SUMMERSIDE – Basketball fever is making its way across the Island. That fever is expected to rise a bit higher this weekend as the Summerside Storm of the National Basketball League of Canada begins its training at East Link Arena in Credit Union Place.
The team’s head coach, Joe Salerno, will begin putting the players through their paces on Monday to see who will make the Island’s first pro basketball team.
“All 18 players will be arriving on Saturday and training camp opens first thing Monday morning,” he said. “These guys all understand that there’s 18 coming in and only 12 will stay.”
Beginning Monday, the mornings will be devoted to getting some conditioning in and the afternoons will have various drills and plays.
“We’ll have our inter-squad game Oct. 15 at Westisle high school. After that we’ll probably make our first cuts and trim it down to 15 or 14,” he said. “We’ll probably carry 14 to our first exhibition game against the Rainmen at UPEI on Oct. 21 and make the final cut after that.”
The coach added, “This is their job and believe me it’s 40-plus hours a week. There’s not a whole lot of downtime. When these guys aren’t travelling to games or in practice, they’re in the film room, and if they’re not in the film room, they’re in the weight room. It’s pretty constant the things you have to do to compete at this level.”
“I’m very, very pleased with the recruiting class we were able to bring in,” Salerno said. “Right now I just feel we’re extremely strong,” he said. “I believe we’re going to have one of the deepest backcourts in the NBL. I’m happy. It was my job to find the best 18 players I could to bring to Prince Edward Island and now it’s their job to show me who the best 12 of those 18 are.”
The players will be staying at the Causeway Bay hotel for the entire season.
“It’s a beautiful property, close to the arena so it’s a great set up,” added Salerno.