Fa­mil­iar faces

Friends off the court, foes on it tonight as Storm plays an Ex­press team with Robin­son, Moss

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JA­SON MAL­LOY

For­mer Is­land Storm play­ers Bran­don Robin­son and Adrian Moss re­turn to Char­lot­te­town tonight as mem­bers of the Wind­sor Ex­press.

A pair of pop­u­lar bas­ket­ball play­ers will be at the Eastlink Cen­tre tonight wear­ing the uni­form of the vis­it­ing team.

Wind­sor Ex­press for­ward Bran­don Robin­son and point guard Adrian Moss will meet for­mer team­mates when they tipoff with the Is­land Storm at 7 p.m. in Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League of Canada play.

“It’s al­ways fun to play against old team­mates,” said Storm cen­tre Nick Evans. “You share a lot of stuff to­gether off the court. When you play against each other, you usu­ally (bring out) the best of one an­other. You want to go out and play well.”

Evans played two sea­sons with Robin­son (2012-13 and 2014-15) and a year with Moss (2013-14).

But he said it’s not about brag­ging rights tonight.

“It’s Storm ver­sus Wind­sor,” Evans said. “It’s about ex­e­cu­tion. It’s about de­fence . . .

“We have to get above .500 and start crawl­ing in the right di­rec­tion.”

The Storm is 3-5 and in third place in the At­lantic Divi­sion while the Ex­press is 4-3 and se­cond in the Cen­tral.

Robin­son signed with Wind­sor on Dec. 31 af­ter be­ing re­leased from his team in Ger­many.

Storm head coach and vi­cepres­i­dent of player per­son­nel Joe Salerno said he and Robin­son talked about re­unit­ing be­fore he signed with Wind­sor.

“They gave him an of­fer he couldn’t refuse,” Salerno said.

Teams op­er­ate on a $150,000 salary cap for the four-month sea­son and must have be­tween 10 and 12 play­ers signed.

Salerno said the Storm is al­ways look­ing for new tal­ent it can de­velop, which is why it has put an em­pha­sis on scout­ing in re­cent years. He pointed to a guy like Rashad Whack as an ex­am­ple. Robin­son, who has played five games with Wind­sor, is se­cond in league scor­ing at 25.4 points per game while Moss is av­er­ag­ing 9.4 points and six as­sists.

On Satur­day night, the Storm hosts the ex­pan­sion Ni­a­gara River Lions, which in­cludes Sammy Zeglin­ski. The point guard, who played in Char­lot­te­town last sea­son, is av­er­ag­ing 19.2 points and 9.7 as­sists.

Salerno said he is look­ing for­ward to see­ing the three play­ers, but there’s still a game to win.

“I think we’ll cer­tainly get Bran­don, Adrian and Sammy’s best,” he said. “That’s nat­u­ral when you’re play­ing against your old team, no mat­ter how you parted ways.”

Salerno said the new Storm play­ers are also look­ing for­ward to the matchup.

“They cer­tainly want to show they’re the new guys in town. It should cer­tainly add to the in­ten­sity of the week­end.”

Storm-Ex­press games haven’t lacked in­ten­sity in re­cent years. The teams’ ri­valry dates back to 2012-13 in Sum­mer­side when the Storm de­feated the Ex­press in a five-game se­ries to get to the league fi­nal. The fol­low­ing year the Ex­press de­feated the Storm to win the cham­pi­onship.

Brent Jen­nings is ques­tion­able for tonight with a calf strain while Alex DesRoches is avail­able but could see lim­ited min­utes as he get backs to full speed af­ter join­ing the team on Tues­day. Salerno is look­ing for­ward to the de­fen­sive in­ten­sity DesRoches can bring to the floor. Evans said the Storm must be ready to go from tipoff time tonight.

FILE PHOTO

Bran­don Robin­son played for the Storm in 2014-15 and 2012-13. He is now a mem­ber of the Wind­sor Ex­press.

FILE PHOTO

Adrian Moss was a point guard with the Is­land Storm in 2013-14.

FILE PHOTO

Point guard Sammy Zeglin­ski ran the Is­land Storm of­fence in 2014-15.

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