By Jim Shaw/The Oshawa Express
With October now upon us, the OHL, collegiate and university sports operations are going full throttle. But that also means it's time for professional basketball to share the sports spotlight. Over the weekend the National Basketball League (NBL) of Canada witnessed 42 hopefuls at the Oshawa Power training camp held at Durham College.
The NBL is focused on providing awareness throughout Canada, providing patrons with an exciting and entertaining experience. Naturally, Oshawa will play at the GM Centre this year. The team is aiming to improve on their below .500 percentage in wins versus setbacks in year two. Last season the Power managed a 15-21 campaign. The head coach is Robert Brickey, a former NCAA Duke Blue Devil, who played under the legendary Mike Krzyzewski from '86 to '90. He's been handed the task to deliver the Oshawa franchise into post-season play come next spring.
His has a superb portfolio and holds various basketball positions. He has the ability and experience to almost guarantee Oshawa will be in the playoffs come next spring. He's been a key figure on the management level at North Carolina, Shaw University, James Madison, SMU in Dallas and West Point.
As a player, he captained Duke leading his school to the final Four. During his career, Brickey recorded 1,299 points and 649 rebounds, while amassing 55 per cent field goals. His first year in Oshawa, the team missed the playoffs. On the positive side, the Power finished strong claiming seven wins in the final 10 games, but fell short of a post-season spot, just one game shy.
New faces looked impressive during the camp. A pair of Los Angeles natives, Amani Daanish at 6'7", brings with him a positive and winning attitude. A veteran, Daanis is the real deal gaining valuable experience having played in Europe, Asia, and Japan. Jamaal Smith is another. The New Mexico native has pro experience, which he gained in China. Jushay Rockett, a 6'6" forward out of Texas State, guard Jermaine Love, who attended Illinois Springfield University, looked like valuable newcomers. As a senior, he averaged 16.5 points per game. Token Canadian and Peterborough native Jesse Young comes in with plenty of ballyhoo. Young has played with Canada's national team at the Pan Am Games in '99 and '03. At 6'10" he has experience playing with the Italian and Spanish leagues.
Certainly the scouts have done their job.
On a not-so positive note, Oshawa has sent super shooter Morgan Lewis packing. He was traded to rival team London Lighting in exchange for a third draft choice next year and cash considerations. The trade was made for financial reasons, as both parties couldn't agree to terms on a 2012-2013 contract. Lewis was the number one draft selection in their inaugural campaign.
Season ticket sales are available starting October 15 at the GM Centre. Teams this year include the Windsor Express, London Lighting, Kebs de Laval, Summerside Storm, Moncton Miracles, Saint John Mill Rats and Halifax Rainmen.
The Power open the season with a pair of road games against Windsor and London. The home opener has a 7 p.m. tip-off versus Windsor on Wednesday, Nov. 10.
Fans can follow the Power this year at www.powerbasketball.ca.