Friends off the court, foes on it tonight as Storm plays Robinson, Moss

Jason Malloy
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A pair of popular basketball players will be at the Eastlink Centre tonight wearing the uniform of the visiting team.

Windsor Express forward Brandon Robinson and point guard Adrian Moss will meet former teammates when they tipoff with the Island Storm at 7 p.m. in National Basketball League of Canada play.

"It's always fun to play against old teammates," said Storm centre Nick Evans. "You share a lot of stuff together off the court. When you play against each other, you usually (bring out) the best of one another. You want to go out and play well."

Evans played two seasons with Robinson (2012-13 and 2014-15) and a year with Moss (2013-14).

But he said it's not about bragging rights tonight.

"It's Storm versus Windsor," Evans said. "It's about execution. It's about defence . . .

"We have to get above .500 and start crawling in the right direction."

The Storm is 3-5 and in third place in the Atlantic Division while the Express is 4-3 and second in the Central.

Robinson signed with Windsor on Dec. 31 after being released from his team in Germany.

Storm head coach and vice-president of player personnel Joe Salerno said he and Robinson talked about reuniting before he signed with Windsor.

"They gave him an offer he couldn't refuse," Salerno said.

Teams operate on a $150,000 salary cap for the four-month season and must have between 10 and 12 players signed.

Salerno said the Storm is always looking for new talent it can develop, which is why it has put an emphasis on scouting in recent years. He pointed to a guy like Rashad Whack as an example.

Robinson, who has played five games with Windsor, is second in league scoring at 25.4 points per game while Moss is averaging 9.4 points and six assists.

On Saturday night, the Storm hosts the expansion Niagara River Lions, which includes Sammy Zeglinski. The point guard, who played in Charlottetown last season, is averaging 19.2 points and 9.7 assists.

Salerno said he is looking forward to seeing the three players, but there's still a game to win.

"I think we'll certainly get Brandon, Adrian and Sammy's best," he said. "That's natural when you're playing against your old team, no matter how you parted ways."

Salerno said the new Storm players are also looking forward to the matchup.

"They certainly want to show they're the new guys in town. It should certainly add to the intensity of the weekend."

Storm-Express games haven't lacked intensity in recent years. The teams' rivalry dates back to 2012-13 in Summerside when the Storm defeated the Express in a five-game series to get to the league final. The following year the Express defeated the Storm to win the championship.

Brent Jennings is questionable for tonight with a calf strain while Alex DesRoches is available but could see limited minutes as he get backs to full speed after joining the team on Tuesday. Salerno is looking forward to the defensive intensity DesRoches can bring to the floor.

Evans said the Storm must be ready to go from tipoff time tonight.

"We can't let those guys get off early," he said. "We want to be able to come out and hit first."

Leading the way

Statistical leaders for the Windsor Express and Island Storm

Points per game

Express

Brandon Robinson     25.4

Chris Commons         21

Tony Bennett            18.8

Storm

Brent Jennings         20.6

Mike Martin             15.5

Malcolm Grant         15.3

Rebounds per game

Express

Brandon Robinson    8

Maurice Bolden        6.6

Kirk Williams Jr.       6.4

Storm

Nick Evans              9.3

Brian Addison          7.8

Brent Jennings         5.4

Assists

Express

Adrian Moss            42

Brandon Robinson   28

Tony Bennett          27

Storm

Malcolm Grant        42

Nick Evans             22

Gary Gibson           18

Organizations: Windsor Express, Eastlink Centre, National Basketball League of Canada

Geographic location: Windsor, Atlantic, Germany Charlottetown Summerside

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