CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Even Torrence Dyck Jr. is a little surprised the Island Storm is one of the National Basketball League (NBL) of Canada’s top teams.
But only because the team’s roster is almost completely different from last season.
“A little shocked only because we’re all so new. Probably the only team in the league (like that). We’re around each other all the time (and) that’s been a lot of help to our success,” Dyck said at a recent Storm practice. “It all just happened. We have a lot in common. Just perfect timing.”
Winners of seven of its last 10 games, the Storm (8-5) leads the Atlantic Division and sit tied with the defending champ London Lightning for second overall before Friday’s action.
The Storm can up that mark with a home win tonight over the Windsor Express, a two-time NBL champ. Game time is 7 p.m. at the Eastlink Centre.
That the Storm is here is notable. The lone leftover from last season is forward Brad States. Even head coach Tim Kendrick and most of his staff is new to the NBL.
But 13 games in the quick-gelling Storm has maintained its adhesion despite recent player movements like Marcus Bell leaving to play in Mexico, Meshack Lufile joining the squad and Wayne McCullough being cut loose.
So far, the changes haven’t fuzzied Dyck’s image of the squad.
“We’re a hard-working team (with) a winning mentality team. Very vocal, saying what’s on our mind. There’s a lot of hard work and a lot guys from winning programs,” said Dyck, who played college hoops at Daemon in Amherst, N.Y. “(We) especially (want to win) because all (that) was being said about us before the season (was) that we’d be last. Our goal is to prove ourselves.”
Dyck is one of several Storm players who have proven themselves so far.
The six-foot-seven, 210-pound Rochester, N.Y., native, is a guard in a forward’s body. And while the rookie is scoring just 5.8 points per game off the bench, he’s contributing with timely assists (six in a win over the Moncton Magic), producing run-stopping steals, shooting a solid 55 per cent from the floor and tossing in the occasional double-digit scoring game (12 points in a 123-116 home loss to the Halifax Hurricanes last week).
But all Dyck’s concentrating on is beating Windsor as recovery from the Halifax loss.
“I felt we played pretty good, (but) we have some screws we have to tighten up,” said Dyck, the sixth overall pick in at the NBL’s October draft. “We’ll go out and play Storm basketball, play with a winning mentality.”
Du’Vaughn Maxwell is in after winning his appeal of a one-game suspension levied for a post-game kerfuffle with Moncton head coach Joe Salerno in a Boxing Day game. The league rescinded the suspension and Maxwell will pay an undisclosed fine.
Trenity Burdine was activated for today and a banged-up Franklin Session is expected to play. Session is second overall in the league in rebounding at 9.5 boards per game.
Need to know
Who to watch in the Windsor Express-Island Storm National Basketball League of Canada matchup tonight in Charlottetown. (All statistics before Friday’s games)
Windsor – Logan Stutz, 19.2 points per game.
Island Storm – Andre Stringer, 19.5 points per game.
Windsor – Devin White, 8.4 rebounds per game.
Island Storm – Franklin Session, 9.5 rebounds per game.
Field Goal Percentage
Windsor – Desmond Hubert, 58.5.
Island Storm – Zachary Valliere, 55.6.
Windsor – Braylon Rayson, 41.8.
Island Storm – Chris Johnson, 48.0.
Free Throw Percentage
Windsor – Anthony Ottley Jr., 89.5
Island Storm – Andre Stringer, 87.0