2018-19 Season In Review: Part 1: Training Camp
The 2018-19 season has come to an end, first off, we would like to congratulate the Moncton Magic on winning the 2018-19 NBL Canada Championship. Although we were the opponent and the loss is one that stings given how hard the Edge fought all season, we must tip our caps to the Magic on an incredible season of their own.
We would also like to extend Thank-You’s to our partners, staff, Mile One Centre, and of course our fans. All the individuals who worked hard throughout the season to ensure we were able to make it as far as we did, it was incredible to see the support and how it boosted the team to get through some very tough obstacles throughout this season.
Now we will finally begin to reflect on the year, this will be released in five parts: Part 1 – Training Camp, Part 2 – The Early Struggles, Part 3 – The turnaround, Part 4 – Clinching the Playoff Spot, Part 5 – The Playoffs. Each part we will go in depth to examine some key moments, the learning curve, and look at transactions occurring during each part.
Part 1 – Training Camp
The off-season was ending, and the season was just over a month away, with the roster starting to fill out, it was time for the team along with the front office and coaching staff to head to Grand-Falls Windsor for training camp.
Throughout the off-season, the coaching staff had worked tirelessly to put together a roster for the second training camp in the existence of the St. John’s Edge. Unlike the inaugural season, the team had more time to assemble a team of players that fit in their mould. What they were looking for were the top players and also those that were easy going and would accept the community commitments that the Edge were known for in year one.
With that, the coaching staff announced the roster below would be heading to Grand-Falls Windsor for training camp:
PLAYER POS HT/WT SCHOOL/COUNTRY
Nick Banyard F 6’8/245 Central Florida/USA
Guillaume Boucard G 6’6/200 Carelton/Canada
Todd Brown G 6’5/210 Wright State/USA
Junior Cadougan G 6’1/205 Marquette/Canada
Carl English G 6’5/190 Hawaii/Canada
Gabe Freeman F 6’6/210 Mesa CC/USA
Maurice Jones G 5’7/150 Northwood/USA
Ted Kapita F 6’9/235 NC State/Congo
Dez Lee G 6’5/190 NC State/USA
Travele Jones F 6’8/205 Texas Southern/USA
Jarryn Skeete G 6’4/175 Buffalo/Canada
Satnam Singh C 7’2/295 IMG Academy/India
Bryce Washington F 6’7/240 UL Lafayette/USA
Kevin Zabo G 6’2/185 Kent State/Canada
This was an evenly built roster, with several additions of players with vast experience in professional basketball, as well as, a strong rookie class that featured players with some clout in NCAA Division 1 basketball.
Training camp was set to begin on November 3rd, 2018 and conclude in Grand-Falls Windsor on November 9th. The on-court activity would be taking place at Exploits Valley High School, while the workouts and off-court training was to take place at the YMCA in Grand-Falls.
The practices were structured with the morning sessions being based on skill building and breaking down the playbook before heading out for a mid-day lunch at a local restaurant. There would also be an evening session where the group was broken down into teams and there were mini-games to be played for the coaching staff to assess skill level and basketball IQ.
Some of the most rewarding parts of the trip to Grand-Falls Windsor were the fact that the players would get to see a part of the island that they may never get to explore while playing for the Edge. The team was lodging at the River Front Chalets just outside of town, the scenic chalets backed onto the exploits river which was the perfect selfie spot for guys to boost on their own social media throughout the week. Along with staying at the chalets, the team was provided with each meal, in the mornings there was a buffet breakfast, lunch was spent at a local restaurant (each of which were corporate partners), and each dinner was a catered meal with variations of traditional Newfoundland food.
Of course, this was a proving ground for the players as they were vying to make the final roster and become a part of one of the best organizations in the NBL Canada, but it was also about spreading the footprint of Edge basketball. The town was excited about the team’s arrival and was receptive wherever we went. On one occasion, the team and staff took a trip to Wal-Mart for snacks/water/Gatorade/etc. and there were two young boys with their mom. They were basketball players who recognized the guys as being a part of the team through following the Edge Instagram page.
Being nervous and not sure how to approach the guys, the mother approached and politely asked if the guys would take a picture with her two sons. Obliging, the players also gave the kids some tips on basketball. This was unexpected, but the guys enjoyed it as it was the first time they had been ‘recognized’ in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Throughout the week, the team also attended multiple community events visiting elementary schools and various known businesses in the Town of Grand-Falls Windsor.
As training camp was nearing its end, the team would play a single exhibition game at Exploits Valley High School. The Town sold tickets to the game with the proceeds going back into the town’s programs. The tickets for the event sold out in just under 30 minutes with over 400+ people who were lucky enough to be in attendance.
The finale of training camp at the Blue vs White game, the residents showed their appreciation for us bringing them Edge basketball while we also showed our appreciation for those folks who made the team and staff feel like they were a part of the town.
All in all, it was successful, and it was worth it as the team bonded through grueling practice sessions and finding that team bond that most teams do not possess until later in their season’s.
(note: With very limited resources and after some encouragement, the players would venture down to the riverside of the exploits and put their sore ankles and feet in the ice cold water as a way of recovery, truly using their surroundings to keep their bodies right for camp.)