Rainmen make first signing, bring back Haywood

The Halifax Rainmen have secured the services of the National Basketball League of Canada’s top homegrown talent.

Joey Haywood, the league’s Canadian of the year last season, was re-signed by the club on Monday. The six-foot guard and former Saint Mary’s Huskies star from Vancouver was second in Rainmen scoring in 2011-12 with 13.9 points per game.

“He was a priority — a lot of other teams in the league were interested in Joey,” said Rainmen owner Andre Levingston, who put Haywood on his five-man protected list in May.

“He was a focal point of our success last year and will be this year as well.”

Haywood, who was also a second-team all-defence selection and an all-star captain, is the Rainmen’s first signing of the off-season.

The team also acquired reigning league scoring champion Brandon Robinson from the Oshawa Power for cash and a draft pick; traded second-team all-star Tyrone Levett to the Moncton Miracles for a draft pick; opted not to re-sign long-time Rainmen forward Eric Crookshank; and parted ways with Halifax native Christian Upshaw.

Haywood fills one of three Canadian spots required under NBL Canada rules.

“First and foremost, he’s just an unbelievable young man and a good character guy and a great teammate,” Levingston said. “We feel he’s a guy who can help bring us a championship.”

The Rainmen open the NBL Canada season on Nov. 2.

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