Guarded optimism for Rainmen as one player dealt, another signed

Coming off two weekend victories, the Halifax Rainmen did some shaking up of their roster on Monday.

The National Basketball League of Canada franchise released forward Joel Smith, and also traded high-scoring point guard Darren Duncan to the Windsor Express for a 2013 third-round draft pick and an undisclosed amount of cash.

Duncan had been the team’s starting point guard through the first six games, but was replaced by Josiah Turner in home victories Saturday against Windsor and Sunday versus Summerside.

“We just felt that Turner gives us a little bit more as a starter in terms of putting pressure on the defence. He’s a little bit bigger and stronger, and he passes the ball extremely well,” said Halifax Rainmen owner and general manager Andre Levingston. “We just saw a different flow when he’s in the game.”

Halifax also brought a new player into the fold Monday, adding Melvin Goins, a five-foot-11 guard who started for the University of Tennessee Volunteers during the 2010-11 season and averaged almost eight points per game.

Goins most recently was playing professional basketball overseas.

“He’s really, really strong and physical, which is what we’re going to need down the stretch when we start playing teams like London,” Levingston said. “He’s bigger, stronger, he played football as well in college. He gives us a different type of guard, a physical guard.”

Halifax is off until Saturday when they hit the road for a pair of weekend games. They’ll play the Oshawa Power on Saturday afternoon, then tangle with the first place and undefeated London Lightning on Sunday afternoon.

Levingston said the mood around the Rainmen is very upbeat after the team won it’s first two games under new head coach Rob Spon, to even their record at 4-4.

“The intensity has been through the roof with our team lately,” Levingston said. “They’ve been competing really hard in practice and I think fans saw a difference in the way we performed a week ago compared to this weekend …We’ve made a commitment to defence and the coach is putting them in a position to be successful.”

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