NBLC Newcomers Week 8: Dixon, Bartley Put Renewed Pressure on Carter for Top Spot

NBLC Newcomers Week 8: Dixon, Bartley Put Renewed Pressure on Carter for Top Spot

Five's Dixon records second 26-point, 16-rebound game in past two weeks

By José Colorado

While consistent winning continues to elude the NBLC's top newcomers, gaudy stat lines have not.

Cory Dixon, Frank Bartley and Sampson Carter all put in tremendous individual efforts this past week that will undoubtedly have them up for Player of the Week honors.

With wins becoming increasingly rare amongst this bunch and newcomers on the league's top teams not having nearly enough of a statistical impact to warrant their consideration, week eight essentially boiled down to a cut and dry numbers game.

Who filled up the box score more?

Not exactly how one imagines the criteria for players competing in a team sport but nonetheless until that noteworthy newcomer on a winning team emerges, it shall suffice.

1. Sampson Carter (Island Storm, 2-8)
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Previous professional experience:  Portugal, Dominican Republic, U.S. (NBA), Mexico, Philippines
Season stats:  24.7 points per game (41 per cent field goal shooting), 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists

For however hard as Sampson Carter may try the newcomer just can't quite seem to get the Island Storm over the hump.

Case in point: a 33-point, nine-rebound effort against the St. John's Edge on 12-of-23 shooting that still resulted in a 107-98 defeat on Jan. 4.

In that match Carter cracked the 30-point mark for the third occasion while managing to shoot above 50 per cent for just the first time this season.

For the week the forward averaged 23 points per game and 7.67 rebounds on 40.74 per cent shooting but the Storm nonetheless ended up going 0-4 (win-loss) and recording its tenth straight defeat by the week's end.

Time is of the essence in this storm.

The Island must find a way to surround Carter's immense talent with some suitable pieces before the club is in too insurmountable of a hole the rest of the way.

If not, one can't help but feel like the 2018 -2019 campaign will be remembered as a wasted opportunity given Carter's NBA-level abilities.

2. Frank Bartley (Saint John Riptide, 3-11)
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Previous professional experience:  True rookie
Season stats: 17.6 points per game (42.9 field goal per cent shooting), 5.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists

Frank Bartley just keeps on getting better.

The Louisianan dropped two separate career-highs as he went for 28 points (eight-of-19 field goal shooting) on Jan.2 against the Halifax Hurricanes and then eclipsed it with 29 points (11-of-26 field goal shooting) on Jan.6 against the Edge.

In the latter game Bartley also collected his second double-double of the year by adding 10 rebounds and even a season-high six assists.

After only scoring above 20-plus points twice in his first 10 games, Bartley has amassed that total in two of his last four outings.

Granted that hasn't equated to wins as the Riptide went 0-3 for the week but at this point that can't be held against him considering the winning – or lack thereof – on this board.

3. Cory Dixon (Sudbury Five, 9-9)
Hometown: Argyle, Texas
Previous professional experience:  Britain, Belgium
Season stats:  14.2 points per game (48.2 per cent field goal shooting), 8.2 rebounds, 1.1 blocks

In the absence of Grandy Glaze, newcomer Cory Dixon picked up the slack and then some by averaging 24.5 points per game, 12 rebounds and two steals on 49 per cent shooting in the Five's pair of games – a win and a loss.

The Texan has been on an absolute tear of late as he has now dropped exactly 26 points and 16 rebounds in two of his last three games.

Perhaps most surprising is the big man's sudden surge in playing time.

This past week he averaged 44 minutes per game – a significant increase from his 31.33 minutes average and his previous single-game season-high of 38.

But if Dixon can keep up his stellar play, coach Logan Stutz has no choice but to let him loose – and this leaderboard has no option but to keep on moving him upwards.

4. Xavier Moon (London Lightning 8-8)
Hometown:  Goodwater, Ala.  
Previous professional experience:  France  
Season stats: 13.5 points per game (47.8 per cent field goal shooting), 4.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists

Xavier Moon's scoring binge this past week must have had the London Lightning over the moon.

The American dropped 19 points in two consecutive games, equating to the highest two-game point production the player has amassed since early December when he notched 47 points in a two-game binge.

Translation: Moon finally found some consistency when it comes to scoring.

For the week the human Swiss Army knife tallied averages of 14.67 points per game (54.29 per cent shooting), four rebounds, 3.67 assists and one steal in a trio of games.

If the Alabama product can find his way to the free-throw line more consistently he should be able to repeatedly produce double-digit scoring numbers as he has only attempted six free throws in his past five games.

5. Jaylen Bland (Sudbury Five, 9-9)
Hometown: Reseda, Calif.  
Previous professional experience:  Luxemburg, Mexico, U.S. (NBA G-League)   
Season stats: 19.5 points per game (38.1 per cent three-point shooting), 5.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists

Jaylen Bland missed the Five's pair of games this week making his spot on this list more tentative than ever.

The league's fifth-leading scorer should be given some leeway but with Bland participating in just two of his team's last nine games, only one more week of significant inactivity can be granted before he is ousted – especially with so many newcomers putting in the work.

Warming up the plane:
Joel Kindred (Halifax Hurricanes, 9-8)
14.5 points per game (44.6 per cent three-point shooting), 4.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists