Lightning forming in the NBL-C
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
London is hoping Lightning strikes twice for the National Basketball League of Canada (NBL-C) champions.
The regular season is about two months away, but the London Lightning are already starting to start another season of sparks.
“We’ve got a pretty good idea, but we also want to have a pretty competitive training camp,” said Lightning general manager Taylor Brown of his roster for the 2012-2013 NBL-C season. ”We’re going to bring in 20 to 25 guys to training camp, and it’s going to be a battle.”
The Lightning will be holding their tryouts in October, but it’s hard to get better when you win the league’s first championship and sit at the top of the standings for the complete regular season, while not losing two games in a row in a 36-game schedule.
“We’re in a situation where we want to get better, even though we won a championship,” Brown said. “Every other team is getting better and we want to make sure we’re getting better as well.”
Leading London is league MVP Gabe Freeman, starting guards DeAnthony Bowden and Eddie Smith and forwards Shamari Spears and Tim Ellis, who make up a list of players the Lightning are allowed to keep from last season.
Only Freeman, Bowden and Ellis were regular starters for London, but Smith averaged more than 30 minutes in the NBL-C’s inaugural season, while Spears regularly 22 on the floor—showing the depth of London’s bench.
London is hoping to create the perfect storm after drafting Adrian Moss, a five-foot-nine guard who played two years at the University of Indianapolis, on Monday (Aug. 27) — a player Brown was willing to pay money to get.
“Adrian is a rookie fresh out of college, but he had tremendous college career. We wanted a guard that’s fast and good defensively and a great passer, but also Adrian can score too. He’s no slouch scoring, he averaged 20 points a game in college, so he kind of fits what we’re looking for,” Brown said. The Lightning weren’t supposed to have a draft choice until the 16th overall pick, but paid the Quebec Kebs cash for the sixth and 14th selections. “If he does crack our lineup, he’ll probably be the most athletic guy in the whole entire league.”
There’s a good chance Moss will be penciled into the roster, along with the Lightnings’ second choice from the draft, 6-foot-2 guard Travis Cohn.
“Our goal was to get one of them and it worked out we got both of them,” Brown said. “We made a decision that we were going to go after (Moss) first and if (Cohn) was still around, which we didn’t think we was going to be, we’d go after him.”
Brown said there are players invited to the training camp he has only seen on video, but there are guys he has his eyes on.
One player coming to the try out who Brown has seen on live television, along with millions of other people, is Josh Pace — an important part off the bench in the University of Syracuse Orangemen’s NCAA March Madness national championship team.
Another player to look out for, said Brown, is guard/forward Terrell Bell, who started in all 34 games as a senior for Virginia Tech University in the 2010-2011 season.
Add to the list Elvin Mims, a six-foot-seven former Premier Basketball League most valuable player, and the Lightning don’t have many more options on their 10 to 12 man roster for (what is supposed to be) tryouts.
“We truly want to do what the (London) Knights do and that’s sell this place out,” Brown said, adding season ticket sales are expected to more than double in sales from last year. “That’s our goal and we’re not going to stop until we get there.”