Current University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) men’s basketball star signs first professional contract and becomes first Indian-born player to play in the Canadian Elite Basketball League.
Bains will make professional debut on Thursday night (June 27) in Saskatoon against the Saskatchewan Rattlers.
THE Fraser Valley Bandits announced Thursday the signing of Sukhjot Bains, a native of Surrey. Bains’ roots run throughout BC’s basketball landscape. After leading the Tamanawis Wildcats to the B.C. 4A Final Four in 2013-14, Bains was voted B.C.’s top Grade 12 high school boys basketball player in a poll conducted by The Province newspaper. The honour came after Bains averaged 28.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in his senior high school season.
“I am extremely happy to have this opportunity. The Fraser Valley raised me, and the opportunity to show kids from Surrey and throughout the region that their dreams are possible is an absolute honour. From Tamanawis, to prep school in the States, to Wisconsin-Green Bay, to UFV, and now the Bandits—it has been a whirlwind journey,” Bains said.
“I am hoping to be a role model for youth of all ages and backgrounds by showing that if they work hard enough in the classroom and on the court, they can achieve these types of opportunities.”
After Tamanawis, Bains’ basketball journey then took him to Peddie Prep in New Jersey. His solid play led to an offer from Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming. In his second season at Northwest College, Bains averaged 13.4 points and eight rebounds per game, which prompted an offer from NCAA Division 1 school, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Bains spent just one season at Wisconsin-Green Bay before an opportunity to shine on home soil at the U SPORTS level called his name. Bains averaged 3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game in 15.7 minutes per game for Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2017-18. With one season of NCAA Division 1 basketball under his belt, an opportunity to play alongside his brother, Navjot, in his senior year at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) resonated for Sukhjot. In his first season for the Cascades, Bains averaged 12.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 32.4 minutes per game.
Today, prior to entering his senior and final season with the Cascades, Bains takes another step as he becomes a professional basketball player for the Fraser Valley Bandits. Bains, who grew up in Surrey after moving to Canada from India at a young age, will make his Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) debut for Fraser Valley tonight, becoming the first Indian-born player to play in the CEBL. The Bandits take on the Saskatchewan Rattlers at SaskTel Centre at 6 p.m. PT. The game can be streamed live and for free on CEBL TV.
“Sukhjot’s signing is huge as it shows younger players from Surrey and the Fraser Valley that they can make it as well. This is really big within the Indo-Canadian community,” said Aman Heran, who coached the Bains brothers for a number of years as part of his high-level club program, AthElite Basketball.
“He is a great basketball player who is athletic and versatile with the ability to score at the rim and with his shooting. His ability to guard all five positions is probably his greatest asset. As great a basketball player he is, he’s an even better person. Sukhjot is humble and respectful.”
After this week’s road trip, the Bandits return home to take on the Guelph Nighthawks at Abbotsford Centre on Thursday, July 4 at 7 p.m. PT. Tickets can be purchased here.