Abbotsford – The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) announced Friday that two members of the Fraser Valley Bandits, forward Olu Ashaolu and guard Jahenns Manigat, have been named to the All-CEBL Second team. Voting was conducted by coaches, general managers, and the broadcast team that covered the CEBL Summer Series, the league’s single-site tournament held, July 25 to August 9 in St. Catharines, Ont.
The Summer Series saw the Bandits finish second in the CEBL with a 5-3 record. Fraser Valley fell in the Championship game to the Edmonton Stingers.
“I believe that our team was comprised of several all-stars. Each individual on this squad brought a team-first approach and we are proud of what Jahenns, Olu, and the rest of the team were able to accomplish as part of a group that gave everything they had each and every game,” Bandits head coach and general manager Kyle Julius said.
A native of Ottawa, Ont., Manigat led the Bandits in scoring during the six-game round robin, averaging 14.7 points on 50 and 46.3 per cent shooting from field goal and three-point range, respectively, while also collecting 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.7 steals per game. One of Manigat’s most impressive games of the season arrived on Aug. 5 when the Bandits clinched a berth in the semifinals with an 84-70 victory over the Guelph Nighthawks. Manigat came off the bench to play more than 36 minutes and recorded 20 points (7-of-10 from the field), four rebounds, four steals and three assists. The Bandits entered half-time down by seven, but Manigat connected on three of his six three-pointers on the night in the third quarter alone to help the Bandits claim an eventual victory.
Manigat started six of the Bandits’ eight games across round robin and postseason play and will suit up for BC Pieno žvaigždės this fall, whom he previously played for in 2017-18 in the Lietuvos krepšinio lyga (Lithuanian Basketball League, LKL).
Ashaolu and Manigat are joined on the Second team by Tre’Darius McCallum of Guelph, as well as Brianté Weber and Owen Klassen both of Hamilton.
A former standout with the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and Oregon Ducks at the NCAA Division I level, Ashaolu averaged 9.2 points on 53.1 per cent shooting from field goal range, and 3.2 rebounds per game over six round robin games. Ashaolu provided invaluable depth and leadership for the Bandits, as following the midseason departure of Cameron Forte, Ashaolu entered the started lineup and scored 28 combined points in the Bandits’ final two games of the round robin against Niagara and Guelph.
In addition to bringing veteran poise and tutelage to the Bandits, one of Ashaolu’s biggest contributions arrived in the fourth quarter of Fraser Valley’s climactic semifinal game against the Hamilton Honey Badgers. Despite facing a 14-point deficit entering the fourth quarter, Ashaolu cemented the Bandits’ place in CEBL history when he converted a reverse lay-up off a pass from childhood friend and point guard Junior Cadougan to ice the game 76-75. The comeback was the largest fourth quarter comeback in CEBL post-season history.
The game-winning basket punched Fraser Valley’s ticket to the CEBL Championship where the Bandits ultimately fell to the Stingers. Despite the loss, the Bandits’ Summer Series campaign saw the team reverse a 4-16 inaugural 2019 season and finish as runners-up to the CEBL champions.
Together, Ashaolu and Manigat were part of a much-improved Bandits roster. Julius was instrumental in orchestrating Fraser Valley’s turnaround as he brought back guard Marek Klassen as the lone returning player from the Bandits’ 2019 roster and recruited a collection of talented guards and forwards to form Fraser Valley’s new core in his first year as head coach and general manager of the team.
The Bandits finished the round robin leading the CEBL in point differential, second in points, steals and assists per game, and third in points against per game. Fraser Valley also held the Niagara River Lions to the fewest points ever scored (57) in a CEBL game when they defeated Niagara 70-57 on Aug. 2.
The Bandits posted a 5-3 overall record in the CEBL Summer Series. The series tipped off July 25 and became the first professional sports league in Canada to return to play since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in mid-March shut down sports across the country. Games were televised live nationally on CBC, the CBC Gem App, and on cbcsports.ca. They were carried to more than 130 million people internationally thanks to distribution agreements secured in Australia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan by MEDIAPRO Canada, the international media rights and production partner of the CEBL. All Summer Series games were also livestreamed on Twitch.
A league created by Canadians for Canadians, the CEBL has the highest percentage of Canadian players of any professional league in the country, with 80 percent of its current rosters being Canadians. Players come from the NBA G League, top international leagues, the Canadian National team program, and top NCAA programs as well as U SPORTS. The only First Division Professional League Partner of Canada Basketball, the CEBL season typically runs from May through August. More information is available at www.cebl.ca.