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River Lions top draft picks include Brock MVP

Badger Jordan Tchuente spent last two years as developmental player with club

The Niagara River Lions of the Canadian Elite Basketball League announced today their three selections in the 2024 CEBL draft, including Jordan Tchuente of Brock University, Luka Syllas from Queen's University and the first ever Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) player drafted to the CEBL, Jerry Jr. Mercury of Mohawk College.

In March, the CEBL announced a newly rebranded and expanded draft format beginning in 2024 that includes all eligible Canadian U SPORTS and CCAA student-athletes. The CEBL draft presents a coveted opportunity for top players in U SPORTS and the CCAA to get a chance to experience professional basketball by practicing and playing alongside veteran pros from the NBA, NBA G League, Canadian National team, and top international leagues.

Each CEBL club made three selections total (one in each round) in 2024 of either returning or graduating Canadian post-secondary players. The priority of selection in round one was the reverse order of how each team finished the 2023 regular season, and the following rounds reverted to a ‘snake format’ in reverse order of the 
previous round.

The River Lions used their first-round selection on Jordan Tchuente, a 6-foot-7 forward from Ottawa.

"Jordan has been part of our River Lions family for the past two seasons, and I'm grateful that he will be with us again for Year 3,” said head coach and general manager, Victor Raso. “He has become part of our core group, and I believe his game has really grown this past season under Coach Willy at Brock. I'm excited for Dino to take a big step forward this summer."

A familiar name to the River Lions, Tchuente spent the last two summers as a developmental player with the team. Upon returning to Brock for the 2024 campaign, he registered career high statistics and led the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference with 9.1 rebounds per game and was ninth overall in the country. Tchuente collected a total of 191 rebounds and was named OUA Second Team alltar. Tchuente was also awarded with 
the team’s most valuable Badger.

“I'm excited and looking forward to running it back for the third time with the River Lions. Just like my teammate Khalil said, third time might just be a charm," said Tchuente.

With their second selection the River Lions took Luka Syllas from Queens University, a 6-foot-2 guard from Kingston.

"Luka is coming off an incredible season at Queen's University and will be a welcomed addition to our team this summer,” said Raso. “He is a fierce competitor who excels defensively but has also improved his offensive game tremendously during his career. His competitiveness will translate to the professional game well and I'm excited to see the impact he can make on our team."

Syllas has played four seasons with the Gaels and is coming off a stellar 2023-24 campaign where he earned OUA Defensive Player of the Year and was selected as an OUA First Team all-star. Syllas was the Gaels’ defensive leader in steals with 47 on the season, which ranked fifth in U SPORTS, while also averaging 18.7 
points, 5.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game.

“I am excited to get drafted by the Niagara River Lions. I am really looking forward to learning from some of my new teammates and developing my game to the next level,” said Syllas. “I think I will be a great fit for this team, as I play with high intensity on the defensive side of the floor, along with pose scoring and facilitating on the offensive end. I am also a tenacious rebounder that can keep plays alive and provide extra opportunities to score.”

With their final selection the River Lions took Jerry Jr. Mercury from Mohawk College, a 6-foot-4 forward from Scarborough.

"Jerry is a very talented basketball player, who like many of our signings, can impact winning in many ways,” said Raso. “He is versatile offensively and can really score the ball, he loves to defend, and is an excellent rebounder. He is an impressive young man who has overcome a lot to get to this point in his basketball journey, and he has earned the opportunity to be drafted into the CEBL."

Mercury started his collegiate career with St. Clair College before transferring to Mohawk after his freshman year. Mercury made an immediate impact, starting every game for the Mountaineers. During the 2023-24 season as a junior, Mercury averaged 22.6 points, the second highest in the OCAA, 10.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. His 10.4 rebounds per game ranked third in the OCAA. 

“I want to start off by thanking God for blessing me with such an exciting opportunity to play the sport I love at a high level,” said Mercury. “To get selected by an amazing organization like Niagara River Lions and be a part of this amazing region, it doesn’t get any better than this. Getting drafted into the CEBL is more than a dream come true, it still feels surreal."