The Fraser Valley Bandits went to three different provinces and three different university programs to select talent at the 2021 Canadian Elite Basketball League U Sports Draft.
The Bandits chose Quebec’s Anthony Tsegakele (first round, sixth overall), Surrey’s Adam Paige (second round, ninth overall) and Ontario’s Grant Audu (third round, 20th overall) to add to the 2021 roster.
The selections were announced on Wednesday (April 14).
Tsegakele, a member of the Brandon University Bobcats, was named the Canada West rookie of the year in the 2019-20 season and also earned both Canada West and U Sports all-rookie team honours.
He averaged 17.4 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game with the Bobcats in 2019-20, while shooting 50.6 per cent from the field and 43.5 per cent from beyond the arc. The 6-6 forward led Brandon in scoring and rebounding, and was second in rebounds for Canada West and third in the country.
“I am very excited to be drafted by the Fraser Valley Bandits,” Tsegakele stated in a press release. “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.”
Paige starred at Semiahmoo Secondary, leading the Totems to a second-place finish at the 2018 B.C. High School 4A Boys Basketball Championship. He went on to join the University of Alberta Golden Bears and won the 2018-19 Canada West rookie of the year. Over his two seasons with the Edmonton-based program he has averaged 10.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and shot 47.4 per cent from the field. The 6-8 forward was also named to Canada’s national junior 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,” Paige stated. “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.”
Audu, a 6-4 guard from the UBC Thunderbirds, averaged 13.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 2019-20. He also shot 53.1 per cent from the field and is heading into his fourth year of eligibility with the Vancouver-based school. The Thunderbirds won the Canada West crown and then earned a U Sports bronze medal in 2020.
“I am very grateful for this opportunity to be drafted by the Bandits,” he stated. “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.”
The first overall pick in the draft was Bishop’s University Gaiters guard Nervens Demosthene, who was chosen by the Saskatchewan Rattlers.
The Bandits are scheduled to open the 2021 CEBL regular season at Abbotsford Centre on June 5.