Storm hopefuls get chance Friday to bolster their case to make team

Jason Malloy
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Island squad plays Halifax in Sydney, N.S., in first exhibition game

The importance of Friday night's game is not lost on Carlos Emory.

The six-foot-seven, 220-pound wing and his Island Storm teammates play their first exhibition game of the National Basketball League of Canada pre-season tonight at 7 p.m. against the Halifax Hurricanes in Sydney, N.S.

The Storm has three cuts to make as it prepares for its regular season opener on Boxing Day.

"We understand tomorrow is a really big day for us," Emory said after Thursday's practice. "Some of us, we're trying to still battle for our spot to get on the roster."

Head coach Joe Salerno said he expected to make at least two of the required three cuts after tonight's game. It means the first game will likely be the last for a couple of the players attending camp.

"There's always that nervousness," Emory said, but "I've been playing this game for a long time now, so you just go out there, do your job and hope for the best."

Andre Malone said all the guys are looking to put their best foot forward.

"Everybody wants to go out there and play hard and show the coach they're able to on this team," he said.

Asked what the difference between a player making the team and being cut, Salerno paused momentarily.

"It won't be a whole lot," he said. "It's pretty competitive."

Salerno said he is looking for players to consistently play the style and at the pace the team has talked about during camp.

Point guard Gary Gibson won't play tonight due to a slight ankle injury while veteran returnees like Mike Martin and Rashad Whack are expected to play limited minutes.

"We want to give some of these other guys the opportunity, guys that might be on the bubble a little bit and make sure we get them 24 to 30 minutes for the game," Salerno said.

After nine days of practising against each another the Storm players are looking forward to new competition.

"We've been practising hard," Malone said. "We're just looking forward to playing against some different competition other than ourselves and beating up on our own guys."

The six-foot-six, 210-pound small forward said he can stretch the floor with his shooting ability.

Emory said he expected the Storm to be a strong defensive team this season.

"One of my greatest assets is playing defence," he said. "I bring a lot of energy. I feel like I will be a great impact for the team this year."

Defence is a definite theme amongst Storm hopefuls and it's not by accident.

"We've never had a problem scoring the ball," Salerno said. "We built this team around defence."

Organizations: National Basketball League of Canada, Halifax Hurricanes

Geographic location: Sydney

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