Hamilton Honey Badgers re-sign Burlington native who hooped in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics


Published April 7, 2022 at 5:32 pm

Caleb Agada, an acclaimed two-way guard with a world of high-level basketball experience, is back for a third stint with the Hamilton Honey Badgers.

The 27-year-old Burlington native, who played for Nigeria in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and also earned an NBA Summer League stint, has rejoined Hamilton for the 2022 Canadian Elite Basketball League season. Agada is currently thriving for Melbourne United in the Australian National Basketball League, where he ranks second in both scoring (12.9), rebounding (6.1), and assist averages (2.52) in 21 games with the league’s winningest team.

“We’re looking forward to having Caleb in uniform once again this season. Caleb’s game has grown exponentially over the last two years, and he has gained a wealth of international experience playing for his national team,” Honey Badgers GM Jermaine Anderson stated. “We love the fact that he’s extremely aggressive on both ends of the floor, which will provide a sense of toughness and grit for our team. More importantly, Caleb is fully committed to helping us achieve our goals, and he’s extremely passionate about serving the Hamilton-Halton community. His character embodies everything that we stand for as an organization.”

Agada’s turn with the Nigerian national team at the Tokyo Olympics included scoring 17 points to help lead Nigeria to a 90-87 pre-competition victory against a United States squad that included Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal and other NBA stars in a scrimmage.

Agada’s Olympic performance earned him a contract with the Denver Nuggets for the 2021 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. He debuted with 21 points versus the Miami Heat and averaged 11.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.2 steals and 19.6 minutes, scoring in double digits in four of his five appearances. Agada became just the second U Sports product to play in the NBA Summer League, joining Phil Scrubb, who has played for the CEBL’s Niagara River Lions.

Scrubb and Agada went head-to-head numerous times in Ontario University Athletics and U Sports, including two national championship games, when they respectively shone with the Carleton Ravens and Ottawa Gee-Gees.

Agada suited up for the Honey Badgers for games during the 2019 season and 2020 CEBL Summer Series. He totaled 20 points and 15 rebounds in two contests during the inaugural season before departing to join Nigeria for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualification windows. He totaled 32 points and eight rebounds in two games during the 2020 CEBL Summer Series.

A graduate of Assumption Catholic Secondary School in Burlington, Agada starred with OUA’s Ottawa Gee-Gees from 2012-2017. He won back-to-back national U Sports defensive player of the year honours in 2015-16 and 2016-17. He was also a three-time OUA first-team all-star, and was a second-team all-Canadian in ’16-17.

In January, Agada was among those with U Sports roots who criticized the Ontario PC Party government when its COVID-19 safety measures proscribed all sports activity outside of professional and “elite amateur” competitions. University and college sports were not included.

“We work so hard and to be labelled as not ‘elite’ is just telling us we’re less than all these sporting events finding a way to battle through COVID,” he told Torstar.

The OUA resumed play in February. The shutdown led to OUA switching its hockey playoff format from best-of-three series to single-elimination, and U Sports held its natioanl championships 2-3 weeks later than usual.

Agada is joining a Honey Badgers team that was third in the 2021 CEBL season standings with a 9-5 record. They tip off the fourth Canadian Elite Basketball League season May 25 when the expansion Montreal Alliance visit FirstOntario Centre.

The spring-summer league is planning a return to a 20-game regular season with 10 teams, including three new franchises. Along with Montreal, the league has also added the Newfoundland Growlers and Scarborough Shooting Stars, whose GM will be Burlington native Brady Heslip.

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