The Fraser Valley Bandits have signed the first player in team history to suit up in the NBA.
The Canadian Elite Basketball League club announced on Friday that they have inked former Memphis Grizzlies forward Julian Washburn for the 2021 season.
Washburn played 18 games for the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2018-19 NBA season and averaged 14.1 minutes per game. Washburn scored an NBA career-high eight points against the Golden State Warriors on April 10, 2019, when he shot 4-of-7 from the field, grabbed six rebounds and three steals in 23 minutes of action.
He started three games that season and averaged 2.2 points and 2.3 assists.
He was then traded to the Golden State Warriors in the summer of 2019 in a deal that moved Andre Iguodala to the Grizzlies.
Washburn is the son of former NBA player Chris Washburn, who was the third overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft and played for the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks.
A native of Duncanville, Tex., Washburn has played two consecutive seasons for the Delaware Blue Coats in the NBA G League (2019-21). The Blue Coats are an affiliate club of the Philadelphia 76ers. Washburn averaged 7.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists on 42 and 36 per cent shooting from field goal and three-point range, respectively, this past season.
The Blue Coats advanced to the G League Finals where the club ultimately fell short against the Lakeland Magic. Prior to suiting up for the Blue Coats, Washburn played for the Austin Spurs (2015-16, 2017-18, 2018-19) and Memphis Hustle (2018-19). The Spurs defeated the Raptors 905 to win the 2017-18 G League Championship. Washburn played a key role in the title clinching victory by contributing seven points, five rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 27 minutes of action.
He has also played professionally in New Zealand and Mexico.
“I’m thrilled to join the Fraser Valley Bandits family,” he stated in a press release. “It’s clear that this is a team that is dedicated toward building together, both on and off the court. I’m excited to be part of the community and to showcase a brand of basketball that is up-tempo and exciting for fans.”
Washburn starred at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) from 2011 to 2015. Washburn currently ranks first in school history in total minutes (4,448), fourth in field goals (592) and sixth in scoring (1,526 points). In his final season with the UTEP Miners, Washburn was named 2015 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year, Conference USA All-Defensive Team and was chosen as one of 26 finalists for the Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year award.
“Julian has played at the highest level,” Bandits general manager Kyle Julius stated in a press release. Having a high-level player like Julian who has played and contributed in NBA games is a tremendous asset to our organization and our locker room. Julian has great size at the wing position and much like the rest of our roster he will play and guard multiple positions and can score at all three levels. Julian will be one of our leaders and we can’t wait to see him enhance our culture.”
The Bandits open the season on June 24 in Edmonton against the Stingers and then host the Saskatchewan Rattlers at the Abbotsford Centre on June 26.