CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The Island Storm may be 1-2 early in the season, but the team’s head coach isn’t worried.
In fact, Tim Kendrick sees brighter days ahead as his National Basketball League of Canada squad absorbs his offence.
“I see more lights come on everyday. It gets better and better,” said Kendrick. “It’s a great system that can build on a player’s strengths. If they like a couple of dribbles and a shot, it’s there. If they like one-on-one, it’s there. If they want to pick and roll, it’s there.”
Kendrick’s crew will display the system tonight versus the Cape Breton Highlanders. Game time is 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.
Kendrick installed the offence at UPEI where he coached the Panthers men’s team for six seasons then moved it to the NBL this season. It’s up-tempo, flexible and high-octane. Scoring is conducted ASAP. It’s much like what’s used in other top-level leagues, including some NBA teams.
Players have offensive carte blanche, shots can come from anywhere and from anyone. But while it’s not your typical old-school offence, it’s not unstructured or chaotic. And it takes time for players, many of whom were taught more conventional systems, to fathom.
“A lot of theses guys haven’t played in this system before. In the NCAA, coaches control everything. But (with us) once they get going players have the decision-making ability,” Kendrick said. “It’s much harder than it looks. Players have to read and make decisions at full speed.”
That said, defence still matters and so far the Storm hasn’t excelled there, giving up 109.3 points per game (eighth overall) while scoring just 99.7 per game (also eighth overall).
Kendrick knows his Storm isn’t up to speed yet so the first-year coach isn’t taking Cape Breton lightly, despite it’s inability to score more than 98 points in any of its first three games games.
At practice, he encouraged his squad to watch Thursday’s Highlanders game in Moncton, versus the Magic to glean usable information.
He said he’d like his offence to be at 80 per cent within the month, but understands there’s work to do after the Storm’s 115-83 loss to Moncton on Saturday.
“That’s fair. Ten games seems reasonable. Right now I’d say we’re at about 40 per cent. Give Moncton credit, they handled us.”
On Sunday, the Storm hosts the Magic. Game time is 2 p.m. at the Eastlink Centre.
A quick look at the Island Storm season so far.
Points Per Game 99.7 (8th overall).
Points Allowed Per Game 109.3 (8th overall)
Shooting Percentage 43.2 (8th overall).
Opponents Shooting Percentage 42.3 (3rd overall)
Three-Point Percentage 30.5 (6th overall).
Opponents Three-Point Percentage 32.3 (5th overall).
Free Throw Percentage 64.0 (9th overall).
Total Rebounds Per Game 40.3 (8th overall).
Opponents Total Rebounds Per Game 62.3 (10th overall).
Assists Per Game 19.7 (8th overall).
Opponents Assists Per Game 24.3 (8th overall).
Steals Per Game 12.3 (1st overall).
Opponents Steals Per Game 8.3 (6th overall).
Blocks Per Game 4.7 (3rd overall).
Opponents Blocks Per Game 1.7 (2nd overall).