Monday, December 26, 2016

2016-17 Orangeville A's Season Preview

Courtesy: oursportscentral.com
After a very disappointing 2015-16 campaign which saw them go 14-26 and share last place in the league with the Island Storm, the Orangeville A’s are hoping their retooled roster and new bench boss, Brandon Lesovsky, can help the A’s achieve the success they found only two season ago.  Just two years removed from reaching the NBLC Central Division finals, the Tipping organization has worked hard to improve the team by keeping key contributors in Rick Bodiford, Jameson Tipping and last All-NBLC 3rd Team member Justin Moss, who took the league by storm last season after averaging a stellar 19 points and 9 rebounds per contest.  However, they have lost a lot of last season's production with the departure of Lewis Jackson, Flenard Whitfield, Bilal Benn, Dominic Cheeks, Tyrone Watson, and Louis Munks.  Shooting from beyond the arc has always been a signature of the A’s and this season will be no different.  They’ve brought in a number of new faces who are known shooters and scorers.  


The A’s are coming off an off-season that saw the team have two solid drafts and bring in former Athlete Institute Head Coach Brandon Lesovsky, the same coach responsible for developing current NBA rookies Jamal Murray and Thon Maker.  Orangeville has always boasted a higher number of talent Canadians on their rosters and this season is no different. Despite losing Richard Amardi to the River Lions, Orangeville has recruited a number of highly touted Canadians including former NBLC player Enrico DiLoreto.  This a long and athletic Orangeville team looking to bounce back. The unfortunate news for the A’s is how much stronger the rest of the Central Division has gotten. Windsor, Niagara and London all look stronger than last season, teams that all finished last season above the A’s.


* - Denotes Canadian player

BACKCOURT: Rick Bodiford, Enrico DiLoreto*, Anthony Harris, Scotty Hendricks, Troy Joseph*, Kahlil McDonald, Jameson Tipping*


Guard Jameson Tipping and Rick Bodiford are back with the squad.  Tipping is an enforcer with a nice touch around the basket and can stretch the floor with his shooting abilities, he’s also a defensive stopper on the other side of the ball.  Bodiford is back for his third season with the franchise and has shown nothing but improvements in his time in the NBLC, so expect nothing less from the 6’5 guard.  He’s a big body wing expected to carry more of the offensive load this season and will be Justin Moss’ right hand man.


Canadian guard Enrico DiLoreto is back in an NBLC jersey for this year.  Last playing in 2014 for the London Lightning, Enrico brings experience and will be more than just another token Canadian sitting on the end of the bench.


Another guard expected to play a big role with the team is former Orangeville guard, Anthony Harris.  The 6’2 Harris has over 5 years and 125 games experience in the NBA D-League.  He averaged over 11 points and 4 assists in this time with the A’s and the team will look to him to have the same level of contribution this season.


Round out the guard rotation is rookie Canadian Troy Joseph, an athletic swing-man who can catch fire in an instant, Scottie Hendricks, an undersized guard who will earn his living beyond the arc, and Kahlil McDonald, a talented athlete who's always a lock for a highlight of the night.

FRONTCOURT: Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, Justin Moss, Gavin Thurman, Slim Magee, Daniel Tulloch*


The biggest name by far is Justin Moss.  If the A’s want to go anywhere, it will be Moss who takes them there.  Moss was second in voting for rookie of the year and narrowly lost out to London’s Stephen Maxwell.  He’s a big, athletic body who can play with his back to the basket or face up and beat his man off the dribble. He scores in a multitude of ways and will be relied on heavily this season to carry his A’s.


Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, brother of Brooklyn Nets guard Rondae Hollis-Jefferson joins the team.  If his name sounds familiar, he signed to the Saint John Mill Rats last season but was cut during training camp.  He too is a long forward with NBA D-League experience.


The frontcourt is rounded out by rookie big-man Gavin Thurman, who will provide inside and outside scoring abilities, rookie Canadian Daniel Tulloch, a hyper athletic 3 and D type of player, and finally “Slim” Magee, a 6’11 rim protector reminiscent of Saint John’s Anthony Stover.


OUTLOOK:

It may be another rough ride for the A’s this season, and they very well could be on the outside looking in come the playoffs.  They have some solid pieces on the roster and a talented coaching staff but the Central Division is too strong this year and they’ve lost too any of their top players from last seasons under-performing squad.  They’ll be battling expansion franchise KW for the fourth and final playoff spot this season.  However, we’ve been surprised by teams before and Orangeville very well could do that.  Only time will tell with the Orangeville A’s.

Atlantic: Cape Breton | Moncton | Halifax | Island Central: London | Kitchener/Waterloo | Windsor