The Edmonton Stingers season is just days away. As the rosters around the CEBL take shape, we’re starting to get a better idea of what to expect from the Stingers as the third season of the CEBL approaches. This also means it’s time for some early predictions about the Stingers. From lineups to breakthroughs, let’s have a look at 5 of our expert predictions about the Stingers.
1. The Starting 5
The Stingers rotation has raised many questions due to the depth of the roster. There are at least 8 players on the Stingers who could be named starters on June 26 vs Hamilton. Here’s our starting 5 prediction;
PG: Xavier Moon
A given, Moon is the reigning MVP, and will surely be starting on the Stingers. There is a possibility he plays SG, as this is something Coach Jermaine Small has opted for in the past. Adika Peter-McNeilly is the biggest challenger to the starting point guard role. If McNeilly is appointed starting point guard, Moon would simply shift to SG. Moon is a lock to start for the Stingers in one way or another.
SG: Mathieu Kamba
Kamba had a breakthrough season in the summer series. While he may not put up the flashy numbers, anyone who knows deep analytics knows that Kamba is one of the most valuable players in the CEBL. Kamba is another lock as the Stingers are short on two-guards. The possibility of Moon and McNeilly starting simply pushes Kamba to the small-forward position.
SF: Jordan Baker
Baker is another lock in the Stingers starting lineup. He is the MVP runner-up, rebounding leader of the league, and reigning Canadian Player of the Year. Baker will likely play every single position at some point in every single game, but Small Forward seems like a safe place to start him, as it allows him the versatility to move to other positions. The only threat is if Kamba pushes him to power forward, he could see front court action. Still a definite starter.
PF: Brady Skeens
This is the spot that’s very up in the air. Skeens could be a starter for the Stingers, as a proven rebounding and scoring threat. He has yet to play in the CEBL, but is one of Coach Jermaine Small’s imports. It’s likely that he’ll be used as a starter, but he could be bumped out of the starting five by Jordan Baker.
C: Marlon Johnson
This is yet another lock for the Stingers. Johnson is an elite player and has received praise from Coach Jermaine Small in the past. Johnson’s rebounding, dunking, defence and scoring threat make him a player who needs to play the majority of games if the Stingers hope too dominate this year once again. There is no threat against his starting spot in the lineup. Johnson hasn’t played in almost a year, but threw down a windmill alley-top in an open gym game earlier this month, so it’s safe to say he should be alright.
2. The Stingers Lead the CEBL in Rebounding
The Edmonton Stingers have built an identity on rebounding. This year will be no different. The roster is lined with notorious rebounders such as Brady Skeens, Jordan Baker, Marlon Johnson, Zac Overwater and Sascha Kappos. The Stingers are undoubtedly one of the tallest teams to play in the CEBL, and will likely look to take advantage of that as they seek to run it back for a championship.
Not only will the bigs be called upon to rebound, but so will the guards. Smaller players like Xavier Moon, Adika Peter-McNeilly, Mathieu Kamba, Jahmal Jones and Kareem South will need to box out big strong guards like Junior Cadougan, and sneaky rebounders like Marek Klassen.
3. Undefeated (or close) at Home
The CEBL expects Edmonton and Saskatchewan to be the first (and possibly only) teams to see fans. At the very least, they will see the most fans. In the inaugural season, the Stingers fed off the explosive Edmonton crowd, coming to an 8-2 home record. With fans slowly being reintegrated, I could easily see the Stingers going 7-0 (or maybe 6-1) at home.
The Stingers are a lot better now then they were in 2019, so it doesn’t seem unreasonable for them to improve their impressive 8-2 home record. While the Stingers may have lost some of their energy players like Grandy Glaze and Akeem Ellis since then, they have also gained new crowd-favourites like Marlon Johnson and Brady Skeens.
4. Zac Overwater Breakthrough Season
The Stingers have undergone some changes at the center position. Most notably, Travis Daniels and Brody Clarke who will not return to the Stingers this season. In their place, Marlon Johnson and Zac Overwater. Overwater has played extremely limited minutes in his first two minutes with the Stingers. However, his minutes have been extremely promising. On top of that, Overwater had an incredible season in Spain. As the first option on his team, Overwater averaged a near 20 point double-double. While his team was not winning, Overwater proved he was an extremely capable big.
Marlon Johnson will obviously fill the role that Travis Daniels leaves open, but it will be Zac Overwater who will step in to Brody Clarke’s role as “off the bench big man”. I can see Overwater taking advantage of his minutes and putting together an impressive season.
It’s cliche, but the Stingers have to be the favourites for the championship once again. The CEBL hasn’t gotten much stronger to be blunt. It has gotten younger, with many new players straight from college, but the veteran experience of the Stingers makes them a favourite to win it all.
On top of that, the Stingers are the unofficial hosts of Championship Weekend, which will give them home court advantage, and an automatic berth in the playoffs. It’s hard to see this Stingers team losing on home court in front of fans in the playoffs.