Photo Credit: Gabriel Stone
By: Cole Shelton
Xavier Moon, like most of the London Lightning, were disappointed when they suffered a surprising first-round playoff exit last season.
After the season, Moon trained all summer working on his shot to try and be a knockdown shooter.
"I work on my shot a lot. People think I can't shoot for some reason, I don't know why they think that but I've worked on it a lot. It has definitely paid off this season," Moon said in a recent phone interview. "It is very important because it stretches the floor for us. People have to guard me out farther, and I'm quicker than most people. It is huge that I'm able to knock down these shots. If I can keep doing that and get everyone else involved it will be good for us down the stretch.'
Although he was disappointed in the playoff exit, Moon tried out for the Raptors 905 and expected to make the team. But, he was cut and immediately knew he was coming back to Canada and London.
"I actually signed really late as I went to the Raptors 905 training camp and I actually expected to make the team but things didn't work out," he said. "So, I ended up coming back to London and I'm happy to be here. I learned a lot in the G League."
He knew London was the only option for him as he wanted to stay in Canada as he loves the NBLC and the way the game is played in Canada.
"I think the game is growing in North America and here. This is a great league, it is always growing," he said. "I'd rather be in Canada than in Europe or somewhere but after this year I'll probably go there."
Although Moon was disappointed he was cut from the 905, he knows to be in the training camp he improved a ton as a player.
He also understands what aspects of his game he needed to improve on.
"I didn't even play one game in the G League. I just went through a lot of practices and a lot of film study and I was there for two-three weeks and I learned so much," he said. "I've already seen big changes in my game so I can only imagine if I played like 20 games and came back here I would be a completely different player. It helped expand my game a lot."
Part of his game that he continues to improve on is his defensive game. He is currently ninth in the league in steals with 19.
"My defensive game is probably what I rely on the most," he explained. Defence comes first as defence creates the offence. I know if we can get stops, I don't worry about the score. I take pride in my defence. It just takes the pressure off of us when I'm playing solid defence."
In the end, Xavier Moon says he and the London Lightning have a championship or bust mentally and have unfinished business after a disappointing playoff exit.
"That was another reason I wanted to come back as we came up short, very short as we were beaten in the first round. We have unfinished business," he said. "The way we practice, our film sessions is championship level. That is what we preach and everyone has bought into it. We just have to make sure we take it one game at a time and can't overlook any opponents. Just do what we need to do to win the championship."