Abbotsford’s Marek Klassen comes home to play for Fraser Valley basketball Bandits

The Canadian Elite Basketball League team needs a boost after starting its inaugural year 0-2.

The Fraser Valley Bandits have signed Marek Klassen, one of the team’s regional-round selections at the inaugural Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) Entry Draft.

Klassen, a six-foot-one point guard and Abbotsford native, recently completed his 2018-19 season with Socar Petkimspor in the Turkish Basketball League (TBL). He was the team’s primary ball-handler and logged the most minutes per game at 28.3 a night. Klassen averaged 11.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game and was also the team’s top three-point shooter, nailing 41.7 per cent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

“This is a special opportunity for me to come home and contribute to the development of basketball in my hometown and province,” he said. “Through competing in some of the top pro leagues across Europe, I have had the honour of playing against and alongside elite players. Now, I get to do so in my own backyard.

Klassen was the Bandits’ second selection at the CEBL Entry Draft. A former B.C. Provincial Player of the Year and 2010 High School Triple A MVP as a member of the Yale Lions, Klassen graduated with an MBA from Point Loma Nazarene University, where he starred as one of the nation’s top point guards and three-point shooters in the NAIA. While at Point Loma (2011-15), Klassen won PacWest Conference Freshman of the Year award, was named to the PacWest All-Academic Team and received an All-PacWest Honorable Mention.

Since graduating from Point Loma, Klassen has starred for top-tier pro clubs such as the Leeds Force and Worcester Wolves in the British Basketball League (BBL) where he was named a BBL All-Star. Klassen has also played for CSU Atlassib Sibiu in Romania’s Liga Nationala, and for Bakirkoy Basket before recently suiting up for Socar Petkimspor this past season in Turkey.

The Bandits next game is May 29 in Hamilton as they take on the Honey Badgers at FirstOntario Centre.

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In a corresponding move, the Bandits have released guard Jaylen Bland.

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