Rainmen sign star guard from rival Lightning

Eddie Smith has been sticking it to the Halifax Rainmen for years. Now, he’s on their side after the Rainmen acquired him on Wednesday.

The Rainmen shipped the rights to forward Anthony Johnson, the second overall pick in August’s National Basketball League of Canada draft, to the Laval Kebs for Smith, a six-foot-three guard who starred for the London Lightning last season.

Smith, who was sixth in NBL Canada scoring with 17.2 points per game, was a central figure as London knocked off Halifax in the league final last March. He previously played for the Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry, Halifax’s chief Premier Basketball League rival.

“He’s haunted me for five years now,” said Rainmen owner Andre Levingston. “He’ll help guys stay poised when in the past, being down a couple of points, our guys had a tendency to panic. We’ve got a guy now who can actually create his own shot. When there’s 10 seconds left in the game (or on the shot clock), Eddie can get his basket.”

Smith was traded to the Kebs last month after he and the Lightning couldn’t come to terms on a new contract.

Smith, who was named the NBL Canada’s sixth man of the year, joins two other guards — top Canadian Joey Haywood and reigning scoring champion Brandon Robinson — as the only players under contract with the Rainmen.

Levingston said Smith was deserving of league MVP last season over London’s Gabe Freeman.

“A lot of other teams aren’t going to be excited to find out we signed him,” Levingston said.

The Rainmen open the season on Friday, Nov. 2.

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