River Lions ink Brit
Another new face has joined the Niagara River Lions for the 2023 Canadian Elite Basketball League season.
On Tuesday, Niagara announced the signing of 6-foot-5 guard Patrick Whelan. The native of Warrington, England, who fills the international roster spot on the team required by the CEBL, is in the midst of finishing off his second season with the Leicester Riders of the British Basketball League, a loop made up of 10 teams in Scotland and England. He is averaging 13.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 44.8 in three-point percentage in 30.9 minutes of play per game.
“I’m incredibly excited to play for the Niagara River Lions,” Whelan said. “I’ve heard very good things about the club and the CEBL as a whole. The goal for me is to contribute to winning games in any way that I can, and hopefully help the team have a successful season.”
Victor Raso, Niagara’s head coach and general manager, is excited to add Whelan to the roster.
“A veteran with the Great Britain national team, Pat is a very skilled offensive player and an excellent shooter, but most importantly he impacts winning all different phases of the game and is a great teammate.”
Whelan played his collegiate ball with William Jewell College in Missouri from 2014 until 2018, where he averaged 15 points, 2.1 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. He is one of 15 players in school history to exceed the 1,000-point milestone. While at William Jewell, he was named to the Great Lakes Valley Conference All-First Team, All-Second Team and All-Defensive Team. He averaged 18.2 points per game in his final season to finish fourth in league scoring.
When his collegiate career ended, Whelan returned to Europe where he played for Real Murica CB of the Spanish LEB before signing with the Leicester Riders in 2021. With the Riders, he averaged 15 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 47.9 in three-point percentage He earned British BBL All-First Team honours and won a 2022 BBL championship.
Whelan also suited up for Great Britain during the first and second window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
He is the eighth player added to the River Lions roster in anticipation of the 2023 season which starts May 26 on the road against the Montreal Alliance.
Season tickets, voucher packs, group tickets and single game tickets are on sale now. Visit www.riverlions.ca/tickets for more information.
LOCAL BUSINESS OF THE GAME
The River Lions and Meridian have teamed up to recognize local businesses during the 2023 Canadian Elite Basketball League with the Local Business of the Game.
Local businesses are encouraged to apply online until May 17 at www.riverlions.ca/localbusiness. Ten will be randomly selected to receive 20 tickets for a home game and recognition through the River Lions’ social media channels and website.
NIAGARA TRAILERS HIGH FIVE TUNNEL
Youth groups and organizations can now apply to be part of the Niagara Trailers High 5 Tunnel for all of Niagara’s home games.
Ten to 20 children will be allowed to stand on the court and high five River Lions players as they take to the floor for pre-game warm-ups. Participants will then get to stay to watch the game in the Niagara Trailers row.
Groups are encouraged to apply online at www.riverlions.ca/high5apply and 10 will be randomly selected for the program.