The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team has added four new talents for 2020.
The club announced the signings of Cameron Morris, Ahmad Athman, Jiordano Khan and Russell Curley to add to the previous recruits of the Klim twins from Chilliwack.
Morris and Khan both hail from Burnaby and played for new Cascades head coach Joe Enevoldson at Douglas College last season; Athman (Toronto) starred for Toronto Basketball Academy on the prep school scene; and Curley (Mission) joins UFV straight out of the B.C. high school ranks from Thomas Haney Secondary.
Morris becomes the second member of his family to wear the green and white of the Cascades – older brother Andrew Morris starred at UFV for three seasons (2016 through 2019) and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.
The younger Morris began his post-secondary basketball journey with two years at UBC (2017 to 2019, including one redshirt year) and spent last season at Douglas playing alongside his brother Reese, helping the Royals win the Pacwest championship and climb to the top of the CCAA national rankings. He averaged 12.9 points per game, shot 43.4 per cent from beyond the arc and 92.5 per cent from the free throw line – and picked up a tournament all-star nod at the Pacwest championships.
Morris had an outstanding prep career, earning first team provincial all-star honours in 2017 after leading his St. Thomas More Knights to a fifth-place finish at the B.C. 3A championships. He also represented B.C. on a number of occasions, helping the provincial team win gold at the Western Canadian championships at the U16 level, and bronze at nationals at the U17 level.
“Cam is an offensively gifted basketball player, and I’m really looking forward to having that family connection in the program,” Enevoldson said. “The big thing I learned about him this past year was, in clutch moments, he showed a great ability to guard – to block shots, get deflections. We’ve always known he can score in bunches, but his ability to make defensive plays really helped lead us to a conference championship.”
Athman excelled on the elite prep school circuit last season, suiting up for the Toronto Basketball Academy of the National Preparatory Association. He finished fourth on his team in scoring (12.4 points per game) and third in both rebounds (5.2) and assists (2.9) per game. Additionally, he played AAU club basketball for Grassroots Elite. He’s earned a reputation as a lockdown defender, earning multiple defensive player of the year awards in club and high school competition.
Enevoldson began recruiting Athman on the recommendation of TBA head coach Yusuf Ali, who played against Enevoldson’s Douglas squad with the Seneca Sting in the 2018 CCAA national championship game.
“Ahmad played at one of the top prep schools in the country and was really solid,” Enevoldson said. “That’s a league that’s littered with Division I talent, and he put up good numbers. He shot it well from three, and was strong defensively and showed he could really guard the ball. He’s a 3.5 GPA student in the classroom, and he really personifies hard work and composure. I think he’s going to bring a lot to our team early.”
Khan had a stellar high school career at Burnaby South, helping the Rebels win a pair of championships – a B.C. junior title in 2017, and a B.C. 4A senior crown in 2018. Khan earned second team all-star honours at both of those championship tournaments. He also suited up for B.C.’s U17 team for two straight summers, helping the squad to fourth-place finishes at the Canada Summer Games in 2017 and the national championships in 2018.
This past season, Khan played for Enevoldson at Douglas College and was co-winner of the Pacwest rookie of the year award after averaging 4.2 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game while shooting 34.6 per cent from three-point range.
“Jio brings a U Sports level of physicality and defence right away,” Enevoldson said. “Whenever we played U Sports teams in exhibition games, he’d always guard the other team’s best player and he usually did quite well. He’s not going to blow you away with his stats, but he’s a great intangibles guy. He’ll be able to play defence the way we want to, and he’s also a great student.”
Like Morris, Curley has family connections to the UFV men’s basketball program – his father Jake, a former Abbotsford Senior Panthers high school standout, played for the Cascades during the 1996-97 season.
Curley averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds in his senior season at Maple Ridge’s Thomas Haney Secondary, leading the Thunder to a city championship. He earned MVP honours at the David Thompson Invitational and the Cambie Classic, and picked up all-star nods at the W.J. Mouat Hawkball, Chilliwack Storm, and Archbishop Carney tournaments. He’ll redshirt for the Cascades this coming season.
“He has loads of upside,” Enevoldson said. “He’s 6’6”, long, and can play multiple guard positions. We’re looking to the future with Russell – getting him into the program on an elite level and seeing how much upside there is.”