In locker rooms and on sidelines around the world, players have heard Kyle Julius’ earnest, animated admonitions to work their tails off and to fall in love with winning.
A video announcing the former U Sports standout as the new head coach and general manager of the CEBL’s Fraser Valley Bandits found Julius ranting about focus.
“If you can’t focus, you can’t play!” he yelled.
Another clip found him speaking in steady, placid tones about how winning makes everything worthwhile
“When you fall in love with winning, the pain and all that other stuff becomes part of the process,” he said. “You start to enjoy it.”
Julius, who grew up in Thunder Bay, Ont., and was an OUA All Star with the Guelph Gryphons, joins the CEBL after a coaching stint in Taiwan’s ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).
He previously led the London Lightning of the NBL Canada to a league championship in 2017, winning coach of the year that season.
In between, he spent three years as coach of the Saigon Heat in Vietnam, becoming the team’s all-time winningest coach and turning them into an ABL contender.
“I have been blessed with some incredible coaching opportunities all around the world in the past few years and a chance to join the Fraser Valley Bandits is another fortunate blessing,” said Julius in a statement.
“I want the fans to know that I will pour my heart and soul into our team, our players and basketball development in the region.”
Julius parlayed his elite shooting skill into a NCAA Division I roster spot at Furman University in South Carolina, where he played two seasons, averaging eight points in about 17 minutes per game. He transferred to Guelph and became an OUA All-Star and Second Team All-Canadian during the 2003-04 season before playing overseas in Italy and earning a spot with Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team in 2005.
Canada didn’t have a professional league when Julius retired as a player in 2009, but he quickly found a coaching foothold in the NBL Canada with the Mississauga Power and later the Lightning, where he set multiple league records.
He returns to Canada in an attempt to revive the Bandits, who finished last in the CEBL last season with a 4-16 record.
That was a theme of his coaching stint in Asia, and his high-intensity style may be a boon to the only pro franchise in British Columbia’s rich basketball culture.
“Our practices will always be open to coaches and young players for learning opportunities and growth,” he said.
“I look forward to an awesome summer of growing the game in British Columbia and competing at the highest levels of the CEBL.”