Saturday, December 24, 2016

2016-17 Halifax Hurricanes Season Preview

Courtesy: Metro News
After tumultuous end to the 2014-15 season, fans in Halifax were left out in the cold, as they
witnessed their team, due to a variety of circumstances that we're not going to get into here, forfeit the NBL Finals to the Windsor Express. After that abandonment, fans in Halifax needed a new team to call their own, and they got that, with the Halifax Hurricanes taking the Rainmen's place in NBL Canada. However, after the Hurricanes first season, Halifax has a different name for them. Champions.

Led by the powerful Mike Glover and the shooting of Justin Johnson, the Hurricanes swept both of their Eastern opponents en route to one of the best Finals in NBL history. The London Lightning gave them a battle, forcing things to a critical Game 7 before Halifax took the victory in front of their home crowd, restoring faith to the Halifax fan base, and providing the NBLC with it's first ever champion from the Atlantic Conference


* - Denotes Canadian player

BACKCOURT: Cliff Clinkscales, Antoine Mason, Kenny Otieno*, Ta'Quan Zimmerman, Tyrel Edwards*, Mike Poole

The biggest signee is an obvious one, as Cliff Clinkscales returns to Halifax for another season as the floor general. A gifted passer, Clinkscales is a proven commodity in this league, and can run an offence just as well as any point guard in the NBLC. The Queens native has been a part of Halifax basketball for years, and his return brings stability to the team.

A fellow Queens native could also have a large role for the team, with Auburn grad Antoine Mason signing on for the new season. He averaged 16 ppg during his senior year in the SEC, and at only 24 years old, averaged 12 ppg in Cypress.

The team remains young, with 25 year old Ta'Quan Zimmerman joining. He played last season and parts of this past year for the Idaho Stampede of the D-League, starting in 16 games.

The backcourt is rounded out by Kenny Otieno, a Canadian with NBLC experience, Mike Poole, a guard who played for Rutgers and Iona of the NCAA, and Tyrel Edwards, a Canadian and graduate of Canisius.


FRONTCOURT: Anthony Cox, Renaldo Dixon*, Gideon Gamble, Tyrone Watson*, Billy White, Kore White

Again, a returnee figures to be a key part to this team. Billy White was a key figure during Halifax's playoff run as the first forward off the bench. He plays almost like a hybrid SF/PF game, which can create all kinds of match up problems for opposing teams. He figures to be given an expanded role this year.

The other big signing is Canadian Tyrone Watson making a second tour of duty in Halifax. The New Mexico State grad won Canadian Player of the Year in 2014-15 as a member of the Rainmen. A tough forward, he can bruise people in the post, but also has the hands to be able to finish after initiating contact.

Gideon Gamble is a 6'7 forward with three years of D-League experience with the Los Angeles D-Fenders, Delaware 87ers and Fort Wayne Mad Ants. The Winthrop grad averaged 6 points per game coming off the bench.

The frontcourt is rounded out by returning big man Renaldo Dixon, a Canadian, Kore White, who has spent the past two years in the Danish and Venezuelan leagues, and Anthony Cox.

OUTLOOK

This Halifax team comes into their 2016-17 season much the way they did last season. With an mostly new cast of characters, there isn't a ton of evidence to build an opinion around. That being said, last season ended up being Halifax's greatest success yet, and this years roster, while still mysterious, appears to be built the same way. With greater contributions from the returnees, and a couple of Mike Glover-like surprises, the Hurricanes could defend their NBLC title.

Atlantic: Cape Breton | Moncton Central: London | Kitchener/Waterloo