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Former Raptor Jalen Harris joins CEBL

The Raptors still hold the former second-round pick’s rights. Could he return to the Raptors?

NBA: Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Harris has signed a contract with the Scarborough Shooting Stars of the CEBL, the team announced on Tuesday.

A former second round pick of the Toronto Raptors (59th overall), Harris played for the Raptors in the 2020-21 “Tampa Tank” season, impressing with a couple of late-season scoring outbursts. Unfortunately, after his rookie year, Harris was handed a one-year NBA suspension for using a banned substance.

The Raptors, however, still hold his rights as a restricted free agent, and can re-sign him, if they are so inclined. A stint in the CEBL is a great opportunity for Harris to show off his game and make a good impression, one that hopefully leads him back to the NBA.

Harris made a few early season garbage-time appearances last season before joining the Raptors 905 for the shortened 2020-21 G League season; he was impressive on offense in his seven G League games played, averaging 18 points a game on 46% shooting; even more impressive, he lit it up from downtown, shooting 50% on 5.7 attempts per game!

When he made it back up the big club, Harris was used sparingly as the season wound down — until the final handful of games, that is. In four appearances in Toronto’s final five games, Harris averaged 18.5 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists on 52/41/78 shooting splits. He looked like a potential bench scoring threat/backup two-guard in the making!

Alas, Harris failed a drug test and the yearlong suspension came down. It seemed to me to unnecessarily harsh; I certainly would have preferred for a young player like Harris to be put into some sort of rehab or therapy program, rather than just being booted!

Harris kept working, though; he spent the 2021-22 season with Vanoli Cremona in Italy, where he averaged 14 points a game on 39% shooting. Now he’s back with the Shooting Stars — and if that name sounds familiar, it’s because the Shooting Stars also signed rapper J. Cole last week! As our guy Sean Woodley says, Scarborough ain’t fucking around.

WIth the CEBL, Canada Basketball, and of course, the WNBA all rolling, summer is a great time to be a basketball fan!