Thursday, October 16, 2014

NBLCNET Sit Down With Joe Salerno

Island Storm Head Coach, Joe Salerno
In the latest installment of our coaches series, NBLCNET chatted with with Island Storm head coach Joe Salerno about training camp, returning players and expectations this season.

The Island Storm have a lot of players coming into training camp, talk about the size of your roster? 
“It’s definitely the biggest camp we’ve had over the last four seasons, we’ve put a lot of work in this offseason and there are a lot of guys that we want to get a good look at. We wanted to set a tone in our training camp, make it as competitive as possible and bring new talent into the NBLC as well as returning talent in guys that are proven in this league. Hopefully we make some good decisions and come out with the best team possible.”

There are a lot of returning players to the Island Storm, what type of energy will these guys bring this season?
“It’s a lot of good energy, we have nine returning players that have played for the Storm over the last two seasons and eight of those guys have NBL Canada Finals experience. So many guys with finals experience only to come up short the last couple seasons has certainly left a bitter taste in their mouths as well as mine, it makes for a competitive camp where guys know what’s at stake. Of course we also have some additions, Olu Famutimi from Halifax as well as Johnny Mayhane and Alex DeRoches from Moncton. I think coming into camp players understand they have earn their job and everybody is excited and ready to get back on the court.”

Talk about the Canadian content on the roster?
“We have six Canadian players on the roster, Olu [Famutimi], Doug McKinney, Dwayne Smith, Shamus Ferguson, Alex DeRoches and Chris Cayole. I haven’t found any other training camps in my opinion that has the Canadian talent that we have this season, we really wanted to have options at those four Canadian spots and I think bringing in guys that can contribute and are some of the best Canadians that this league has seen allows us to make other moves with some of our imports. Olu played for the Canadian national team and has a lot of NBA summer league experience, Chris was a two year all-star in this league and Dwayne was an all-star last year. We’re very pleased with the Canadians we’ve signed for camp, it’s really going to give us some flexibility when it comes to our final roster.”

What about the Island Storm attracts so many players?
“I think our franchise has done a nice job over the last couple seasons building a winning mentality and culture up here on the Island, this attract good free agents from the NBLC. We get a lot of calls over the course of the offseason from guys interested in playing for our organization.”

What does it mean to have Brandon Robinson back this season? 
"He’s such a huge, huge signing for us. In my opinion, looking at the stats and facts, Brandon along with Anthony Anderson are the best scorers this league has ever seen. He has shown this from his initial season with Oshawa and then of course his first season with us, two years ago when we went to the finals. We had a very big hole to fill with Antonio Ballard and Nick Okorie signing overseas, he takes up a big chunk of that hole with his ability to score. We were absolutely thrilled to get Brandon back and he’s very excited to be back in the NBLC and playing for the Storm."