Retooled Rainmen open season packing offensive punch

The Halifax Rainmen are hoping to score their way to a National Basketball League of Canada title.

The Rainmen, who open the NBL Canada season on the road on Friday against the Windsor Express, had the highest scoring team in the league last season but rebuilt their roster around speedy guards known for their ability to put the ball in the net.

Owner Andre Levingston said he expects his squad to score even more than the 105.9 points per game they averaged last season.

“You can’t really key on one person — we have five or six guys who can go for 20-plus points on any given night,” Levingston said. “If it’s one of those nights where we’ve got everybody clicking, you’re going to see a lot of points scored from this team.”

Darren Duncan, signed from the Saint John Mill Rats, was brought in to run the point, while Eddie Smith from the London Lightning, Brandon Robinson from the Oshawa Power and returnee Joey Haywood have proven they can average between 15 and 20 points per game.

“You’ve been seeing our league is really geared around guards,” Levingston said. “Eddie and Joey can score in bunches, Brandon can strike any time from the outside, and all of these guys can attack the basket. We’re a lot more explosive than we were last year.”

Levingston, who estimates the Rainmen’s average age is around 23, tried to build a more youthful team and hopes this year’s edition will have more energy come playoff time.

He also wanted the team to get taller, so he brought back six-foot-eight Darnell Hugee and signed six-foot-eight Quincy Okolie and six-foot-11 Paul Nelson. This season’s roster averages close to six-foot-five, almost two inches taller than last season.

But with only two returning players and a new head coach in Cliff Levingston, Andre Levingston said it will take time for the team to reach its potential.

“We’re gonna take some lumps along the way,” he said. “We’re still a long way from where I’d like to see us, but all in all, we’ve got a good basketball team.”

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