Fraser Valley – The Fraser Valley Bandits announced Tuesday the team’s coaching staff for the 2020 Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) season. Joining head coach and general manager Kyle Julius’ staff are Rob Damiani as assistant general manager, David Singleton as assistant coach, K.J. Smith as an advance scout, as well as Julius’ father, Stu, who will serve as a senior advisor.
A native of Toronto, Ont., Damiani brings more than five years of basketball operations experience from the NBLC. He first worked under Julius with the Mississauga Power in 2014-15 and then joined the Kitchener-Waterloo (KW) Titans as the club’s assistant general manager in 2016-17. Damiani spent three total seasons with the Titans before joining the Formosa Dreamers as an advance scout in the fall of 2019 to support Julius’ basketball operations staff in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).
Joining Damiani on the staff is Singleton, who has a similar track record of success and rapport with Julius. Singleton has coached professionally in New Zealand, Vietnam and Indonesia. In particular, Singleton served as the Head Coach and General Manager of the Cantho Catfish in the Vietnam Basketball Association (VBA) during the 2016 campaign. Singleton then joined the Saigon Heat as the lead assistant coach on Julius’ staff in the ABL for two seasons from 2017-2019. Specializing in video coordination and player development, Singleton became the Heat’s head coach for its 2019 campaign and led the team to its first VBA championship with recently signed Bandit Tavarion Nix at the Heat’s helm.
Bolstering the Bandits’ scouting corps is Smith, who is currently an assistant coach for Basquete Unifacisa in Novo Basquete Brasil, the first division league of Brazil’s Liga Nacional de Basquete. The 2018-19 season was Smith’s first year with the club and he helped the team win its first Liga Ouro (second division) championship thanks to a top four offensive and defensive ranking. Following the championship, the team was promoted to the first division where they were preparing for the playoffs prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the cancellation of the season.
The San Ramon, Calif., native is the eighth basketball coach in a family that has dedicated itself to the game for generations. The members of his family’s coaching lineage extend from the high school level to the WNBA. Smith’s grandfather, Fred Smith, was drafted in 1968 to the Milwaukee Bucks. Smith specializes in both player development and scouting. He got his start coaching Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball with the North Bay Basketball Academy (California) and the Erik Spoelstra Basketball Academy (Miami, Fla.). He has also worked as a scout for PrepHoops Northern California, evaluating youth basketball talent with prospective collegiate potential.
Stu Julius will serve as a senior advisor on his son Kyle’s staff. Stu has a decorated basketball lineage that spans various levels of Canadian professional basketball. Stu joined the Lakehead Thunderwolves program in 1981 and served as head coach of the women’s basketball team for 18 years. He was named coach of the year twice during his tenure as head coach at Lakehead.
Lakehead missed the playoffs just once under Julius’ watch as he amassed an impressive coaching record of 311-250 with the Thunderwolves.
He led the Thunderwolves to nationals twice and took the mantle as athletic director in 1991. Over the course of eight years as athletic director, the Thunderwolves hosted nationals four times between 1995 and 1997-1999. Julius was inducted onto the Lakehead athletics department’s wall of fame in 2013.
Following his time at Lakehead, Julius joined Wilfrid Laurier University’s women’s basketball program in 1999 as the team’s head coach. He led the Golden Hawks for nine seasons. Under Julius’ guidance, the Golden Hawks won a provincial silver medal and advanced to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS, now known as U SPORTS) championships in 2002-03 and 2003-04. For his efforts, Julius was named Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West Division Coach of the Year in 2002-03.
Since moving on from Canadian university sport, Julius has worked in the NBLC, both as an assistant coach with the Mississauga Power during the 2014-15 season, as general manager of the KW Titans in 2016-17, and as a performance consultant for the St. John’s Edge in 2018-19.