The first season of the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC) is well underway and BasketballBuzz is proud to release our inaugural Weekly NBL Canada Power Rankings.
#1 London Lightning – (3-0) (LW: NR)
A clean sweep of the Halifax Rainmen and a road victory against the Saint John Mill Rats. Positive start to the season but we already new this was going to happen. Quebec Kebs and a rematch with the Millrats is on deck this week.
#2 Oshawa Power – (2-1) (LW: NR)
The Oshawa Power behind consistent play from the #1 overall pick, Morgan Lewis, have won two-straight and are looking to stay at the top of the rankings with games against the St. John’s Millrats and the Quebec Kebs. Canadians Kevin Francis (Toronto, ON) leads the team in rebounds (8.6) and point guard Tut Ruach (Toronto, ON) is the top assist men (7.6) in the business through three-games.
#3 Summerside Storm- (2-0) (LW: NR)
The Summerside Storm kicked off the 1st NBL Canada campaign with an impressive victory over the Quebec Kebs by scoring a league-high 120 points. Games against the Millrats and a big match-up with the London Lightning should provide a better indication.
#4 Quebec Kebs – (2-2) (LW: NR)
They have lost two in a row after a hot start. The Kebs head to London, Ontario to take on the Lightning and will host the Moncton Miracles. One of the busiest teams to start the season.
#5 Halifax Rainmen – (0-2) (LW: NR)
Tough opening games against the London Lightning. Player suspensions already! Hopefully this doesn’t become a trend. Things should improve this week with games against winless Moncton Miracles and another stern test with the Summerside Storm.
#6 Saint John Mill Rats (0-2) (LW: NR)
Tough order to start the season, the 0-2 Mill Rats face the same two teams again. They will and could easily be looking at a 0-4 record if things don’t improve on the defensive end. They host the Summerside Storm and take trip to the John Labbatt Centre in London.
#7 Moncton Miracles (0-2) (LW: NR)
Young team still trying to find its identity, at this point its a case of, to many road games, not enough scoring in a league which requires you to hover around 100 points per game to stay relevant. A visit to Halifax and another visit to Quebec City is upcoming.
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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