ON A ROLL

Res­ner hopes to keep High­landers rolling

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY T.J. COLELLO sports@cb­post.com On Twit­ter: @cb­post_s­ports

High­landers have won two straight un­der new head coach.

It’s only early in his ten­ure as head coach with the Cape Breton High­landers, but Ben Res­ner has al­ready made a good first im­pres­sion.

The 25-year-old has led the ex­pan­sion club to a pair of wins during his ten­ure: 122-114 over the Is­land Storm in Char­lot­te­town, Jan. 26, and a 103-100 tri­umph against the Wind­sor Storm at Cen­tre 200, Jan. 29. It’s the first two-game win­ning streak for the team in its in­au­gu­ral sea­son, as the High­landers moved out of the base­ment of the At­lantic Di­vi­sion with a 4-8 record.

But he knows it’s only the be­gin­ning.

“We tried to start fresh at the be­gin­ning of this week,” said the na­tive of Cen­ter­port, N.Y., fol­low­ing the team’s most re­cent vic­tory at Cen­tre 200. “Get­ting two wins in a row, we’re not done yet. We feel good, but we want to keep rolling.”

Res­ner started as an as­sis­tant coach with the High­landers, but re­placed for­mer head coach Dean Mur­ray on Jan. 23, a day af­ter Mur­ray was fired.

“It’s been a lit­tle bit of an ad­just­ment for ev­ery­body, but we tried to hit the ground run­ning as best as we could,” said Res­ner. “We knew we had a big week ahead, and we re­ally just wanted to get this thing rolling. We have all the pieces in there. We have a lot of tal­ented guys, so we just tried to hit the ground run­ning and the guys re­spected me and were ready to do that. It’s a credit to them.

“Coach­ing guys at this level is a great op­por­tu­nity. I get to make all the de­ci­sions and Chris Far­row, our as­sis­tant (coach), re­ally does a great job of help­ing me. It’s a great op­por­tu­nity for me, but I want to win games. I want to bring a prod­uct to the com­mu­nity they can be proud of.”

As a 6-2 guard, Res­ner played for Stony Brook Univer­sity, where he served as one of four team cap­tains during the 201314 sea­son. The Sea­wolves fin­ished sec­ond in the Amer­ica East Con­fer­ence and reached the fi­nal of the Amer­ica East cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment.

As a coach, he spent two sea­sons in the NBA’s De­vel­op­ment League in the Cleve­land Cava­liers or­ga­ni­za­tion with the Can­ton Charge. He earned ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing at the Cava­liers train­ing camp un­der both Cava­lier for­mer head coach David Blatt and the team’s cur­rent head coach, Ty­ronn Lue, and had the op­por­tu­nity to work with the team’s all-star cast, in­clud­ing LeBron James, Kyrie Irv­ing and Kevin Love.

“Peo­ple who know me thought I’d be a coach all my life,” said Res­ner. “I played, but while I was play­ing, I was get­ting ready to be a coach even­tu­ally. But I worked un­der some great coaches. My high school coach, my col­lege coaches are now hired at a Di­vi­sion 1 school, Rut­gers Univer­sity.

“In the D-League, I worked for an un­be­liev­able head coach, Jordi Fer­nan­dez, who’s an as­sis­tant with the Den­ver Nuggets now. I’ve been for­tu­nate to work with some re­ally great peo­ple and learn un­der them.”

Res­ner and the High­landers face one of their big­gest chal­lenges so far this sea­son. They’ll play their long­est stretch of away games — five in to­tal — start­ing Fri­day against the Saint John Rip­tide. They won’ be back to the friendly con­fines of Cen­tre 200 un­til Feb. 25 when they host the Kitch­ener Water­loo Ti­tans.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO/VAUGHAN MER­CHANT

Ben Res­ner brings ex­pe­ri­ence as an as­sis­tant coach in the NBA’s De­vel­op­ment League into his first pro­fes­sional head-coach­ing job with the Cape Breton High­landers.

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