Pretty quiet week for the National Basketball League of Canada, with only five games on the schedule the association took the time to finally announce their newest commish.
John Kennedy, a Windsor-born and Los Angeles based sports executive takes the daunting task of growing the profile of the NBLC. Additionally, we got our first Head coach resignation as we roll yet another edition of the BasketballBuzz NBL Canada Power Rankings.
#1 London Lightning – (7-2) (LW: 1)
Gabe Freeman scored a season high 34 points and yanked down 15 rebounds in the lone game last week.
#2 Summerside Storm – (5-3) (LW: 4)
The Storm picked up a road win over the Oshawa Power and move-up on the rankings.
#3 Quebec Kebs – (5-4) (LW: 3)
The Kebs retain their spot after a week off, they hit the road for their next five games. Ricky Volcy (Montreal, QC) has been solid as of lately reaching double figures scoring in the last two contests and is averaging 9 points, five rebounds and two assists.
#4 Halifax Rainmen – (3-3) (LW: 3)
Lost two key players (Taliek Brown, Eddie Robinson) to early injuries and dropped a hard-fought first-ever regular season meeting against the Oshawa Power. Canadian guard Joey Haywood (Vancouver, BC) had another great game with 20 points and four assists in a team-high 32 minutes.
#5 Saint John Mill Rats (4-4) (LW: 5)
The Millrats were idle last week and are looking to take advantage of a four-game home stand.
Upcoming Games: Summerside Storm, Oshawa Power, Halifax Rainmen
#6 Oshawa Power – (4-5) (LW: 6)
Oshawa used a 63-point second-half to snapped a two-game losing streak. Akeem Wright’s 33-point and 10 rebound clutch performance was a treat to watch.
Previous:Summerside Storm L, 97-119, Halifax Rainmen W, 115-111
Upcoming Games: Quebec Kebs, @St. John’s Millrats
#7 Moncton Miracles (0-7) (LW: 7)
Head Coach Norris Bell had enough and decided to resign citing personal reasons. In comes Mike Evans, a former assistant with the Denver Nuggets. Evans has experience with the Raptors and coached the Rainmen back in their PBL days.
London Lightning guard Charles Boozer lives in his famous brother’s shadow
If you know anything about London Lightning guard Charles Boozer, it’s likely that he’s the younger brother of Carlos, the former NBA All-Star, Olympic gold medalist and Duke standout.
Carlos, by far the more famous of the two, played more than 800 NBA games with Cleveland, Utah, Chicago and the L.A. Lakers before retiring in 2015.
The younger Boozer showed flashes of promise in college at Iowa State, but suffered an ACL tear as a junior in 2010 and has bounced around minor leagues since then.
“He’s a combo guard who can set up his teammates and score,” his Carlos told the Chicago Tribune in 2014, when Charles played with the Windy City Bulls of the NBA G League.
“He’s a great defender, very athletic. And he has great wisdom.”
Now with London, at age 32, Charles will have what may be his final attempt at a sustainable pro career.
He was selected third overall in the 2018 National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC)’s Cape Breton Highlanders but reportedly pulled a muscle in the first week of training camp and was subsequently cut.
“We couldn’t see much of him, but he’s a great player,” Highlanders coach Bernardo Fitz-Gonzales told the Cape Breton Post at the time.
London coach Doug Plumb, a former star guard at the University of British Columbia, said the younger Boozer is now in the best shape of his life.
“Charles has worked extremely hard this off-season,” Plumb said in a statement.“He is a bigger powerful guard, can guard multiple positions on the court and has a versatile skill set.
“I’m looking forward to seeing his off-season work translate to the court and bring fire and tenacity every day.”
London has won four championships since the NBLC launched eight years ago, but exited in the first round of the playoffs last season.
They’ll rely in part on guard Xavier Moon, 2019 Player of the Year with the Edmonton Stingers of the Canadian Elite Basketball League, to help them return to form.
As he always has, Charles Boozer will try to make his mark while answering questions about his more famous older brother.
“I’m excited to put on the Lightning uniform and help elevate the tradition of excellence,” he said in a statement. “It’s going to be a special season.”
Carl English amazing 58-point effort sets NBL Canada scoring record
The return of long time fan favorite Carl English to Canada was definitely a moment not to be slept on.
English whose story is well chronicled has had an outstanding 15-year professional career across the top international leagues. A veteran member of Canada Senior Men’s National Team he decided to bring it full circle and concluded his storied career in his hometown province of St. Johns, Newfoundland.
When news broke that he was returning home it also meant that those same East Coast supporters who grew-up watching a young skinny grade ten kid would also get another opportunity to watch him once again showcase his game. English went from dropping 50-point games in high school to becoming only the third player from Newfoundland to play division one NCAA basketball.
On Saturday night, against the visiting Kitchen Waterloo Titans and with March Madness in full swing, the now 37 year-old English, delighted the fans once more with an incredible 58-point career-high performance to set the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC) scoring record. English connected on 17-of-33 shots, 13/14 free-throws and nailed an incredible 11-of-20 three-point attempts in 127-117 win at Mile One Centre.
The previous record was held by Moncton’s Devin Sweetney in 2013 against the defunct Montreal Jazz.
English currently leads the NBLC in scoring in scoring at 25 points per game, shooting 44% from the floor and 38.5 from the outside, he also averages 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and has the St. John Edge eyeing a deep playoff run and potential championship.
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