When Mission’s Dhivaan Bhogal first hit the court to play university basketball, he realized how far he had to go.
“It was a huge wake up call because I went in there as a skinny kid out of high school playing against men,” Bhogal said. “It was quite the adjustment but I think I think getting beat up and pushed around a little bit has really helped me.”
Now, the 6’8 Bhogal is balling out for the University of Fraser Valley Cascades in the Canada West conference. The Cascades head into the winter break with a 3-5 record in a tie for 12th behind five teams with four wins.
“I still feel like I’m learning as I go along with what works best for me and figuring out my game. So I think it’s a learning process throughout the whole year.”
Bhogal is averaging 14 points per game on 57 per cent shooting from the floor while hauling in 10 rebounds per game. His season is highlighted by four double-doubles, including a 22-point, 16 rebound performance in a win over the UNBC Timberwolves.
“It’s great for him to be producing at such a high level as a second year guy,” Cascades’ head coach Joe Enevoldson said. “We’re really excited to have him for the next three years. Through tremendous growth, he’s got an opportunity to be arguably the all-time leading rebounder in Cascade history and one of the top five scorers in Cascade history.”
Bhogal didn’t pick up basketball until the eighth grade. His focus was on soccer before he hit a growth spurt — not unexpected since his father also played college basketball. When he finally hit the hardwood, the game came natural to him and he fell in love with basketball.
In high school, Bhogal made the move from Mission Secondary school to WJ Mouat in Abbotsford because the basketball program was more competitive.
“It was a bit of a shock socially,” he said. “It definitely helped me grow as a person and a basketball player.”
He had several schools interested in recruiting him from throughout the country, but he decided to stay close to home.
“I love Mission, I love the community, I love the Valley,” Bhogal said. “I wasn’t super inclined to leave — we live in such a beautiful part of the world too and I get to play in front of my friends and family.”
Bhogal red-shirted his first year at UFV before playing limited minutes in his first season on the court in 2018-19. He sat out two years because of COVID and returned to the court in an expanded role this season.
Enevoldson inherited Bhogal from the previous coach when he took over in 2020 for Adam Friesen. Enevoldson says he can expect Bhogal to be an essentiel part of the program’s future and a consistent double-double player.
“What you’re starting to see now is just his overall fitness level, his ability to stay on the glass, to stay on the floor through sustained periods of time,” Enevoldson said. “You’re starting to see that development.”
Bhogal says his focus is on developing his game and honing in on skills like ball-handling and shooting.
“I know as a basketball player I have a lot of potential and a really high ceiling and if I can reach that I know that I can go some places with basketball and try to go pro.”
The Cascades return to the court in the new year at UFV Athletic Centre where they’ll host the Calgary Dinos for a weekend double-header on Jan. 13 and 14.
“We’re obviously young and we’re building and growing, but I hope we play our best basketball when playoffs roll around,” Bhogal said. “It would be nice to go on a run, turn some heads and get some big wins down the stretch against some higher ranks.”