Player comes off stint with Saigon Heat
By José Colorado
The rich get richer.
With the sudden news of Canadian sharpshooter, Diego Kapelan, leaving the rock for a contract in Mexico, the St. John's Edge wasted no time in introducing his inactive reserve designate: former Team Canada member, Murphy Burnatowski.
The Kitchener-Waterloo product comes off a successful stint with the Saigon Heat of the ASEAN Basketball League, debuting for the Edge on March 3 with 13 points, six rebounds and five blocks in 22 minutes.
With St. John's having already loaded their roster with some of the most memorable homegrown names, including Olu Ashaolu, Junior Cadougan and Carl English, Burnatowski comes as the latest prized jewel for an organization quickly gaining a reputation for going all in.
1. Jamal Reynolds (Pickering, ONT.)
Team: Cape Breton Highlanders (16-17)
LW RANK: 1
Stats this week: 16.33 points per game (36 per cent field goal shooting), six rebounds, three games played
Season stats: 17.2 points per game (53.2 per cent field goal shooting), 8.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists
A woeful shooting week for the league's fifth-leading field goal shooter was saved with some serious work in the paint as Jamal Reynolds attempted 34 free throws in a trio of matches.
Similar to the Island Storm's Guillaume Boucard, Reynolds simply has a knack for being able to draw and make foul shots consistently.
It's what has kept the Pickering-native hovering around the top-10 in NBLC scoring throughout the 2018 -2019 campaign with week 16 being no different.
Despite shooting just 36 per cent from the floor, Reynolds knocked down 29 of his 34 tries from the stripe to finish with a solid weekly scoring average of 16.33 points.
It is somewhat frustrating to imagine what the six-foot-five forward could do if head coach Bernardo Fitz-Gonzalez really let him loose.
In February Reynolds averaged a season-low 26 minutes per game but when looking at the forward's
numbers when given 35-plus minutes (seven games total), Reynolds is averaging 21.57 points per game and 11.42 rebounds on 51 per cent shooting from the floor.
With the Highlanders floundering and its former go-to scorer Bruce Massey gone for the remainder of the season, one would think it is fair to ask why Reynolds' isn't being treated as the team's focal scorer given the circumstances?
2. Junior Cadougan (North York, ONT.)
Team: St. John's Edge (18-15)
LW RANK: 2
Stats this week: 4.5 points (27 per cent field goal shooting), 7.5 rebounds, five assists, two games played
Season stats: 13.8 points per game (48.6 per cent field goal shooting), 3.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists
Junior Cadougan may need some time to adjust.
It appears the Edge's constant player movement (see intro) may have taken its toll on the floor general as he was held to consecutive single-digit scoring games for the first time since mid-December.
It wasn't all bad for the point guard however as he did snatch a season-high 12 rebounds on March 3.
In fact for the week the North Yorker averaged 7.5 rebounds and five assists - solid complimentary numbers.
But when coupled with the fact that Cadougan only mustered 4.5 points per outing on 27 per cent shooting, week 16 can't be viewed as anything but a disappointment given his calibre.
When digging deeper however it's not as if the scorer's attempts were significantly down with the team's recent round of changes– he did still manage to get up 7.5 tries per game, not far off from his 9.8 seasonal mark.
But rather Cadougan's downward aggression lacked as he only got to the free throw line twice in his pair of games while being ice cold (zero-of-five) from three-point range.
Given how the lead guard has been excelling since the New Year, expect Cadougan to recalibrate where he is most effective sooner rather than later.
3. Guillaume Boucard (Montreal, QUE.)
Team: Island Storm (8-22)
LW RANK: 5
Stats this week: 23 points (41 per cent field goal shooting), eight rebounds, 6.33 assists, 2.67 blocks
Season stats: 13 points per game (40.20 per cent field goal shooting), 6.63 rebounds, 3.06 assists, 1.09 steals, one block
Guillaume Bo ucard just keeps outdoing himself.
After setting a myriad of season-highs in week 15, the Montreal-native outpaced his own excellence once more by averaging 23 points (41 per cent field goal), eight rebounds, 6.33 assists and 2.67 blocks in a trio of games.
However it is his breathtaking performance on March 1 against the Highlanders that will jump out most to NBLC fans.
Indeed the game marked season-best efforts in points (39) and blocks (five) but it is Boucard's ability to get to the line that is on world-beater levels at the moment.
The former Carleton Raven attempted 21 free throws (netting 16) in his latest masterpiece, making it the second time this year he has attempted 20-plus free throws in a single match.
For context, many players are fortunate if they can reach such a number a handful of times in their career.
Boucard has done so twice in eight days.
In fact in the month of February, the Storm player got to the line an average of 9.1 times per game, making 85.4 per cent of his tries – numbers that would rank him tops in the NBLC if he were to sustain them over the span of the season.
Given that the forward has averaged such stellar statistics at 18.8 points per game, 8.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists since being dealt to the Storm on Jan.7, it appears Boucard won't lose out on the Canadian of the Year honour –he might just run of time.
4. Alex Campbell (Brampton, ONT.)
Team: Island Storm (8-22)
LW RANK: Unranked
Stats this week: 14 points per game (42 per cent field goal shooting), eight rebounds, 7.33 assists, one steal, three games played
Season stats: 11.9 points per game (42.5 per cent field goal shooting), seven rebounds, 3.5 assists
Week 13 was the last time Alex Campbell graced Canada's Court but the guard has steadily been putting work since then.Week 13 was the last time Alex Campbell graced Canada's Court but the guard has steadily been putting
In particular the past week-and-a-half has been a revelation of sorts as the Storm player has averaged 17.4 points per game, 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.2 steals on 50 per cent shooting in his last five outings, including a season-high 30 points on Feb.24 against the Moncton Magic.
The Brampton-native even collected his first triple-double of the year in week 16 as he notched 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a 129 – 105 win versus the Halifax Hurricanes on March 3.
Impressively, at just six-foot-two, Campbell has registered 10 double-digit rebounding efforts with the Ontarian being one of only three guards to rank amongst the top-15 in boards.
Needless to say there are quite a few things working in Campbell's favour at the moment and now with the Storm stringing together its first three-game win streak of the season, it's even translating to team success.
5. Tyrrel Tate (Calgary, ALTA.)
Team: Windsor Express (16-15)
LW RANK: 3
Stats this week: 10 points per game (57.1 per cent field goal shooting), three rebounds, two steals, one game played
Season stats: 14.3 points per game (49.1 per cent field goal shooting), 3.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists
After three consecutive 15-plus point games, Tyrrel Tate regressed in week 16 by notching just 10 points in a 126 -123 loss to the Sudbury Five on Feb.28.
Granted the Calgary-native did shoot an efficient four-of-seven from the floor – hitting above 55 per cent for the second straight week - but one can't help but think the guard left something on the table.
Just consider that although the Windsor Express sputtered in February to a 3-6 (win-loss) tune, Tate actually produced his best numbers of the season in the month for points per game (15.1), three-point percentage (51.4), rebounds (five) and assists (1.4).
If the scorer – who shot a season-worst 72.2 per cent from the free-throw line in February – is able to regain his former touch from the charity stripe (81.7 per cent on the season) then his ascension could really be accelerated.
One off week can't knock Tate off Canada's Court completely but it is enough to push him to the brink.
He moves down to No.5.
Chris Johnson, Cape Breton Highlanders (North Preston, N.S.)
12.8 points per game (37.3 per cent three-point shooting), 3.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists