Lancers' Kennedy headed west to play for Fraser Valley after being taken in first round of CEBL Draft

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Windsor’s Thomas Kennedy is heading west.

Lancers' kennedy headed west to play for fraser valley after being taken in first round of cebl draft
© Provided by Windsor Star Windsor Lancers’ forward Thomas Kennedy, was taken in the first round by the Fraser Valley Bandits in the CEBL Draft of U Sports players.

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The standout forward for the University of Windsor Lancers is not leaving the men’s basketball program, but headed to British Columbia this summer to play for the Fraser Valley Bandits in the Canadian Elite Basketball League.

The 21-year-old Kennedy has spent the past two seasons with the Hamilton Honey Badgers, but will join the Bandits this season after being drafted in the first round of the CEBL Draft of U Sports players, which announced its results on Tuesday.

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“The new team definitely brings some exciting factors,” the 6-foot-9, 225-pound Kennedy said.

The Honey Badgers made Kennedy a second-round pick in the 2019 U Sports Draft. He appeared in just one game that first season with Hamilton, which drafted him again in the second round in 2021.

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“That’s how it works with U Sports,” Bandits’ vice-president of operations Andrew Savory said. “Basically, everyone is on a one-year deal and you have to be redrafted.”

Kennedy appeared in 14 games for Hamilton last season and averaged 5.3 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game while average 18 minutes a game.

“We saw an opportunity with his success,” Savory said. “He got 18 minutes a night and he was contributing. He’ll be a big part for us this season.”

Kennedy returned to the Lancers for his third season and led U Sports in rebounding with an average of 15.3 per game while averaging 22.3 points per game.

“I think a lot of things that I was excited about last year are stay consistent,” Kennedy said. “It is a great opportunity to play at the professional level, which is where I want to be after my time at Windsor. And, after the summer, I’ll be in a better position to have a great impact with my Lancer team.”

Kennedy is also excited to play under new Fraser Valley head coach Mike Taylor, who spent eight seasons as head coach of Poland’s national team, which moved from 42nd in to world to 13th during his time.

“Mike Taylor’s positive energy has already made its impact on me and made me even more excited to head out west,” Kennedy said. “Then, the new team means new teammates, which, throughout my three years in the CEBL, has been the best part. Learning from and playing alongside highly talented guys is very exciting.”

Savory, whose club lost in the semis by two points last year and went to the final in 2020, believes Kennedy is one of the top prospects in Canada.

“I think, if Thomas wanted, he could be a professional now,” Savory said. “He’s arguably one of the most talented players in the league. He played for the junior national team, led Canada in rebounding in U Sports and, if he wasn’t going back to Windsor, he could be a professional right now. We’re really excited.”

But Kennedy also knows that another year of university basketball is only going to make him a better player down the road and the chance to play for the Bandits will also add to his development.

“My biggest hope stays the same,” Kennedy said. “I want to learn as much as I can and take another leap in my development and a leap in my contribution. I want to continue to have an impact like I did last season.”

Fraser Valley opens its fourth CEBL season on May 25th on the road against the Ottawa BlackJacks with the team’s first of 20 regular-season games.

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