CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The first domino has fallen for the Island Storm, as the National Basketball League of Canada club looks to retool a team that finished with a modest 19-21 record and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Halifax Hurricanes.
Enter Kyle Arseneault, a versatile six-foot-five forward with the ability to space the floor with his three-point prowess.
Storm head coach Tim Kendrick said he’s pleased to get the second-year sniper from the Kitchener-Waterloo Titans, which didn’t re-sign the former Acadia Axeman.
“We’re very happy to have Kyle on board,” said Kendrick, who returns 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, Arseneault will be counted on to improve those numbers.
“One of my greatest strengths is the ability to stretch the floor with my three-point shooting,” said Arseneault. “I feel like my strengths fit in perfectly with what coach Kendrick is trying to do here.”
In his rookie pro campaign, the 23-year-old struggled to find consistent playing time with the 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 Acadia, he put up a 17.8 points-per-game mark 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. 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 form from his university heyday, 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 less. If a couple shots went the other way, the 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, N.B., 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 for the Storm.