Don’t look now, but the NBL Canada has quietly become a premier destination for players who are looking to earn contracts overseas or in the NBA.
In the last 18 months alone, a slew of former NCAA stars have taken to the court in Canada, either starting their professional careers right out of college, or with the hopes of re-launching their careers.
Last season, the likes of Brandan Kearney (Michigan State Spartans/Detroit Titans), Sherron Collins (Kansas Jayhawks), Stephen Maxwell (Cal State Northridge Matadors), and several other former NCAA stars were on NBL Canada rosters. Maxwell was named the NBL Canada Rookie of the Year in his first year out of college, and has his sights set on the NBA D-League in 2016-17.
In 2016-17, more NCAA talents are making their way north of the border. The Moncton Miracles added a pair of Division I talents, signing Russell Byrd (Michigan State) and Darius Jones-Gibson (Samford Bulldogs) to professional contracts, while several teams drafted Division I talents in the inaugural All-Canadian draft.
However, it was the Island Storm who made the biggest free agency signing of the off-season so far.
On Friday morning, the Storm announced that they had signed guard Jahii Carson for the 2016-17 season.
Carson played collegiate basketball for the Arizona State Sun Devils, putting up some big numbers during his two seasons with the program.
As a sophomore in 2013-14, Carson averaged 18.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4,6 assists per game. He declared for the NBA Draft after his sophomore season, and despite being projected as a second-round pick by many in the basketball community, Carson went undrafted.
Carson has spent time with the Houston Rockets, and has had workouts with several other teams, including the Toronto Raptors, but he hasn’t been able to break through in the NBA just yet.
After playing the 2015-16 season in Turkey, Carson is excited about the opportunity to play in Canada.
In a release by the Storm, Carson is quoted as saying that he’s done his homework on the league and the team, and that he’s excited for the opportunity to play in Canada.
After a 2015-16 season that was filled with struggles on both ends of the floor, the addition of Carson will undoubtedly boost the offense for Coach Joe Salerno’s team.
Carson is a high-energy guard who is a natural scorer. He likes to attach opposing defenses, creating ample opportunities for himself and his teammates.
The addition of Carson is a huge boost for the Storm organization, and the NBL Canada as a whole. He is another player on an ever-growing list of talented players to come to Canada from major NCAA programs.
– T. Bennett