You may be unaware that our cheery neighbors to the north have a professional basketball league. Given the National Basketball League’s tight geographical footprint and small number of teams, it’s a fair bet that most Canadians aren’t really aware of it, either.
Some familiar names are sprouting up in the Great White North, however. Former Syracuse guard Brandon Reese is availing himself of an opportunity in the NBL, and several very well known former NCAA players are taking up coaching positions in the fledgling league.
Former Dukie Robert Brickey will helm the Oshawa Power, Georgetown’s Micheal Ray Richardson leads the London Lightning, Mike Evans of the 70’s-era K-State Wildcats will be in charge of the Moncton Miracles, and one-time Hoya Jaren Jackson will stalk the sidelines for the delightfully-named St. John Millrats.
One of the newest transplants is former Wichita State Shocker and NBA champion Cliff Levingston, who seems to have landed his job with the Halifax Rainmen due to a peripatetic head coaching career, as well as some handy family ties.
Levingston’s coaching career began in 2000 as an assistant coach with Fort Wayne Fury of the CBA. In 2002, Levingston was head coach of the Dodge City Legends of the now defunct USBL. During his time with the Dodge City Legends, Levingston was named coach of the year after leading his team to capturing the championship title. Since proving his coaching abilities are of championship calibre, Levingston has continued to enjoy opportunities in the USBL and the CBA.
Cliff Levingston will attend the draft and NBL Canada combine with Halifax Rainmen owner and cousin Andre Levingston in Orangeville Ontario.
It’ll be interesting to see if the NBL can survive and, eventually, thrive. With Canadian players starting to fill up the U.S. collegiate ranks, it’s clear that the hoops scene is on the rise in the land of the maple leaf. British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University (rather dicily nicknamed the Clan) recently became a full member of the NCAA, as well.
Man, NAFTA has really opened up that cross-border trade, eh?