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FV Bandits Name First Three Draft Selections

Abbotsford – The Fraser Valley Bandits announced Wednesday that the club has selected Anthony Tsegakele, Adam Paige and Grant Audu as the club’s three selections at the third annual Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) U SPORTS Draft.

“The Fraser Valley Bandits are thrilled to welcome three U SPORTS Development Athletes to our organization in advance of our 2021 training camp later this spring. The CEBL U SPORTS Draft is an excellent opportunity for our basketball operations staff to identify, select and build relationships with prospective and emerging professional players from the Canadian university system. Today is an example of our commitment to talent identification and Adam, Anthony and Grant are a testament to the strong level of play present in Canada West,” Bandits vice president Dylan Kular said.

A native of Gatineau, Que., Tsegakele was drafted by Fraser Valley with the sixth pick in the first round. A 6-foot-6 forward, Tsegakele was a standout during his first season at Brandon University in 2019-20 under the tutelage of men’s basketball head coach Gil Cheung. A graduate of Thetford Academy—the alma mater of current Toronto Raptor Chris Boucher—Tsegakele averaged 17.4 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game on 50.6 and 43.5 per cent shooting from field goal and three-point range, respectively. Not only did Tsegakele lead Brandon in scoring and rebounding, but his rebounding average was second in Canada West and third overall in Canada.

For his efforts, Tsegakele was named Canada West rookie of the year and earned Canada West and U SPORTS all-rookie team honours, in addition to winning the Jerry Hemmings Award as Brandon men’s basketball’s most valuable player.

“I am very excited to be drafted by the Fraser Valley Bandits. I feel extremely blessed and thank God for this opportunity to be drafted by an organization that is full of winners. I can’t wait to get out there and learn from the players, coaches, members of the front office and to be part of the community. I can’t wait to get started and to interact with the great fans in the valley,” Tsegakele said.

The Bandits drafted local product, Paige, with the club’s second pick, ninth overall. Hailing from Surrey, B.C., Paige is well known in the Fraser Valley and across the province after starring at Semiahmoo Secondary and leading the Totems to a second-place finish at the 2018 B.C. High School 4A Boys Basketball Championship – a tournament that also saw Paige named most outstanding defensive player. A third year forward at the University of Alberta, Paige has averaged 10.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 22.7 minutes per game on 47.4 and 36 per cent shooting from field goal and three-point range over his first two years with the Golden Bears. Paige won Canada West rookie of the year in 2018-19 and was also named to the Canada West and U SPORTS all-rookie teams. After a stellar freshman campaign, Paige was named to Canada’s junior national team for the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in France.

“I am honoured to be selected by the Fraser Valley Bandits and play for my home province. The CEBL has proven that it is a leading destination for U SPORTS and current professional players to develop and showcase their skills. I’m thankful to the Alberta Golden Bears staff and my high school coaches for pushing my limits every day and I am excited for the chance to grow alongside established pros and to get to work this summer,” Paige said.

Fraser Valley selected Audu with its final pick of the draft. An athletic guard from Mississauga, Ont., Audu is a 6-foot-4 guard known for his hard-nosed two-way play. Audu averaged 13.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game on 53.1 and 36.5 per cent shooting from field goal and three-point range in 2019-20. Audu has boosted his scoring, assist and shooting percentages over his first three seasons at UBC and started all 18 regular season and three U SPORTS men’s Final 8 games he played in during the 2019-20 campaign.

“I am very grateful for this opportunity to be drafted by the Bandits. I’ve been preparing to play professional basketball since I was a kid and now that opportunity is closer than ever. It almost feels surreal. I look at this as a major growth opportunity. My focus is now preparing myself to compete with professionals. I’d like to thank my father, mother, brother, all of my friends, teammates, coach Kevin and coach Shook and the entire Fraser Valley Bandits organization for this opportunity,” Audu said.

NameRound SelectedPositionEligibilityHeightHometownHigh SchoolUniversity
Anthony TsegakeleRound 1, 6th overallForward2nd year 6’6Gatineau, Que.Thetford AcademyBrandon University
Adam PaigeRound 2, 9th overallForward3rd year6’8Surrey, B.C.Semiahmoo SecondaryUniversity of Alberta
Grant AuduRound 3, 20th overallGuard 4th year 6’4Mississauga, Ont.Thornlea SecondaryUniversity of British Columbia

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