Storm starts on-court training camp today

Jason Malloy
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The Island Storm is changing its focus.

"This year it has to be a different approach," said head coach Joe Salerno. "I think being so focused on winning a championship last year, it ultimately hurt us."

Coming off back-to-back trips to the National Basketball League of Canada final, Salerno admitted he got greedy, wanting to get over the hump and win the franchise's first league title.

The team lost five straight games down the stretch to lose home-court advantage in the Atlantic Division. The Halifax Rainmen eliminated them in five games in the best-of-seven division final.

"We're not going to look ahead this year," Salerno said, noting he wants the team to get better each time they step on the court.

That begins this afternoon with the team's first on-court session at Holland College.

Of the 18 players on the roster, 14 arrived in Charlottetown Monday night. They had a few meetings on Tuesday and now it's down to work.

Salerno called it an extra long off-season due to the 2015-16 season's start being pushed back to Boxing Day.

"Guys have been waiting. They were chomping at the bit to get up here," he said. "Everybody is ready to go."

On the 18 players, half have played in the league before while five have experience with the Storm.

Gone from last year are starters Brandon Robinson, Nick Okorie, Sammy Zeglinski and Mike Williams.

Salerno said he hopes to have the final roster of 12, which must include four Canadians, set by Dec. 19 or 20.

"I think we're in the best place we've been as far as bringing in (players to fill) specific needs," he said. "Last year, I think we overloaded on a lot of the talent. This year, we've done a much better job of recruiting and signing players for specific roles (and) bringing in guys that fit the style we want to play."

The Storm wants to improve its defence from 2014-15 and the plan is to be longer and quicker. Salerno said he is looking for players who learn the system quickly, play unselfishly and fit as a team.

While a number of the team's leaders are not back from last year, Salerno pointed to returnees Rashad Whack and Mike Martin as two guys he expects can help fill the void.

Another part of the equation in filling the roster could be money, as each league team must be under a $150,000 salary cap.

"Some of those higher-priced guys they have to be that much better than the lower-priced guys in order for us to keep them sometimes," Salerno said.

 

Roster

A look at the Island Storm training camp roster.

Point guards

Malcolm Grant.

Gary Gibson*.

Nick Carter.

Shooting guards

Rashad Whack.

Kenny Otieno*.

Billy Rush.

Brent Jennings.

Forwards/Centres

Carlos Emory.

Andre Malone.

Denzel Jackson.

Terry Thomas*.

Mike Martin.

Ike Azotam.

Dwayne Smith*.

Renaldo Dixon*.

Robert Nortmann*.

Nick Evans.

Pierre Henderson-Niles.

* Canadians

 

Upcoming events

A look at a couple of key dates for the 2015 Island Storm training camp.

Today - Storm players get their first on-court training camp sessions.

Dec. 12 - Intrasquad game at 7 p.m. at Souris Regional High School.

Dec. 18 - Halifax Hurricanes vs. Island Storm in exhibition game at Centre 200 in Sydney, N.S. The city will become home to the Cape Breton Highlanders for the 2016-17 season.

Dec. 21 - Island Storm at Moncton Miracles for an exhibition game.

Dec. 26 - Storm opens regular season on home court against the Saint John Mill Rats at 2 p.m.

Dec. 27 - Storm travels to Moncton to play the Miracles at 2 p.m.

Dec. 31 - Storm hosts the Halifax Hurricanes at 7 p.m.

Organizations: Holland College, National Basketball League of Canada, Souris Regional High School Centre 200

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Sydney, Moncton

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