Patrick Whelan talks basketball and the King’s upcoming coronation. Photo credit: British Basketball League
The Niagara River Lions have announced the signing of 6’5 guard, Patrick Whelan. The 26-year-old from Warrington, England will join the team for the 2023 Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) campaign, filling the international roster spot that is required by the league.
Whelan is currently finishing his second season with the Leicester Riders of the British BBL where he is averaging 13.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 44.8 in three point percentage in 30.9 minutes per game.
“I am extremely excited about adding Pat to our program,” said Head Coach and General Manager Victor Raso. “A veteran with the Great Britain national team, Pat is a very skilled offensive player and an excellent shooter, but most importantly he impacts winning all different phases of the game and is a great teammate.”
Whelan spent four years at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, where he averaged 15 points, 2.1 assists and 3.9 rebounds from 2014 to 2018. He became the 15th player in the school’s history to reach the 1,000-point milestone prior to his senior season, leaving the program as one of the best players to ever wear the Cardinal uniform.
In 2017, Whelan earned GLVC (Great Lakes Valley Conference) All-Second Team and GLVC All- Defensive team. During his senior year he earned GLVC All-First Team after ranking fourth in the conference in points per game (18.2).
After graduating, Whelan returned to Europe where he played three seasons for Real Murica CB of the Spanish LEB before signing with the Leicester Riders in 2021. Whelan made an immediate impact for the Riders averaging 15 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 47.9 in three-point percentage going on to earn British BBL All-First Team honours and being crowned the 2022 BBL Champions.
Whelan also brings national team experience, having suited up for Great Britain during the first and second window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
“I’m incredibly excited to play for the Niagara River Lions,” said Whelan. “I’ve heard very good things about the club and the CEBL as a whole. The goal for me is to contribute to winning games in any way that I can, and hopefully help the team have a successful season.”
Whelan became the eighth player added to the River Lions roster ahead of the 2023 season.
Off the court, Whelan was asked whether he would be watching Saturday’s coronation of King Charles.
“I’m not the biggest fan or follower of the monarch, but surprisingly my wife seems to know everything about it. When the royal babies are born, she’s the first one to tell me.
I think it’s a nice moment for the country, and we get a day off work for it, but I’ll definitely be enjoying the holiday.”
Whelan and the River Lions open their season May 26 in Montreal.
For more information visit riverlions.ca.
Rod Mawhood is a lifelong Niagara native who has had the pleasure of working in all three mediums – Radio, Print and TV – for over 20 years. His first announcing gig was with the then St. Catharines Stompers. Since then he’s worked in radio and TV in Toronto, and currently is the announcer for the Niagara IceDogs and Niagara River Lions.
Rod also covers the Buffalo Bills for FOX Sports and the Buffalo Sabres for NBC Sports.