Sukhjot Bains is getting his shot to play professional basketball.
The former Tamanawis Secondary standout has booked a flight to Sweden in early September after signing a contract with Helsingborg BBK, a club that plays in the second tier of the Superettan league.
The 25-year-old Bains, a six-foot-six guard, starred for the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades in 2018-19 and 2019-20, earning a Canada West third team all-star nod in his senior year with the Abbotsford-based team.
Over the past 18 months he’s been coaching at Surrey’s AthElite Basketball Academy and working on specific aspects of his own game – long-distance shooting and finishing at the hoop – to earn a pro contract somewhere, anywhere in the world.
“My agent was talking to a bunch of teams but, to be honest, I would have taken any offer I got,” said Bains, a North Delta resident who lived in Surrey for a time, during his Tamanawis days.
“It feels pretty good,” added Bains, reflecting on his first pro contract. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do in terms of my basketball career, and I can finally say, yeah, I’ve accomplished that. To start my career in Sweden, it’s a pretty good feeling.”
At Tamanawis during his Grade 12 year, in 2014, Bains averaged 28.5 points per game, enough to earn the title of B.C.’s top senior boys basketball player in a provincial poll.
From there, he spent a post-grad season at Peddie Prep in New Jersey, two seasons at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, and one season at NCAA Division I program Wisconsin-Green Bay, before transferring to UFV in the summer of 2018.
Bains also suited up for the CEBL’s Fraser Valley Bandits in 2019, and graduated from UFV in 2020 with a Bachelor of Integrated Studies degree.
His trip to Sweden will be a first for Bains.
“I’ve got some pro experience playing with the Bandits a couple years ago, so I think I’m ready for the level of competition,” he said. “Physically and mentally, I think I’m ready for it. I’ve been training for this for a year and a half, and I think I’ll be able to adapt quickly to the style of play.”