The U of M continues to generate professional sports talent.
With the eighth-overall selection in the 2020 Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) draft, the Saskatchewan Rattlers selected Bisons guard Rashawn Browne.
“I had an idea, but nothing is ever guaranteed,” Browne said.
“The coaching staff had reached out before the draft just to make sure I was interested. As for the actual draft, it was a great feeling.
“Just the fact that I am now able to call myself a professional basketball player after all the years of work feels rewarding, but I do know that the real work starts now.”
With its two other picks, Saskatchewan looked within its provincial borders, selecting Chan De Ciman in the first round and Alexander Dewar in the third. Both are products of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
Being picked first in the second round is a great accomplishment in any league, as teams spend valuable picks to snag the best talent available. Browne said he knows what it means to have a team jump in to draft you with an early pick and is ready for the challenge.
“It was a good feeling to me, it showed they believed in me,” Browne said.
“There were a lot of people that could have been selected, but they knew what they were looking for and now it’s my job to go out and perform.”
Seeing the Toronto-born guard selected in the top 10 should not surprise anyone, as he was one of the best players at his position in Canada West during the 2019-20 season. He finished third in the conference in assists with 99, points-per-game with 19.6 and turnovers with 68.
His 94-121 record from the free-throw line was at the top of the conference and his 353 points were seventh-best in the conference as well.
Saskatchewan dipping into the Bisons’ well during the CEBL draft is not new, as the club chose former Bisons guard Justus Alleyn 16th overall in the league’s inaugural draft last season.
“Justus had nothing but good things to say about [the Rattlers],” Browne said.
“He said they were a well-run organization and that they would be a good team to continue my development with.”
Alleyn and the Rattlers finished third in the CEBL in 2019 with an 11-8 record but made a strong run to the CEBL finals, knocking off the Hamilton Honey Badgers to win the league’s first championship.
Browne can now turn his attention toward getting ready for his first professional season, living out a dream many other athletes never reach.
And despite the current global pandemic, he is doing everything he can to stay in shape until he can set foot back in the gym.
“What does change my plan — and by my plan I mean training plan — is the COVID-19 stuff,” he said.
“I am trying to do as much as I can to stay in shape at home until it has all passed.
“Normally, I would have set up a lot of workouts with my trainers and coaches to prepare myself for the pro game.”