Fraser Valley/St. Catharines, Ont – The Fraser Valley Bandits announced Thursday the club’s final roster for the upcoming Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) Summer Series. As one of seven teams in the first Canadian professional league to return to play, the Bandits will tip-off with their 11-player final roster against the Edmonton Stingers at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT) on Sunday, July 26 on cbcsports.ca and on the CBC Gem App.
The roster features a collection of championship pedigree guards and forwards who have played at the Olympics, Pan American Games and have represented Canada as members of the Junior and Senior Men’s National Teams.
“We are all having fun challenging and pushing each other. We’ve got a culture of toughness and togetherness and we can’t wait to compete,” Bandits head coach and general manager Kyle Julius said.
The roster consists of eight guards and three forwards. Four members of the Bandits’ guard corps, Marcus Capers, Kyle Johnson and Junior Cadougan have each played previously for Julius before as members of the 2016-17 London Lightning team that won the NBLC title. Eight of the Bandits’ 11 players are Canadians, including one U SPORTS Development Athlete (Daniel Adediran), while the three international players are Capers, Cameron Forte and Tavarion Nix.
The Bandits’ lone returning player is Abbotsford, B.C., native Marek Klassen. Klassen returns to Fraser Valley after a decorated 2019 CEBL campaign that saw the Yale Secondary alumnus average a CEBL-leading 7.2 assists per game in 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, respectively.
Fraser Valley’s forward group is defined by its strength and athleticism. Nix was playing for KB Feronikeli during the 2019-20 campaign prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. Over the course of five games with the club, Nix posted averages of 14 points, 10 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.4 steals per game.
Joining Nix in at the forward position is Forte. The Georgia and Portland State University alumnus brings finesse and a deft touch 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 from the field. After his stop with the Lighting, Forte joined Club Atlético Goes, a professional team in the Liga Uruguaya de Basketball. Forte averaged 24.2 points, eight rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game on 61.1 per cent from the field.
The third and final forward on the roster is Olu Ashaolu, a former standout at the University of Oregon and Louisiana Tech University. Ashaolu is coming off a strong 2019-20 campaign that saw him play in Korea with the Goyang Orions and the St. John’s Edge in Canada. Ashaolu averaged 10.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game on 56.2 per cent from field goal range, while also connecting on 79.3 per cent of his free throw attempts while with the Edge.
As part of his cast of guards, Julius has recruited several familiar faces for the Summer Series. Julius’ first signing as head coach of the Bandits was Kyle Johnson, who has emerged as a steady source of leadership for the Bandits at training camp. A member of Great Britain’s national team, 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.
A fellow familiar face that brings Canadian national team experience and veteran poise is Cadougan, who turned pro after four stellar years of NCAA Division I basketball where he starred for the Marquette University Golden Eagles from 2009 to 2013. Cadougan has played for the St. John’s Edge the past two seasons (2018-19 and 2019-20). Cadougan averaged 12.8 points, 4.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds on 46.7 per cent shooting from the field in 2018-19 on his way to being named an NBLC first team All-Canadian and second-team All-NBLC, as well as the league’s Most Improved Player.
Another player with a well documented history as a sharpshooter is Jahenns 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. 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 served as captain of the Bluejays for three years.
In addition to accuracy and a shooting prowess that runs throughout the roster, Julius has enlisted the help of additional guards with both size, length and agility. Despite only having three forwards, Capers is set to be a multi-positional force defensively as he enters the 2020 CEBL Summer Series campaign with a stacked resume. The former Washington State Cougar showed why he is known as a defensive stalwart this past season as he proved more than capable of guarding multiple positions with his long wingspan and 6-foot-4 frame. Capers averaged 38 minutes, 13.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.8 steals per game with the London Lightning in 2019-20 and for his efforts won NBLC Defensive Player of the Year.
Malcolm Duvivier is the youngest current professional player on the roster. Duvivier began his pro 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 of 9.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.
Added versatility arrives in the form of Newby, who previously 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.
As the Bandits’ U SPORTS selection, Adediran will have a valuable opportunity to learn from current professionals as the final member of the Bandits’ Summer Series roster. Adediran was drafted by the Bandits in the second round of the 2020 CEBL-U SPORTS Draft. Adediran is entering his fifth year of U SPORTS eligibility and will suit up for Trinity Western University after playing his previous four years at the University of the Fraser Valley. 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.
“I’m thrilled to announce our final roster for the CEBL Summer Series. The group that coach Julius and his coaching staff have assembled is defined by individuals of high character who have played at some of the highest collegiate and professional levels across the globe. I’m excited for our fans watching at home on CBC Sports’ platforms to witness the level of talent present on the Bandits and at the CEBL Summer Series,” Bandits vice president Dylan Kular said.
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2020 Fraser Valley Bandits Summer Series Roster