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VIDEO: Bandits sign Vrankic

Currently playing in Spain

Vancouver Bandits have signed 6-foot-9 forward and former Santa Clara University Bronco Josip Vrankic for the upcoming Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) season at Langley Events Centre.

The announcement was made Thursday, May 2.

A native of Toronto, Josip is currently playing for Gipuzkoa in the LEB Oro, the second highest division of professional basketball in Spain, which as a nation boasts the second best national team FIBA ranking in the world behind the United States.

The 2023-24 campaign in progress is Vrankic’s second professional season after playing five decorated seasons of NCAA Division I basketball at Santa Clara between 2017-22, the alma mater of Victoria, B.C. product and NBA Hall of Famer Steve Nash.

Vrankic will report to Vancouver upon the conclusion of his current season in Spain.

“I am excited to join the Bandits family and to be part of a group that is focused on winning and growing together. I have heard great things about the fanbase in Vancouver and I am looking forward to a special season,” Vrankic said.

READ ALSO: Homegrown centre elated to sign with Bandits

Vancouver’s home opener is on Thursday, May 23 at 7 p.m. PT against the Montréal Alliance. Single game tickets for the home opener and all regular season games are on sale at this link.

Vrankic is enjoying another solid season early in his professional career; posting averages of 22.4 minutes, 8.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game on 34.4 per cent shooting from three-point range over the course of 32 games played with Gipuzkoa. Last year he made his pro debut with Chieti, where he placed first on the club in rebounds (8.0) and second in points per game (14.9) in 17 games played before signing with Ravenna to finish the 2022-23 season.

Prior to turning pro, Vrankic appeared in 137 games for the Broncos, starting 131 – a program record. His 1,817 career points place him third in school history while his 801 rebounds place him eighth. Vrankic punctuated his illustrious Division I career by earning four consecutive West Coast Conference (WCC) selections; including back-to-back first team recognition in 2021 and 2022.

“Josip is a very high IQ basketball player with great versatility. He can really shoot and play inside. We think he is a great fit for our group and we really look forward to him becoming part of our family,” said Bandits head coach and general manager Kyle Julius.

Vancouver will play a total of 10 regular season home games in 2024 between Thursday, May 23 and Thursday, July 18. The Bandits wrap up regular season action on the road against Montréal on Sunday, July 28 at 1 p.m. PT.

READ ALSO: Vancouver Bandits sign Glen Yang from Winnipeg Sea Bears