CHARLOTTETOWN – The first domino has fallen for the Island Storm as they look to retool a team that finished with a modest 19-21 (won-lost) record and was eliminated in the first round of the National Basketball League of Canada playoffs by the Halifax Hurricanes.
Enter Kyle Arseneault – a six-foot-five versatile forward, with the ability to space the floor with his three-point prowess.
“We’re very happy to have Kyle on board,” said Storm head coach Tim Kendrick, who will return for his second season with the club. “He’s a forward who’s deceptively athletic, and can really shoot it. He’s a hard worker and fits our system very well.”
Kendrick’s free-flowing, five-out offence welcomes snipers of Arseneault’s calibre. Last season, the Storm finished second to last in field-goal percentage (44 per cent), and last from beyond the arc (33.5 per cent). Now with the marksman locked up, he’ll be counted on to improve those numbers.
“One of my greatest strengths is the ability to stretch the floor with my three-point shooting,” he said. “I feel like my strengths fit in perfectly with what coach Kendrick is trying to do here.”
In his rookie campaign, the 23-year-old struggled to find consistent playing time with the Kitchener-Waterloo Titans, where he put up 3.3 points per game. However, Arseneault’s first-year numbers don’t tell the full story. In his final two seasons with the Acadia Axemen, he put up an impressive 17.8 points on 48.9 per cent shooting, while drilling three triples per contest at a 42.7 per cent clip.
“My first season in the NBL didn’t go as well as I wanted but it was a great learning experience,” he said. “I met a lot of guys who have played at the professional level for a number of years, and I was able to pick their brain and learn a lot from them.”
If he can capture his university heyday, then the Storm can expect to see an improvement in the win-loss column. In 2017-18, the Storm lost eight games by five points or fewer. If a couple shots went the other way, the Storm’s record could have looked vastly different. Arseneault was brought in to make them.
“I’m definitely ready to harness that level of play,” he said. “I feel like my best days are ahead of me. I’m always trying to expand my game and sharpen my skills, and I’m ready to bring that to the table for the Storm.”
The signing also marks a return to the East Coast for the Fredericton native – a factor that made the decision to agree to terms with the Island squad an easy one. The young forward will also be reunited with former Axemen teammates Tyler Scott and Brad States.
“Tyler, Brad and I go back to the Acadia days. Those are my guys,” Arseneault said. “It will be nice to play alongside each other once again, I’m looking forward to it.”
Now that he’s under contract, there’s only one goal in mind.
“I think it’s pretty simple what the goal is every year and that’s to get to the playoffs and win a championship.”
Compiled by Thomas Becker.