Lightning gets faster
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
This year’s London Lightning team will be better than the last, assures the team’s head coach Micheal Ray Richardson.
It’s going to be a tough act to follow after his squad won the inaugural National Basketball League of Canada championship, but athleticism is what he’s looking to build on.
“Last year we were a little bit slower and this year will be a little bit quicker,” Richardson said.
The team’s training camp, which started last week (Oct. 9) at the Central YMCA, is befitting to how the Lightning’s coach is visualizing his team. Of the 23 players called to the tryouts only the hardest workers will be asked to stick around.
Throughout camp Richardson stops players from practicing to enforce his demanded work ethic. If the team doesn’t touch every line during a sprint drill they’ll hear about it and if the coach doesn’t think a player worked hard enough on a particular drill that guy will know.
“If you want a job you got to work for it,” Richardson yells out during one of his many stoppages of the camp.
As of Monday (Oct. 15), 18 players remain and it’ll stay that way until the final roster is announced Wednesday (Oct. 17) after an inter-squad game at Fanshawe College.
In just one word Adrian Moss probably described Richardson’s training camp best.
“Intense,” said the Lightning’s 2012 first-round round draft pick. “Just work hard and hope everything else will fall into place. Just try and work harder than everybody else.”
The up-tempo tryouts will most likely lead to a fast paced offence that sometimes was lacking last year. If there’s any criticism on the championship Lightning team, and there isn’t much, it’s the extreme meticulousness they played the game and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Despite, London dominating the NBL-C with a 28-8 regular season record, they took the second least amount of shots than any team in last year’s seven-squad league. When the Lightning did take shots though, they were smart ones and they finished with best shooting percentage and scored the third most amount of baskets.
A quicker speed to the game by London should lead to more points and more pulling out the pistols from Rodney “the Sherriff” Buford.
“Oh yeah, I got a lot of bullets for these guns,” Buford said, who would shape his hands into a gun and let them fire after almost every big shot he would make last season. “I’ll bring them out.”
London’s pace also helped them control the ball more and their opponent control the ball less, leading them to the least amount of points scored against a team in the season.
If Richardson can find the right players with a high basketball IQ again, he may be able to rediscover his championship recipe but a at a lightning speed.
“I’m looking for a smart basketball player,” the head coach said before leaving training camp Monday. “Guys, who understand the game of basketball.”