Alex Campbell is looking at picking up where the Island Storm ended last season.
The squad won six of its final 12 games to complete the National Basketball League (NBL) of Canada regular season strong. But a slow start sank the squad as it finished 12-28 and missed the post-season.
“We’re not trying to have a rebuilding year, we’re trying to go for it,” he said, noting the team wants to be a championship contender. “We have a couple of core guys coming back and we’re looking to start where we finished off last season.”
Campbell is a marquee player for the Storm, which has made a slew of player signing announcements in the past week.
The 26-year-old Brampton, Ont., native said it was a “no-brainer” for him to re-sign with the squad.
He met with head coach Tim Kendrick and owner Duncan Shaw at the end of the season to let them know he wanted to be with the Storm if he was playing in Canada in 2019-20.
“P.E.I. is a home away from home, and I would love to come back if they would have me back,” he told them.
Kendrick is counting on a big year from Campbell.
“I think Alex has an extremely high upside. . . Last year, I think he was a little underrated,” he said. “I think Alex Campbell should be mentioned this year a great deal as MVP of the league. . . I think he’s that good of a player.”
But the veteran coach also knows that is highly unlikely unless the team’s puts more wins on the board than a year ago.
“Well, we don't plan on being on the other side,” he said.
Campbell, a six-foot-two, 200-pound guard who played at the University of Windsor, came to Charlottetown as more of a combo guard, but Kendrick viewed him as a point guard in his system.
“I had aspirations to just be a dominant one,” Campbell said.
“Coach Kendrick allowed me to develop my game as a pure point guard. He allowed me the opportunity to step into a leadership role going into my fourth year of professional basketball and he allowed me the freedom to play.”
Kendrick sees that growing in Year 2 for the positive influence on and off the court.
“I think he’s really looking forward to the challenge of coming back here and being the leader,” he said, “being a guy that’s counted on every day.”
Campbell was a member of the league’s all-Canadian squad last season when he averaged 13.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.
Campbell used the NBL season to springboard into a championship with the Saskatchewan Rattlers of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL). He captained a squad with Terry Thomas, Shaquille Keith and Maurice Jones and was named the MVP of championship weekend after registering a team-high 20 points to go with 11 rebounds in the final.
Now he’s looking to take his game to another level with the Storm.
“Coming back to the Island Storm, I think coach Kendrick is looking for big things from me and I am ready to step up,” he said. “I just can’t wait to get started.”
Need to know
Who – A six-foot-two, 200-pound guard who played at the University of Windsor. He is from Brampton, Ont.
The latest – Campbell has re-signed for a second season with the Island Storm. The National Basketball League of Canada hasn’t announced a schedule yet, but it looks like it will the season will start in December.
Self description: “Defence, defence, defence and more defence,” Campbell said. “Defence wins games. You set that tone early, the rest will follow through.”
Head coach Tim Kendrick said: “He keeps guys in front of him, he boxes out and he’s a great rebounding guard and that's a real big plus for us. . . Offensively, I think, you’re just seeing the beginning.”
GP FG% 3% FT% Reb/G A/G Min/G
38 44.4 35.1 64.1 6.6 3.4 33
Before the Storm – Campbell came to the Storm after playing a season in Barcelona, Spain, in 2017-18. He played for the Niagara College Knights of the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association before transferring to the University of Windsor. He was drafted second overall in 2016 by the National Basketball League of Canada's Windsor Express, and played eight games there before suiting up with the Saint John Riptide late in the season.