Are Local Players Important for the Rainmen?

As a result of the Crookshank and McGriff signings and things happening in “the real world” I neglected to post a link to Chris Cochran’s column in Monday’s Herald.  In it he argues that Halifax don’t need local players to sell the team to the public.  His basic argument was that last year the team risked looking like a bunch of outsiders with no local connection – and as we all know, in Nova Scotia nothing is worse than getting branded as “come from away” -and to overcome this, the team needed to add local players to be seen as Halifax’s team.  I think that what he doesn’t mention is that for some people, not having local players is seen as a slap in the face.  They think it’s an insult and a suggestion that local ballers can’t play with the Americans.  Well to those people I say “They can’t.”

I don’t think Halifax is going to find a player who is a high enough calibre to join the team on December 1st.  Someone may surprise us, and I am sure someone will get signed, but this team is head and shoulders above last year’s entry and as of right now there isn’t a single Atlantic Canadian on the roster.  The only player with any Canadian connection is Jeanty who is from Toronto.

Benoit was too old and out of real competition for too long to contribute consistently last year, Oliver was good but wouldn’t get a sniff of playing time if he was stuck on this year’s big-man heavy team.  As for Derico Wigginton-Downey, his experience with the team bordered on embarassing and cruel at times.  It’s unfair to local players to sit them at the end of the bench to sell tickets, and it’s unfair to the team and the fans to throw outclassed players on the court.  Last year it was all about marketing, this year I don’t think it’s even needed for marketing reasons because

a)  “Local Guy Makes Semi-Pro Team” is not a big story after we saw it twice last year.

b)  Local media and most fans know that those players likely could not hang in with this year’s team.

c)  The initial (i.e. first game) throng of Wigginton fans dwindled off pretty quickly and consistently winning games is going to help more in the long run at the gate.

d)  For a lot of people Eric Crookshank is a more familiar name than whatever local guy they sign.  AUS and local high school players have close to zero web presence, the returning Rainmen have had huge press coverage over the last 12 months, and most people, myself included, simply don’t follow local high school hoops and barely follow AUS games.  Most of the names of local basketball players don’t mean much to most people.
Does anyone disagree with me and Cochrane?  Does Halifax need to sign at least one local guy?

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8 thoughts on “Are Local Players Important for the Rainmen?

  1. I think that local last year was important but not so much this year with solid players coming back that everyone knows. I completely agree with Chris. The people who will stay with the team all year would rater have guys who are competing out there and not just some publicity stunt

    PUBLICITY STUNTS ARE FOR THE ABA. (to my point the 13th man rule)

    We have moved on from the ABA and should move on from this. I think it was really important last year but a non factor this year.

  2. What Halifax need right now is a super athletic guard who can get to the rim and free throw line or a two guard who can guard the best win players on the other team. No random local player who has been playing in the metro mens league is going to bring those skills to the table. If they can find someone who does then sign them, but don’t just put token local players on the team so they can be embarrassed.

    And you are right about Dennie: he would not make this team this year and he was the best atlantic canadian on the roster last year. No more Dericos.

  3. I recall the reading that the Windjammers carried a local CIS guy or two at the end of their bench. I don’t think that they even played as much as Derico. That beings said, the ‘Jammers (in their early years) had some of the top talent outside of the NBA, which because of the drastically different climate in minor league ball, the Rainmen will not have.

    I still think we could find a solid bench guy from around here to play the 2 spot. However, I also agree that it’s not necessary this year, like it was last year. It would be valuable PR, but it’s not the end of the world if they can’t find anyone.

    A winning team is important above all else right now.

  4. There have been plenty of players that have come out of the AUS over the years who could play very well at the PBL level – Dean Thibodeau, Richard Bella, Curtis Robinson, Michael Dailey (UCCB), Will Njoku, Brian Parker, Fred Perry, Randy Nohr, Jan Trojanowski, Sharone Edwards, Leonel Saintil, etc. However once you eliminate those who leave Atlantic Canada immediately after school, and those who actually graduate with a degree and aren’t willing to take a big paycut to play a few months of minor league ball the pool available at any one time quickly dries up. I have no idea where Dennie Oliver works but I would bet that he and Peter Benoite (new coach at Memorial) are both making more money than any of this year’s Rainmen and more than any Rainmen made last season.

  5. I guess it’s wrong to ask if there are AUS grads who are capable of playing at this level. Of course there is, as your list demonstrates. I guess I am more concerned with the fact that there aren’t very many players either originally from Halifax, or who have lived here for a while that would be willing to suit up and are good enough.

    It’s safe to assume that Benoite is making more money this year then he did last year. It’s also safe to assume that he was making more money working as a unionized bureaucrat then he made last year or will make next year.

    In order to keep players in the area Halifax will have to sign AUS grads as soon as they graduate. The maratimes is too small to produce a lot of high level basketball players, and like everyone else, athletes often move out of here pretty quickly. I do know that Levingston was really big on Santil, but I think he took an offer in Europe.

    I know Joe who comments on here is big on Sharone Edwards – but who knows if the Rainmen have him on their radar.

    Two other things:
    – I think Will Njoku should be brought in to camp as a big man coach if they can pry him away from ABU for a few days.
    – The Rainmen have plans to sign someone who is a big deal. I have no idea who it is or when (or if) it will happen and be announced, but Levingston is excited about someone.

  6. I played high school against Simon Farine in Toronto. He could be a person who could stay after school and possibly still develop. He did play in a D I program before Dal and could possible improve his game. I don’t know how he is playing this year but last he was a good Canadian player.

  7. Pingback: Halifax Sign Two Shooting Guards « SECTION 23

  8. Success is more important than local content to increase the fan base. The worst case scenario would be a team full of local guys who keep losing, giving the public the chance to say “I told you so”. No one is a hero in his hometown.

    I really don’t think anyone expects local players on the team, it would be nice, but how many pro sports teams have local players (except for the Canadiens)? For a city the size of Halifax, it would be a fluke to have a home-grown kid with enough stuff to stay on the floor, especially as one rises through the minor leagues from the ABA to the PBL to the D-League.

    As an example, the Mooseheads only have 3 players from Halifax (plus a few from the rest of NS). I don’t know, but I am guessing that fans would rather have a winning team made up of mostly (or all?) CFA’s, rather than a basement-dwelling team of locals.

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