I enjoy sharing these moments from my National Basketball League of Canada life, where I work as the league statistician and director of player clearances.
One of the teams in our league is the St. John’s edge, a team WAAAAY far away in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. On their roster is Carl English, a kid born in Newfoundland and returning home after playing at various levels of international professional and amateur basketball. He currently averages about 25 points per game for the St. John’s Edge, who are currently fighting for the NBL’s Central Division lead.
Well, last Saturday, against the Kitchener-Waterloo (Ontario) Titans, English had the scoring touch. A 25 point average? Dude blew that away by halftime.
See, English hit 58 points – the most ever scored by an NBL Canada player in a single regular season match in a 127-117 win voer Kitchener-Waterloo. He beat the 56 set on March 3, 2013 by the Moncton (New Brunswick) Miracles’ Devin Sweetney, who scored all day and night against the Jazz de Montreal (Quebec).
For the record, English went 17 of 33 from the floor, and 13-for-14 from the free throw line. Oh yeah, and he hit 11 three-point baskets in the game. He also had seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.
And … for good measure … the news made headlines on Canada’s version of ESPN, TSN/RDS, where Toronto Raptors broadcaster and Canadian basketball legend Leo Rautins – who gave out “Leo” awards based on the Oscars – gave English some love and a prized “Leo” on the evening broadcast.
Now that’s about 15 levels of cool.
It’s also another example of how the NBL’s exposure is growing – both in Canada and worldwide. Earlier this year, a player who came to the league through the tryout camps – Duke Mondy – became the top scorer for the Cape Breton (Nova Scotia) Highlanders, only to get a mid-season signing with the Texas Legends of the NBA’s Gatorade league – the first NBL Canada player to jump to the NBA’s developmental league in mid-season. Woah.
We’ve also had several players – including Grandy Glaze of the same St. John’s Edge and Robert Nortmann of the Windsor (Ontario) Express – get call-ups to play for their national teams in the FIBA Basketball Championship tournament. That right there is a true badge of honor – oh wait, I meant a badge of honour.
So congratulations to Carl English and to all the players in the NBL. The league is growing and thriving … this is awesome all over.