This keeps coming up in the comments section of almost every post so I figured I’d put this out here so we can continue driving this point into the ground like a tent peg: Halifax desperately need a centre. Not even a great centre, just a servicable centre. Someone who does not make the team noticably worse by being on the roster. i.e. someone who is not Tyronne McNeal.
McNeal might be a great player, he might have tons of potential, he might be the nicest guy in the world, but right now none of those things help the Rainmen win games. Maybe it’s fitness, maybe it’s injuries, but the bottom line is that he is not helping at all. McNeal is currently averaging 3.4 mpg, 1.2 ppg, and 0.6 rpg. He’s also failed to see floor time in a game and has not blocked a shot yet despite being at least 6’ll (it’s hard to tell actual heights with these guys). Worst of all is that he just seems terrified of contact when he gets on to the floor. It’s time to cut the guy loose.
One of my objections has been that I am not convinced that a good centre is available to pick up, but the thing is that at this point I will settle for mediocre. But I actually think that I was wrong, there are still decent minor league centres to be scooped up.
Vermont announced today that they’ve signed Anthony Fuqua, a guy who was an unremarkable D-Leaguer but is certainly someone who can play centre at least reasonably well. This is important in two ways, first it shows that if you go looking guys like this are still out there (Fuqua was on the radar of the San Antonio Spurs who Vermont coach Will Voigt works for as a scout), and more concretely, the ‘Heaves cut Justin “Boomer” Herndon to make room for Fuqua.
Herndon actually has a pretty decent resume and I thought he looked okay in the two games I saw him play. He’s a big body (6’11) and he played solid, if unremarkable, in his five games with Vermont averaging 13.6 mpg, 3.8ppg, 2.8 rpg and putting up a ten rebound, eight point, two assist game against Manchester. Is he fantabulous? Hell no, but he at least would give Halifax a bit more than McNeal and take some defensive pressure off of Rob Sanders and John Strickland. For bonus points, he’s a former D-League draft pick so that can’t hurt when it comes to marketing.
The other option which Joe pointed out in a previous entry is to pursue Anthony Washington, a 6’10 forward with D1 pedigree who was CBA Rookie of the Year last year who also closed out 2008 riding the pine for the D-League champion Idaho Stampede and was recently cut by the Albany Patroons. He played for the University of Washington and Portland State
Either of those players would be an upgrade and there have to be other guys out there somewhere. We’re not looking for a star just someone who can play fifteen minutes and contribute 7 and 4 and maybe even block a shot or two each game. At this point I would seriously prefer James Tyler or Walter Moyse to McNeal. This team just does not make sense without a real centre in the line up.