CANMORE, Alta. — The first draft pick in the history of St. John’s Edge basketball is in the books.
The Edge are the tenth team in the NBL Canada for the 2017-18 season, and the sixth in the Atlantic Division. On Sunday, they made the first overall selection in the 2017 NBL Canada Draft, one of their two selections on the day.
After the Draft Combine that saw close to 130 players put their talents on display for coaches and general managers of the ten teams in the league, the Edge were on the clock.
NEW YORK — On Saturday, October 21st, the NBA G League held their 2017 draft via teleconference at their offices in New York.
Over 140 players made up the draft pool, with the hopes of being selected over the course of the four rounds. Each team had to make a minimum of three selections in the draft. After three selections, a team could choose to forego any selections after that.
If a team opted to forego a selection, they were unable to make any picks for the remainder of the event. The Northern Arizona Suns had three picks in the first round, and after they passed on their second round selection, their day was done.
In total, 96 players were selected in the 2017 draft. The players came from all across the NCAA, and a handful came from either JUCO, Canada, or other parts of the world.
WINDSOR, Ont. — What a year it has been for Springfield, Missouri native Erik Durham.
Back in March, the Jacksonville State Gamecocks made a run through the Ohio Valley Conference tournament as the fourth-seed in the field, punching the program’s first-ever ticket to the Big Dance.
Durham recorded a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds against the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks in the quarter-finals. After a win over the top-seeded Belmont Bruins in the semi-finals, Durham recorded 11 points in the championship game to send the Gamecocks to the NCAA Tournament.
Jacksonville State was awarded a 15-seed, but were unable to pull off any Cinderella magic, falling to the Louisville Cardinals in the Round of 64, 78-63.
The 2013-14 edition of the Wichita State Shockers were one of the best teams in recent memory in college basketball, by far.
While the Shockers ultimately fell to the Kentucky Wildcats in the Round of 32, that was their only blemish of the year. They finished the season with a record of 35-1, running the table in the regular season before falling in the NCAA Tournament.
Gregg Marshall’s squad had the likes of seniors Cleanthony Early, Nick Wiggins, Chadrack Lufile, and Kadeem Coleby, and a slew of young stars who were household names later in their careers. Ron Baker and Fred VanVleetwere both sophomores at the time, while Tekele Cotton was a junior, and Shaquille Morris was only a freshman.
After graduation, the senior class went separate ways. Early was drafted by the New York Knicks, and Lufile was drafted by the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the third round of the NBA D-League Draft. The Canadian big man played just nine games for the Skyforce due to a torn ACL.
Now, his basketball journey has brought him back to where it all started.
With the 2016-17 NBL Canada season under a month away, teams are starting to assemble their training camp rosters, and get the right pieces in place as they embark on the journey towards the NBL Canada Championship.
Even though each team protected six players from last year’s roster at the start of the off-season, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re safe from off-season moves.
On Tuesday, the London Lightning and the Windsor Express pulled off a trade that will drastically shake up the lineup for both teams moving forwards.
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.