Open regular season with back-to-back home games tonight and Friday
SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Storm is looking to provide fans with an entertaining brand of basketball, starting on Thursday.
© Stephen Brun/Journal Pioneer
Summerside Storm point guard Al Stewart looks to drive to the basket against the Saint John Mill Rats’ Sani Ibrahim during a recent National Basketball League (NBL) of Canada pre-season game at EastLink Arena. The Storm opens the regular season against Quebec at home tonight.
That’s when the Storm will open the regular season in the National Basketball League (NBL) of Canada at home against the Quebec Kebs (2-0). Game time at EastLink Arena is 7 p.m.
The Storm will also host the Saint John Mill Rats on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“We always like to push (the ball) as much as possible,” said Storm head coach and vice-president of player personnel Joe Salerno. “We like to get out and run.”
Salerno said that all starts with the team’s “big fellas down low” on the glass.
“If we rebound the basketball, we will look to run as much as possible,” continued Salerno. “For us, we need to be disciplined, we need to be a very good defensive team in the half-court game.
“I don’t think we shoot the ball particularly well. I wouldn’t say we’re an above-average shooting team, so for us it’s important that we limit teams’ possessions, and we go down and take advantage in transition as much as possible.”
Shooting must improve
Shooting was one area the Storm struggled in while winning just one of four pre-season games.
“The numbers don’t really lie,” added Salerno. “We haven’t shot the ball extremely well. Some of it may be jitters, and I know some of the guys were on pins and needles with final cuts coming.
“Hopefully, these guys can relax and settle in a bit. But you can’t win ball games shooting 30 or 35 per cent from the floor. Obviously, we need to improve on that.
“If we rebound the basketball, we will look to run as much as possible. For us, we need to be disciplined, we need to be a very good defensive team in the half-court game. I don’t think we shoot the ball particularly well. I wouldn’t say we’re an above-average shooting team, so for us it’s important that we limit teams’ possessions, and we go down and take advantage in transition as much as possible.” Storm head coach Joe Salerno
“We’ve doubled the reps of shots we’ve been getting in practice this week leading up to Thursday. Hopefully, some of those shots just start falling. We are getting the looks that we want offensively anyway. The ball has to go down, and hopefully it will.”
Storm point guard and team captain Al Stewart said fans can expect to see a different Storm team than they saw in the pre-season.
“We know each other pretty well now, and this is when it counts,” said Stewart. “There’s talent all around the league.
“Guys have played at top colleges around the world. There are no cup-cake games, so you have to bring it every night.”
The Storm has also been affected by injuries during training camp, with centre Xavier Hansbro (groin) and power forward Mike Williams (ankle) both missing time.
“I’m very excited to have Mike back, hopefully up to full strength on Thursday,” said Salerno. “We have a very deep backcourt. . .
“Like I said before, I think we have one of the top three point guards (Stewart) in the league. I’m excited about the makeup of the team, and think we can be competitive in every game.”