OTTAWA, Ontario - The Ottawa BlackJacks of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) have announced signing of Carleton Ravens guard Alain Louis as a U Sports Developmental Player for the 2021 season.
“Alain is a very talented player with a lot of potential, said BlackJacks General Manager Jevohn Shepherd. “He has a winning mindset and is a great competitor. He will have the opportunity to learn from experienced pros which will help him get to the next level. I am looking forward to seeing his growth in the next few weeks.”
A six-foot-one guard from Montreal, Louis is averaging 7.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 45 career games with the Ravens. He was drafted in the third round (15th overall) by the BlackJacks during the club’s inaugural 2020 CEBL U Sports Draft.
"I am thankful for the opportunity to wear the BlackJacks logo and represent a city and a community that has been supporting me since I moved here four years ago,” Louis said. “I will be practicing and competing against players who have a lot of success in some of the top professional leagues around the world, it’s definitely going to be an enriching experience.”
Louis has played three seasons with the Ravens, where he was a part of two national and three provincial championship teams. He is looking at spending the summer with the BlackJacks as a great opportunity.
“It’s a way to improve yourself, and to see where you are and what the next level looks like,” Louis said.
Louis is coming off a strong 2019-20 season. He averaged 11.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 18.0 minutes in 27 games and helped his team capture their second consecutive U Sports national title at the Arena at TD Place. Louis ranked third in the OUA in field-goal percentage (.617) and had his best statistical sequence of the season in February where he scored 20 or more points for three consecutive games, February 15-26.
Little did the Ravens, let alone anyone in the country, realize that would be the last university basketball played for more than a year-and-a-half.
“At first, it was frustrating,” Louis said of the lockdown that caused the cancellation of last season. “The coaches spent a lot of time with us, and told us we really have to take things seriously. We had to take that time to focus on our skills and on our weaknesses. While we were on our own, we had to focus on being better induvial players, which would make us a better team.”
While Louis is already a gifted shooter, he wanted to work on getting his shot off more quickly.
“I took the time to refine my shooting,” he said. “I also wanted to find different ways to score. For my shot, I worked on getting my feet set more quickly and getting my shot off more quickly.”
Playing in the CEBL will help Louis with those points in his game.
“The speed of the game will be lot faster,” he said. “We will be playing against better athletes with more speed and more size. There will be less space and less time.”
Louis grew up in Montreal, and his first sport was soccer. After an injury sidelined him for more than two months as an 11-year-old, he came back and dedicated his efforts on the other sport he loved, basketball.
Eventually, Louis ended up at the basketball powerhouse Thetford Academy. A few years before he was there, Chris Boucher, now of the Toronto Raptors, starred for the school. Osvaldo Jeanty had scouted Louis for the Ravens.
“There are two reasons I went to Carleton,” Louis said. “They were Dave Smart and Osvaldo Jeanty. I had developed a good relationship with Osvaldo, and when I told him I was not going to play D-1 (NCAA) basketball, he put me in touch with Dave.”
Louis fell in love with what he saw at Carleton. “I love to compete,” he said. “This was the program for me.”
While getting his feet wet on the basketball court was a challenge for Louis, the academic demands of being a journalism student were also challenging. As much as he had support as a player, he also received the support he needed as a student.
“I’m not going to lie, the first year was insane,” Louis said. “I have to give credit to the coaching staff. They made sure I knew how important getting my degree was. They forced me to focus, and they did a great job in helping me as a student.”
Louis said that after the CEBL season, he will return to Carleton to play for the Ravens, go for another national championship, and most importantly, finish his degree. After he graduates, he is hoping to play professionally, and then use his journalism degree to stay in the game he loves.
When asked what basketball player he would love to interview as a journalist, he made no hesitation with his answer.
“It would be Chris Paul,” he said of one of his favourite players, who is the Phoenix Suns’ point guard. “He is a floor general and a leader. He makes everyone else on his team a better player. Those are the things I would like to do.”
While Paul is an NBA player who Louis has watched carefully, there was also a former Raven who had a big impact on the Carleton guard.
“When I came to Carleton, I was obsessed with watching Kaza Kajami-Keane play,” Louis said. “I learned so much from him. I watched everything he did, every play. He is the player who I tried to pattern my game after.” Kajami-Keane now plays for Le Mans Sarthe of the LNB Pro A league in France.