Tut Ruach takes the ball up the court in recent Oshawa Power action. His teammate, Morgan Lewis, was named the NBL's Player of the Week.
By Geoff Zochodne/The Oshawa Express
It wasn’t too long ago that Morgan Lewis was puttering around on the sidelines for the Oshawa Power, knocked out of the lineup by an errant elbow.
One laceration, two lost teeth, a concussion and damage to the fragile bones around the eye kept Oshawa’s number one draft pick off the court until he could be medically cleared. Murmurs of facemasks, prudence and second opinions surrounded the future of the University of Findlay product.
Restored to the lineup just before Christmas, Lewis barely missed a step. In his seven games back the 6’5’’ guard is averaging 17 points a game.
Last week, the Painesville, Ohio native decided to set the world on fire. In the Power’s sole game against the Summerside Storm, Lewis dropped 38 points on the unsuspecting islanders in a 131-122 overtime win. Lewis also added 10 assists during the game; Oshawa’s first victory over the Storm.
For his trouble, Lewis was awarded NBL Player of the Week honours. He is the first-ever member of the Power to received the award.
Lewis’ renaissance keeps Oshawa afloat as it heads toward the final stretch. Now, the team must turn their attention to grabbing a playoff spot before the buzzer bleats the end of the season.
Oshawa sits two games back of the Saint John Mill Rats for the fourth and final playoff spot. Saint John is currently 9-13 with 14 games remaining; Oshawa 8-16 with 12 games remaining. The Power will play the Mill Rats four times before the end of the season, giving them ample opportunity to earn a trip to the postseason.
One of those games, January 26 at the General Motors Centre, will be in front of a packed house. Rogers Communications recently stepped in and bought 6,000 tickets for the game between the Mill Rats and Power. The tickets will be distributed through minor basketball and not-for-profit organizations throughout Durham Region, states a release.
The Power continued to shuffle its lineup last week as well. Oshawa announced the signing of a pair of Canadians, Pickering product Papa Oppong and Kevin Shand.
Oppong is a 6’4’’ guard from Eastern Kentucky University. He was originally drafted by the Halifax Rainmen and played eight games for the team.
Shand is a 6’10’’ centre who spent his college days playing basketball for Humber College in Toronto and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He has played professionally in Belize, Hungary, France and Mexico. Shand also played for Canada in the 2001 Goodwill games in Australia.
“Both players are great additions to the Power roster,” says Gary Durrant, president of basketball operations in a release. “They are local talent that will add toughness, experience, intelligence and a commitment to defense.”
With the new additions, Oshawa currently sports five Canadians on its roster, the most in the NBL. Guards Jerome Brown and Dwain Williams were released to make way for Shand and Oppong.
Oshawa will square off against the Summerside Storm again on January 20 in P.E.I. The game can be watched at powerbasketball.ca.
Oshawa and Saint John will meet January 26 at the General Motors Centre at 7:30, in the Power’s first home game of the new year.