- Contact Us
ST. CATHARINES, ON – The Niagara River Lions continue to have a budding off-season with the signing of Bilal Benn, now the eighth player to enter the roster.
Hailing from Philadelphia, PA, Benn carries a veteran presence to the floor through his well-travelled career with the Orangeville A’s, several years abroad with Portuguese, Israeli and Lithuanian national basketball leagues, and playing for Villanova University and Niagara University at the collegiate level.
Bilal’s familiarity with the surrounding area makes for a smooth transition to Niagara, as well as having a connection with one of the team’s players.
“I went to Niagara University so I’m familiar with everything up there and I’m excited to play in Niagara and show my whole game,” Bilal continued to add “I knew Sammy (Zeglinski) since he first started playing basketball, so I’m familiar with his game and he knows mine.”
Last season in Orangeville, Benn amassed 9.3 points per game in 34.6 minutes with an average of 5.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.5 steals. His shooting ability was considerably accurate from both field goal range (49.6%) and foul line (79.2%) across 35 games.
Prior to signing with the NBLC, Benn found a significant amount of success with the Israeli National League. Competing for Ironi Nes-Ziona, he garnered 18.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game during the 2012-13 season where he was additionally selected to the League’s All-Star Game and became Israeli National League Champion. On top of these accomplishments, Bilal was named the Israeli National League Finals MVP, Player of the Year and Guard of the Year. Furthermore, Benn achieved a career high field goal percentage of 56.8 percent that season to go along with a 35.7 mark from the three-point range.
“Bilal is a big time player. His flexibility and assertiveness around the court reflects the wealth of experience he brings to the game,” said River Lions President and General Manager Jeffrey Sotiriou.
Head Coach Grâce Lokole is very happy to have Benn come to Niagara.
“Bilal Benn is one of the more well-rounded players in this league. Throughout his career he has averaged over seven rebounds, four assists and over 1.8 steals. He can contribute in several different ways, but one of his biggest assets is on-ball defense. Were very excited to have Bilal and everything he brings.”