Vancouver, British Columbia - The Fraser Valley Bandits announced Wednesday that the club has selected Anthony Tsegakele, Adam Paige and Grant Audu as the club’s three selections at the third annual Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) U SPORTS Draft.
“The Fraser Valley Bandits are thrilled to welcome three U SPORTS Development Athletes to our organization in advance of our 2021 training camp later this spring. The CEBL U SPORTS Draft is an excellent opportunity for our basketball operations staff to identify, select and build relationships with prospective and emerging professional players from the Canadian university system. Today is an example of our commitment to talent identification and Adam, Anthony and Grant are a testament to the strong level of play present in Canada West,” Bandits vice president Dylan Kular said.
A native of Gatineau, Que., Tsegakele was drafted by Fraser Valley with the sixth pick in the first round. A 6-foot-6 forward, Tsegakele was a standout during his first season at Brandon University in 2019-20 under the tutelage of men’s basketball head coach Gil Cheung. A graduate of Thetford Academy—the alma mater of current Toronto Raptor Chris Boucher—Tsegakele averaged 17.4 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game on 50.6 and 43.5 per cent shooting from field goal and three-point range, respectively. Not only did Tsegakele lead Brandon in scoring and rebounding, but his rebounding average was second in Canada West and third overall in Canada.
For his efforts, Tsegakele was named Canada West rookie of the year and earned Canada West and U SPORTS all-rookie team honours, in addition to winning the Jerry Hemmings Award as Brandon men’s basketball’s most valuable player.
“I am very excited to be drafted by the Fraser Valley Bandits. I feel extremely blessed and thank God for this opportunity to be drafted by an organization that is full of winners. I can’t wait to get out there and learn from the players, coaches, members of the front office and to be part of the community. I can’t wait to get started and to interact with the great fans in the valley,” Tsegakele said.
The Bandits drafted local product, Paige, with the club’s second pick, ninth overall. Hailing from Surrey, B.C., Paige is well known in the Fraser Valley and across the province after starring at Semiahmoo Secondary and leading the Totems to a second-place finish at the 2018 B.C. High School 4A Boys Basketball Championship – a tournament that also saw Paige named most outstanding defensive player.A third year forward at the University of Alberta, Paige has averaged 10.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 22.7 minutes per game on 47.4 and 36 per cent shooting from field goal and three-point range over his first two years with the Golden Bears. Paige won Canada West rookie of the year in 2018-19 and was also named to the Canada West and U SPORTS all-rookie teams. After a stellar freshman campaign, Paige was named to Canada’s junior national team for the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in France.
“I am honoured to be selected by the Fraser Valley Bandits and play for my home province. The CEBL has proven that it is a leading destination for U SPORTS and current professional players to develop and showcase their skills. I’m thankful to the Alberta Golden Bears staff and my high school coaches for pushing my limits every day and I am excited for the chance to grow alongside established pros and to get to work this summer,” Paige said
Fraser Valley selected Audu with its final pick of the draft. An athletic guard from Mississauga, Ont., Audu is a 6-foot-4 guard known for his hard-nosed two-way play. Audu averaged 13.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game on 53.1 and 36.5 per cent shooting from field goal and three-point range in 2019-20. Audu has boosted his scoring, assist and shooting percentages over his first three seasons at UBC and started all 18 regular season and three U SPORTS men’s Final 8 games he played in during the 2019-20 campaign.
“I am very grateful for this opportunity to be drafted by the Bandits. I’ve been preparing to play professional basketball since I was a kid and now that opportunity is closer than ever. It almost feels surreal. I look at this as a major growth opportunity. My focus is now preparing myself to compete with professionals. I’d like to thank my father, mother, brother, all of my friends, teammates, coach Kevin and coach Shook and the entire Fraser Valley Bandits organization for this opportunity,” Audu said.
“I’m proud for Anthony to have the opportunity to be part of the Fraser Valley Bandits organization. During his time at Brandon thus far, he has shown that he is a leader and a driven individual who is willing to put in the work to lead by example on the court and to motivate his teammates off of it. This is an exciting new chapter for Anthony and I look forward to seeing him dedicate himself toward further developing his game this summer with the Bandits.”
University of Alberta:
“Adam has shown in his first two years at Alberta that he can impact the game on both sides of the ball. Given his local ties to the Fraser Valley and considering what the CEBL and Fraser Valley Bandits have accomplished since launching, having the opportunity to be part of a professional environment where he can develop, learn and improve represents a tremendous chance for him to grow as an individual on and off the court.”
University of British Columbia (UBC):
“We are thrilled that Grant is getting this opportunity to be drafted by the Fraser Valley Bandits. It speaks to the effort and time that he has put toward honing his skills. This summer represents a chance for him to continue building his talents in a professional basketball setting surrounded by high level and proven professionals.”
The Bandits open the 2021 season at home versus Edmonton on Saturday, June 5 at 1 p.m. PT at Abbotsford Centre. Fraser Valley’s home opener against Edmonton will be broadcast nationally on CBC. All regular season games will also be live streamed on the free CBC Gem streaming service, cbcsports.ca, the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices and on a new OTT streaming platform that the CEBL will unveil this spring.
A league created by Canadians for Canadians, the CEBL has the highest percentage of Canadian players of any professional league in the country, with 80 percent of its 2020 rosters being Canadians. Players come from the NBA G League, top international leagues, the Canadian national team program, and top NCAA and U SPORTS programs.
More information about the Bandits is available at thebandits.ca, as well as on Instagram (@fvbandits.cebl), Twitter (@FV_Bandits), Facebook (@fvbandits.cebl), TikTok, and YouTube.