The Fraser Valley Bandits have signed two additional players ahead of the upcoming CEBL Summer Series. (File photo)

Fraser Valley Bandits sign Ashaolu and Nix

Abbotsford-based team adds two more talents ahead of upcoming Summer Series

With the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s Summer Series looming, the Fraser Valley Bandits announced the signings of two more players on Tuesday.

The club announced they have inked former University of Oregon and Louisiana Tech University power forward Olu Ashaolu and international journeyman forward Tavarion Nix.

Ashaolu is coming off a 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. Ashaolu has played across the globe, particularly in Asia, and has enjoyed success with the NLEX Road Warriors, a club that competes in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). In 2017-18, Ashaolu averaged 28 points, 14.3 rebounds and 37 minutes per game while playing for the Road Warriors. The following year with the Road Warriors, he averaged 23.4 points and 13.3 rebounds over the course of eight total games between the Commissioner’s Cup (three games) and Governors’ Cup (five games).

“I have wanted to play for [Bandits] coach [Kyle Julius] for quite some time because we’ve been in the same basketball circles for years and we’ve grown familiar with one another’s work ethic,” he stated in a press release. “This summer presented a great chance to join the Bandits and reunite with my high school peers like Junior Cadougan, Kyle Johnson and Jabs Newby. This team has a roster that already feels like a family and I’m excited to be part of a special group of individuals who will leave everything they have out on the floor.”

A native of Lagos, Nigeria, Ashaolu’s professional career has seen him compete in some of the top professional leagues across Spain, France, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and now Canada. Prior to kickstarting his pro career, Ashaolu grew up in Toronto and played for Canada’s Junior National Team at the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Under-18 Americas Championships in 2006. Ashaolu averaged 13.2 points per game at the tournament and helped lead Canada to a fourth place finish.

Ashaolu then accepted an offer to Louisiana Tech University. After redshirting the 2007-08 campaign, Ashaolu emerged as a key cog for Louisiana Tech. Over three seasons, Ashaolu averaged 10.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists on 52.2 per cent from field goal range. In his third and final season, Ashaolu posted 16 double-doubles, good for 19th most in the entire NCAA in 2010-11. He was also named all-Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Honorable Mention and was awarded a place on the all-WAC Defensive Team. Following three seasons with the Bulldogs, Ashaolu transferred to the University of Oregon for his senior season.

Over the course of 34 games with Oregon in 2011-12, Ashaolu ranked fourth in the Pacific-12 Conference in field goal percentage, shooting 56.5 per cent. He led the Ducks in field goal percentage and offensive rebounds (71) on the year and averaged 9.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game throughout the campaign.

Nix, the team’s other signing, 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.

Nix captured his first championship with Los Brujos in El Salvador’s Liga MB in 2016. Three seasons later Nix captured his second championship in his second season with the Saigon Heat of the Vietnam Basketball Association (VBA). During the 2018-19 championship season with the Heat, Nix averaged 22 points, 13.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, and 1.4 steals per game. Nix stuffed the box score in the championship game as he recorded 30 points, 20 rebounds and four assists as part of the Heat’s decisive 69-68 victory over the Can Tho Catfish.

“I’m happy to officially be a part of the Fraser Valley Bandits family,” Nix stated. “I can’t wait to get to work and compete for a CEBL championship.”

A native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Nix played two seasons at Redlands Community College in El Reno, Okla. from 2011-2013. Nix averaged 9.2 points per game during the 2012-13 season and his 10.7 rebounds per game ranked him ninth in NJCAA Division I. Nix then transferred to Midwestern State University (MSU) where he showcased his two-way arsenal and defensive prowess. Nix shot 51.7 per cent from field goal range during his senior season at MSU and suited up in each of the Mustangs’ 31 games as a reliable contributor off the bench.

RELATED: Fraser Valley Bandits part of Canadian Elite Basketball League’s return-to-play plan

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