St. Catharines, ON – The Niagara River Lions announced today the signing of 2022 Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) Most Valuable Player, Khalil Ahmad presented by Your Legal Services. The 6’4 American guard from Corona, California will re-join the River Lions for a second season after just returning from Israel playing for Hapoel Beer Sheva where he averaged 12.9 points, 3.2 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game.
“Khalil is a phenomenal lead guard who can create for himself and others constantly,” said Head Coach and General Manager, Victor Raso. “Khalil is also a fantastic young man and a great teammate. We are excited to have him back with us!”.
In 2022, Ahmad averaged a CEBL high 20.7 points, River Lions high 4.5 assists and 1.9 steals (fourth best in the league), while shooting 45% from the field during the regular season. He was also fourth for Niagara in rebounds per game (4.0) and helped lead the team to a second-place regular season finish before earning MVP honours. Ahmad earned a reputation as one of the top closers in the league, adding Clutch Player of the Year to his resume after scoring a league record 10 of the 13 target score enders during the 2022 campaign.
Ahmad spent four years at Cal State Fullerton, where he became one of the most prolific scorers in school history, tallying 1768 points in 117 games, the third-highest total in program history. He was named the 2015 Big West Freshman of the Year and was one of just five athletes in school history to earn All-Conference honours three or more times. Ahmad had five 30-point games and 27 20-point games as a Titan, while also holding the school record for most points as a freshman with 429. Early in his senior season, Ahmad scored a career high-40 points, tied for the third-highest single game total in program history.
After a remarkable collegiate career, Ahmad competed in the 2019 Drew Summer League in Los Angeles, an invite-only league that recruits elite NBA and overseas talent during the off-season. Ahmad had no problem fitting in, as he put up a 20-point game playing alongside the likes of Nick Young, DeMar DeRozan and Stanley Johnson.
Following an impressive showing in the Drew League, Ahmad signed his first professional contract with Keflavik Basketball Club in the Domino’s Deildin League in Iceland where he averaged 19 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per game. Ahmad spent his second professional season in Denmark where he averaged 19.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.
“I’m very excited to be returning to the River Lions organization and to the Niagara Region,” said Ahmad. “I’m looking forward to being back inside the Meridian Centre on Saturday in front of the best fans in the CEBL. I know we have some unfinished business from last summer and I can’t wait to contribute to the success of the team both on and off the court.”
Ahmad and the River Lions return to the Meridian Centre on Saturday June 3rd for the 2023 Home Opener after starting the season 0-3 over the course of three road games. Ahmad will be honoured during a special pre-game MVP ceremony on Saturday night. A limited number of tickets remain for the match-up versus the Saskatchewan Rattlers and can be purchased by visiting www.riverlions.ca/tickets.