The Fraser Valley Bandits roster is officially set for the 2020 season in the Canadian Elite Basketball League.
Although the season, which was supposed to begin earlier this month, is still somewhat in limbo – the Bandits roster was recently revealed and it features 10 brand new players that weren’t on the team in 2019.
The lone player returning is Abbotsford’s Marek Klassen, who was one of the club’s top players last season. The Yale Secondary grad led the CEBL with 7.2 assists per game in 2019, and set the league record for assists in a game when he recorded 15 assists on July 6. 2019. Klassen was named a CEBL second team all-star for his efforts. He played professionally in the Ukraine during the winter months.
Bandits head coach and general manager Kyle Julius likes the make up of his roster.
“As a coaching staff we are pleased with the construction of our roster. This group of players embodies our values of grit and grind and has the ability to play with pace and tempo. We are excited to compete with this group and fight for competitive greatness,” Julius stated in a press release.
American newcomers are John Fields and Cameron Forte. A 6-foot-9 forward from Fayetteville, N.C., Fields has the ability and size to play both the power forward and centre positions and started 18 of 34 games for the Tennessee Volunteers in 2010-11 before turning pro. Forte is a 6-foot-7 forward from Tempe, Ariz., and is a bruising force that uses his physicality and will to dominate 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 shooting from the field.
Julius has recruited an impressive guard corps, with decorated players such as Junior Cadougan, Malcolm Duvivier, Joey Haywood, Jahenns Manigat and Jabs Newby all set to compete at the point and shooting guard positions.
A graduate of Marquette University, Cadougan has been a frequent member of Team Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team. He represented Canada at the 2015 Pan American Games and the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup. Cadougan previously played for Julius when the two won a championship together with the London Lightning in 2016-17.
Newby played for Julius in 2014-15 as a member of the Mississauga Power (now the Raptors 905 of the NBA G League).Bringing additional leadership and a well-documented shot making ability to the Bandits is 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.
One member of the Bandits’ youth movement is Duvivier, who began his professional 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 to 9.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.
Rounding out the internal competition at the guard position is veteran Joey Haywood. Born and raised in Vancouver, Haywood solidified himself as one of the greatest players in St. Mary’s Huskies and Atlantic University Sport (AUS) history over the course of his three seasons (2008-2011) at St. Mary’s.
In addition to a deep group of guards, Julius has brought length and athleticism to his roster in the form of Mamadou Gueye and Daniel Adediran. Gueye starred for the Alberta Golden Bears where he averaged 15 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 steals per game over the course of an illustrious university career. Adediran was selected by the Bandits in the second round of the 2020 CEBL-U Sports Draft. Adediran is entering his fifth year with the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades. He started 17 of the 18 games he played in 2019-20.
“The Bandits front office is excited to welcome some of Canada’s finest men’s professional basketball players to a region that is hungry for basketball and has a history of developing high-level players of its own. Coach Julius and his staff have assembled a collection of high-character individuals who lead by example on and off the court,” Bandits Vice President Dylan Kular said.