Pro basketball returns to Metro Vancouver with Fraser Valley Bandits
Published Thursday, May 9, 2019 3:06PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 9, 2019 7:29PM PDT
It’s been a while, but professional basketball is back in town.
The Fraser Valley Bandits basketball team hits the court Thursday for their first-ever game.
"The Bandits are here and we are looking forward to playing basketball in Abbotsford," Fraser Valley general manager and head coach Peter Guarasci told CTV News.
"I’ve been impressed in practice (with) the way these guys can execute and the IQ level of some of the players, I think they are going to see a good brand of basketball."
Training camp only started last week and Guarasci says he is impressed on how well the team has been able to come together in such a short time.
The new Canadian Elite Basketball League is comprised of six teams: Saskatchewan, Edmonton and three in Ontario.
The league will play under the rules of the International Basketball Federation, but with a league implemented mandate for each team to have at least seven Canadians on their 10 player roster.
One local player who is hoping to make an impact for the Bandits is point guard Joel Friesen.
"We are just trying to grow the game in Canada," he said.
The team’s first overall pick in the entry draft says he's excited to be playing in front of his hometown crowd.
"This sport is constantly growing we have plenty of Canadian’s going to the NCAA, we are just trying to bring that talent back if they want to come and put on a show for the hometown fans that’s why I’m here," he said.
The CEBL season goes from May to the end of August.
The Bandits tip off against the Guelph Nighthawks Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Abbotsford Centre.