SLEMON PARK — Ralphy Holmes is now wearing a Summerside Storm uniform.
Holmes, a six-foot-five shooting guard, arrived in Summerside early Wednesday morning, and practised with the National Basketball League (NBL) of Canada team that afternoon.
“I’m excited to get the ball rolling,” said Holmes. “I’m anxious to get out and play. Today (Wednesday) was a meet and greet, get to know the guys.”
Holmes signed with the Storm on Nov. 28, but his arrival in Summerside was delayed due to personal reasons.
A Philadelphia native now living in Los Angeles, Holmes spent most of Tuesday travelling.
“It’s exciting for our team, it’s exciting for the franchise, it’s exciting for the fans,” said Storm head coach Joe Salerno. “I think any time you can add a player of Ralphy’s calibre, talent level and experience, it’s going to mean good things for us.”
Holmes is no stranger to Storm fans as he played with the Quebec Kebs last season. He averaged over 17 points a game for the Kebs, and had an average of 24.4 points a game versus the Storm.
When asked what fans can expect to see, Holmes replied, “A lot of energy, a lot of heart, being a team player and playing for the fans mostly.”
After starting the season in Columbia, Holmes had offers from other teams in the NBL of Canada and other leagues.
“What brought me to Summerside was I had experience coming here last year,” said Holmes. “I think we played Summerside on Islander Day (in February), and the gym was so packed, so full of energy and I like the laid back setting.”
At 33, Holmes is now the oldest player on the Storm.
“He’s (Holmes) played all over the world, but more so he’s going to be bring the ability to score,” said Salerno. “I also think he’s going to bring a different level of intensity that this team may not have.
“Ralphy is one of the most intense players I have ever seen. Last year, I never saw a player who worked harder every single possession than Ralphy Holmes.”
Holmes says he does not shy away from being vocal with teammates.
“If that needs to be done, I’m definitely the right person to step up and be vocal,” said Holmes. “That’s part of my persona. That’s who I am.”
Holmes will make his Storm debut on Friday, when the Windsor Express visits Eastlink Arena for a 7 p.m. start.
“Ralphy will certainly see the floor on Friday night, there’s no question about that,” said Salerno. “We have to see what kind of shape he’s in, we have to see what combinations are going to work best for us, which is nice that we have the next two days in practice to see that.”