The Fraser Valley Bandits held a free agent camp at UFV on Saturday. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Fraser Valley Bandits ink pair of players

Abbotsford’s Friesen, seven-footer Bachynski sign with local basketball team

The Fraser Valley Bandits have officially signed the first two members of the new basketball team’s inaugural roster.

The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) club announced the signing of first overall draft pick Joel Friesen on Friday.

Friesen, a six-foot-five guard from Abbotsford, is a Yale Secondary grad and has played the past few seasons in the National Basketball League Canada (NBLC).

Friesen officially turned pro in 2015, signing with the Niagara River Lions of the National Basketball League of Canada.

He was later dealt to the Halifax Hurricanes and won a NBLC championship in 2016 before joining the NBLC’s London Lightning, which won rings in 2017 and 2018. This past season he averaged 12.4 points per game for the Kitchener-Waterloo Titans.

Friesen’s roots run deep in the Fraser Valley. He was a key cog in the Yale Lions’ 3A senior boys title-winning team in 2008 and was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

Friesen then went on to become a Canada West All-Rookie Team selection as part of the then-UCFV Cascades.

Friesen is credited with helping carry the Cascades to the team’s first-ever Canada West final four berth in 2012 after hitting an iconic buzzer beater against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.

Friesen concluded his U Sports career at the University of Alberta, where he played as an important member of the Golden Bears team that won a Canada West championship in 2013.

“The opportunity to come home and be a part of the Fraser Valley Bandits is nothing short of a blessing. I have many fond memories of the Fraser Valley, and Abbotsford will always be home,” he said.

“I’ve always tried to set an example for the next generation to follow, and I believe that signing with the Bandits is a great opportunity to engage with the community and inspire youth to pursue their dreams.

“Basketball is a powerful platform, and I intend to use it to champion a lasting legacy in British Columbia and beyond.”

The Bandits then announced the signing of Dallin Bachynski on Sunday.

Bachynski, a seven-foot centre from Calgary, averaged 10.9 points per game this past season for BC Beroe of the National Basketball League (NBL), Bulgaria’s top professional basketball league.

Bachynski has a history of basketball success dating back to his days as a top prospect in Calgary’s high school basketball community.

Bachynski won city titles with both Centennial High School and Sir Winston Churchill High School before playing four years of NCAA Division I basketball – one year at Southern Utah University (2009-10), and three years at the University of Utah (2012-15).

As a member of the Utah Utes, Bachynski earned a reputation as a locker room leader who inspired teammates with his physical play – diving for loose balls, setting screens, and collecting offensive and defensive rebounds.

Bachynski averaged 4.6 points per game, 3.3 rebounds per game, while also shooting 53.9 per cent from field-goal range over the course of his four-year collegiate basketball career. In 2015, Bachynski capped off his NCAA career with a March Madness run as a key contributor for the Utah Utes men’s basketball team.

Since turning pro, Bachynski has broadened his offensive arsenal, and has become a three-point threat.

His professional resume spans the globe, with stops in some of the world’s top international pro leagues, including time spent at the NBA Summer League with the Toronto Raptors in Las Vegas in 2015 and the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA G League in 2015-16, before travelling overseas to play for pro clubs in Argentina, Poland, Japan and England.

In other Bandits news, the team’s training camp opened on Monday at UFV and runs until the season opener.

Opening night sees the Bandits welcome the Guelph Nighthawks to the Abbotsford Centre on May 9 starting at 7 p.m.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers and COVID-19 contact tracers must stop, Chilliwack soccer club says

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

Gurkirat Toor has been charged after allegedly pointing a gun at another driver on Oct. 23 in Abbotsford.
Man charged after gun pointed at another driver in Abbotsford

Gurkirat Toor, 21, previously charged with purple-fentanyl bust

The Abbotsford Teachers’ Union stated that local teachers worked without heat on Friday as secondary principals’ and vice-principals’ were at a work-related retreat in Whistler. (Google)
Abbotsford Teachers’ Union says teachers left in the cold on Friday

Abbotsford School District disagrees, saying all buildings were set to 21C on Pro-D Day

The Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation held its inaugural Grand Gala in November 2019 at Harrison Hot Springs Resort. This year’s event will be held online. (Submitted photo)
Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation holds virtual Grand Gala

Second annual event takes place online on Nov. 20, raising funds for local hospitals

Abbotsford author Katrina Wiggins has been shortlisted for the Page Turner Award eBook Award for her young adult novel, Blind the Eyes.
Abbotsford author shortlisted for literary award for young adult novel

Katrina Wiggins’ book Blind the Eyes is about climate crisis and monsters

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

It’s been eight years since Gordon Spencer (pictured), and cousin, ‘Lil’ Bruce Mayo, were gunned down in a home in Langley, and Spencer’s widow is hoping someone who knows something will step up (file)
Eight years on and still no answers in Langley double murder

Wife of victim makes public appeal for people with information to come forward

Langley resident Shaun Nugent, who died in 2019 shortly after he saved a swimmer from drowning, has been awarded a posthumous medal for bravery by the Royal Canadian Humane Association (Courtesy Nugent family)
Langley man who died after saving swimmer receives posthumous medal for bravery

Shaun Nugent rescued woman from Hayward Lake near Mission in July of 2019

Most Read