Abbotsford – The Fraser Valley Bandits unveiled the club’s Training Camp Roster for its 2020 season in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL).
Bandits fans have lots to look forward to this season as Bandits Head Coach and General Manager Kyle Julius has signed 10 new players as part of the team’s Training Camp Roster. The collection of talent features eight Canadians, two Americans and a Canadian U SPORTS Development Athlete.
When actual camp and the season starts is still anyone’s guess.
“As a coaching staff we are pleased with the construction of our roster. This group of players embodies our values of Grit and Grind and has the ability to play with pace and tempo. We are excited to compete with this group and fight for competitive greatness,” Julius said.
American newcomers are John Fields and Cameron Forte. A 6-foot-9 forward from Fayetteville, N.C., Fields has the ability and size to play both the power forward and centre positions and started 18 of 34 games for the Tennessee Volunteers in 2010-11 before turning pro. Fields played for União Desportiva (U.D.) Oliveirense in Portugal’s Liga Portuguesa de Basquetebol (LPB) this past season where he finished the 2019-20 campaign second in team scoring with 16.3 points per game, second in field goal shooting at 60.6 per cent and first in rebounds with 10.1 per game. Fields’ rebounding and points per game averages placed him second and 15th in league rankings, respectively.
Forte is a 6-foot-7 forward from Tempe, Ariz., and is a bruising force that uses his physicality and will to dominate around the rim. Forte began the 2019-20 season with the London Lightning where in four games he averaged 29 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists on 67.5 per cent shooting from the field. After his stop with the Lighting, Forte joined Club Atlético Goes, a professional team in the Liga Uruguaya de Basketball, where he averaged 24.2 points, eight rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game on 61.1 per cent shooting from the field.
Hometown product Marek Klassen returns to the Bandits keep after a stellar 2019 campaign in the CEBL that saw the Abbotsford native and Yale Secondary alumnus average a CEBL-leading 7.2 assists per game in 2019. He set the league record for assists in a game when he recorded 15 assists against the Hamilton Honey Badgers in a 100-82 victory on July 6, 2019. For his accomplishments, Klassen was named a CEBL Second Team All-Star. Klassen played for BC Kyiv Basket in the Ukrainian Basketball SuperLeague during the 2019-20 season where he posted an impressive line of 12.7 points, 2.4 rebounds and six assists per game on 48.9 and 50.9 per cent shooting from field goal and three-point range.
Julius has recruited an impressive guard corps, with decorated players such as Junior Cadougan, Malcolm Duvivier, Joey Haywood, Kyle Johnson, Jahenns Manigat and Jabs Newby all set to compete at the point and shooting guard positions.
A graduate of Marquette University, Cadougan has been a frequent member of Team Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team. He represented Canada at the 2015 Pan American Games and the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup. Cadougan previously played for Julius when the two won a championship together with the London Lightning in 2016-17. A fellow integral member of that Lightning championship team was Johnson. A member of Great Britain’s national team, Johnson joins the Bandits the summer and is entering his 10th season of professional basketball. Johnson is coming off a strong season in Iceland where he averaged 13.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game for Stjarnan.
Another player who has played for Julius before is Newby. Newby played for Julius in 2014-15 as a member of the Mississauga Power (now the Raptors 905 of the NBA G League). Newby suited up for UDEA Baloncesto in Spain in 2019-20 and averaged 6.2 points, 2.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game over 25 games.
Bringing additional leadership and a well-documented shot making ability to the Bandits is Manigat. An alumnus of Creighton University, Manigat recently played for DEAC Kosárlabda during the 2019-20 season where he averaged 11.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game. The 2019-20 campaign was Manigat’s second year with the club and he started 15 of 21 games for DEAC. During his tenure at Creighton, Manigat averaged 6.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 43.6 and 40.6 per cent shooting from field goal and three-point range. Manigat currently ranks sixth in school history with 206 three-pointers made and served as a three-year captain of the Bluejays.
One member of the Bandits’ youth movement is Duvivier, who began his professional career after averaging 14.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game in his final collegiate season at the University of Akron in 2017-18. This past 2019-20 season, Duvivier played for the Sudbury Five where he continued to develop as a professional and recorded averages to 9.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.
Rounding out the internal competition at the guard position is veteran Joey Haywood. Born and raised in Vancouver, Haywood solidified himself as one of the greatest players in St. Mary’s Huskies and Atlantic University Sport (AUS) history over the course of his three seasons (2008-2011) at St. Mary’s. He averaged 24.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game on 52.6 and 41 per cent shooting from field goal and three-point range. Haywood’s 28.8 points per game in his final season at St. Mary’s ranked him first in scoring across all of Canadian Interuniversity Sport. Haywood played for Bandits Head Coach and General Manager Kyle Julius as a member of the 3D Global Sports Canada team that won the 39th William Jones Cup Championship in 2017.
In addition to a deep group of guards, Julius has brought length and athleticism to his roster in the form of Mamadou Gueye and Daniel Adediran. A 6-foot-7 forward from Quebec City, Que., Gueye starred for the Alberta Golden Bears where he averaged 15 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 steals per game over the course of an illustrious university career. Gueye graduated from Alberta as the school’s third all-time leading scorer. His list of achievements includes Canada West Rookie of the Year (2014), three-time Canada West second-team all-star (2015, 2016, 2018) and he ranks third in school history with 657 rebounds. Gueye played for the Halifax Hurricanes during the 2019-20 season and averaged 11.2 points, 5.6 rebounds on 54.3 and 43.5 per cent from field goal and three-point range. Gueye played in the CEBL last year and was a key part of the Edmonton Stingers.
Adediran was selected by the Bandits in the second round of the 2020 CEBL-U SPORTS Draft. Adediran is entering his fifth year with the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades. He started 17 of the 18 games he played in 2019-20. He averaged 7.3 points and six rebounds in 18.6 minutes per game. Adediran’s best game of the season was on Jan. 4 when he scored 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and also grabbed five offensive rebounds (13 total) against the University of British Columbia (UBC) Thunderbirds.
“The Bandits front office is excited to welcome some of Canada’s finest men’s professional basketball players to a region that is hungry for basketball and has a history of developing high-level players of its own. Coach Julius and his staff have assembled a collection of high-character individuals who lead by example on and off the court,” Bandits Vice President Dylan Kular said.