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The Island Storm is bigger up front than in the past and the coach said he believes the backcourt is the deepest in the National Basketball League of Canada.
“We have a tremendously talented group,” Joe Salerno told The Guardian Monday after announcing the final 12-man roster.
Going into Friday’s exhibition game in Halifax the coach was undecided on five spots. The exhibition game, couple with the intrasquad game in Montague on Sunday, helped finalize the decisions with guys playing for their jobs.
“It was good to see guys at crunch time in a high-pressure situation,” Salerno said. “There were just some guys that played too well that I couldn’t let them go.”
The final three cuts were Jeremy Williams, Louis Birdsong, and Shawn Vanzant.
The team will start with seven guards and five bigs. Salerno conceded the roster makeup of the other three Atlantic Conference teams, which are more guard-oriented, played a factor in keeping seven guards.
The team has a couple of days before Thursday’s opening night when it hosts the Saint John Mill Rats at Eastlink Centre at 7 p.m.
“The biggest thing for us right now is to start forming some chemistry,” Salerno said.
The coach said he knows there will be some fans disappointed with some of last year’s players not returning. He said they were great guys and players, but he hopes fans give the new guys a chance.
“These fans are going to love the group of guys and characters we have here this season,” he said.
The lineup includes four players who have experience with the Storm, five league all-stars and three who were McDonald’s all-Americans coming out of high school.
“We had a lot of tough decisions,” Salerno said. “Losing in the final the last two years we really wanted to make a push and try and win a championship for our fans.”
Sammy Zeglinski – six-foot-one, University of Virginia
Myron Strong – six-foot-two, University of Texas-El Paso
Johnny Mayhane – six-foot-four, Tulane University (NBL All-Star)
Rashad Whack – six-foot-two, Mount St. Mary
Alex DesRoches – six-foot-four, University of New Brunswick (Canadian)
Brandon Robinson – six-foot-six, Clayton State (NBL All-Star)
Olu Famutimi – six-foot-six, University of Arkansas (NBL All-Star and Canadian)
Mike Williams – six-foot-eight, University of Cincinnati (NBL All-Star)
Cordell Jeanty – six-foot-five, SIU-Edwardsville (NBL all-Star and Canadian)
Doug McKinney – six-foot-nine, University of PEI (Canadian)
Renardo Sidney – six-foot-11, Mississippi State University
Nick Evans – six-foot-10, University of Southern Illinois