But what makes it even better is being at home and representing the city of Winnipeg. I look forward to the season as this opportunity fulfills my childhood dreams of playing professionally in front of my friends and family,” said Maranan. =

The Sisler High School grad is also a two-time University of Winnipeg Wesmen Male Athlete of the Year.

“We are pleased to make Shawn Maranan our third round pick in the 2024 CEBL draft. Shawn has been a leader and playmaker for the University of Winnipeg and we are very happy with our connection with the Wesmen. We hope Shawn can gain great experience with us this summer and return to his Wesmen better than ever as he earns legend status at the University of Winnipeg in his career,” said Taylor.

The Sea Bears open the 2024 campaign on the road in Saskatoon, SK on May 22. They return to Winnipeg for their home opener on May 24 against the defending CEBL champions, Scarborough Shooting Stars. Single game tickets are on sale now and moving fast. Get in the action this summer by getting yours now.

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