Squad adds big man, point guard as it looks to make playoff push
The Island Storm has added the big man it believes it has been missing all season while adding a couple of point guards.
The Storm has signed Terrell Carter II, a six-foot-nine, 290-pound centre who played his college ball at Fresno State. He averaged 5.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.5 blocks in 13.9 minutes per game last season, his fourth year at Fresno State.
“He’s very physical, very tough, a good defender and a real solid rebounder,” head coach Tim Kendrick said. “He’s a real solid physical presence.”
The coach said the hope is the Los Angeles native, who he called a traditional, old-school centre who can play with his back to the basket, will help fill a void for the last-place Storm.
“We’ve been playing guys out of position all season,” he said. “We feel he’s going to be a presence we’ve been missing since we broke camp.”
To make room for Carter, the Storm released Dominic Shuler.
The forward showed flashes of potential and had a couple of great games, including a seven-block performance to go with 12 points and 12 rebounds on Jan. 11 against the Moncton Magic.
But the Storm has been searching for the man in the middle all season. It had hoped initially to get Carl Hall back, but when the centre stayed in Mexico, the Storm increased the search for a centre.
It was one of a few moves the squad made late this week.
The Storm also signed Janeil Jenkins, a five-foot-11 point guard who played Division 1 ball at Presbyterian College in South Carolina. The Storm has been aware of the Florida native for some time, but he was in the NBA G League player pool.
“He’s a guy we think can really play the way we want to play,” Kendrick said, noting his high basketball IQ, passing ability and defensive ability. “He’s a very fast, quick guard that can really D-up.”
The Storm lost forward Russell Byrd, who signed a contract with a team in Qatar, the same league Franklin Session is playing in. The Storm traded Byrd’s rights to the St. John’s Edge for the rights to point guard Maurice (Mo) Jones.
Byrd averaged 18 points per game for the Storm while Jones was averaging 15.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.5 assist. Jones has to head home to Michigan for family reasons, but the Storm hopes to be able to get him back later in the season. He will be placed on the team’s inactive roster.
The Storm rolled the dice with the move and hopes to hit the jackpot if it can get Jones to report.
“It’s just one of those things we couldn’t pass up,” Kendrick said.
While the Carter II move is made primarily to shore up the defence, Kendrick said he will also help on the other end of the floor.
“From watching video, it looks like he has good hands and feet for a big guy,” he said. “I think he’s going to help us at both ends.”
The acquisition could also allow for his new teammates to crash the glass more, playing against guys at their normal position.
The moves come after the Storm signed Malik Story and released Kareem Canty earlier this week. Story, Carter II and Jenkins are all expected to be in the lineup Sunday at 2 p.m. when the Saint John Riptide come to town.
The Storm is midway through the season and knows the time is now to make a playoff push.
Four of five teams will make the post-season in the Atlantic Division. The Storm (4-15) is chasing the Riptide (7-15) for the final spot right now. They currently have three games in hand and will have a chance to catch and pass them coming up with two of their next three games, and four of their next six, against the Riptide. That stretch of games occurs between Feb. 3 and 18.
It's not a make-or-break stretch for the team, Kendrick said, but acknowledged “it’s certainly big.”