Storm reduces roster by three after intrasquad game

Jason Malloy
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15 players still vying for one of 12-roster spots

The Island Storm is closer to finalizing its roster for opening night.

The National Basketball League of Canada franchise cut three players on Sunday, reducing its roster to 15 and leaving three more cuts to come.

Point guard Nick Carter, the Storm's first-round pick, power forward Ike Azotam and centre Pierre Henderson-Niles were released on Sunday following Saturday's intrasquad game in Souris.

"Nick can definitely play in this league," head coach Joe Salerno said. "I think a lot of the years . . . he probably would have made our roster."

He said the competition was stiff for Carter with veterans Gary Gibson and Malcolm Grant playing so well and having had success in the league in the past.

"I think they could be the best pair of point guards on any roster in the league this year."

Since the Storm signed Azotam they had re-acquired Dwayne Smith. The Storm's power forwards traditionally play more perimeter than in some other team's systems, making it harder for Azotam.

"I think he's just a little more of an interior player, so he didn't quite fit the mould as to what we were looking for," Salerno said.

The Storm was searching for a big-bodied centre that could matchup with some of the beasts in the league.

Salerno said they were hoping Henderson-Niles could be that guy, but it didn't work out. The Memphis, Tenn., native also had one of the larger contracts the Storm have signed. With teams on a $150,000 salary cap, Salerno said it is important for those high-salaried players to be that much better than their peers.

"I don't think Pierre separated himself from some of the other guys in camp," the head coach and vice-president of player personnel said.

All six Canadians remain in camp with each team required to have four on their roster.

The Storm will meet with the strength coach Jason Mosher today and practice tonight.

All 15 players remaining in camp will be going to Sydney, N.S., for their exhibition game Friday with the Halifax Hurricanes. Salerno said some players may not play against the Hurricanes in order to provide more time to see guys trying to solidify a roster spot.

He said he hopes to have his 12-player roster set for the Dec. 21 exhibition game in Moncton against the Miracles. The Storm opens the regular season Boxing Day against the Saint John Mill Rats.

Organizations: National Basketball League of Canada, Halifax Hurricanes

Geographic location: Memphis, Tenn., Sydney, Moncton

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