No rest for Les­lie

NBL of Canada head coach scout­ing and coach­ing in Las Ve­gas

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS -

At this time of the year, Las Ve­gas is a gold­mine of sorts for as­pir­ing pro­fes­sional bas­ket­ball play­ers, so it shouldn’t come as a sur­prise that Hal­i­fax Hur­ri­canes head coach Mike Les­lie has found his way down to Sin City.

For the next two weeks Les­lie – who is com­ing off a run­ner-up fin­ish in the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League of Canada – will be keep­ing an eye out for some of the best tal­ent out­side of the NBL con­verg­ing state­side.

The NBA Las Ve­gas Sum­mer League goes from July 7 to 17 along with the NBA Ga­torade League (formerly NBA De­vel­op­ment League) af­fil­i­ated events dur­ing that span.

Les­lie, how­ever, finds him­self re­cruit­ing and coach­ing at the global bas­ket­ball sum­mer league – a show­case that dubs it­self ‘the best sum­mer league out­side of the NBA.’

“Las Ve­gas is a sort of a des­ti­na­tion in the first two weeks of July for sum­mer bas­ket­ball events,” Les­lie said. “Of course there’s the NBA Sum­mer League and the G-League, but there’s also five other ma­jor bas­ket­ball com­bines that are hosted dur­ing that time to iden­tify play­ers for con­tracts.

“That’s where I’m at right now. Over the next six days, 140 play­ers will come through.”

Al­though Les­lie was al­ready plan­ning a trip to gauge the tal­ent in the hoops hot­bed, it was ac­tu­ally a player agent who reached out and asked if he would be will­ing to take a hands-on ap­proach.

Dis­cus­sions with NBA-af­fil­i­ated coaches high­light the trip, but most im­por­tant is re­al­iz­ing the re­al­ity of the NBLC.

“It’s not that we want to break up the ros­ter but other play­ers have other op­por­tu­ni­ties and it’s more of a salary cap sit­u­a­tion,” he said. “It’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to bring them all back.”

Ac­cord­ing to Les­lie, a few play­ers have al­ready ex­pressed their in­ter­est to re­turn but with pro­tected play­ers list – a time pe­riod in the off-sea­son that gives teams ex­clu­sive rights to re­tain a se­lect few play­ers be­fore hit­ting free agency – not yet re­leased, he couldn’t elab­o­rate fur­ther.

Ei­ther way, it seem sit will be a busy off-sea­son.

“I’ll prob­a­bly head over to Fort Laud­erdale in early Au­gust . . . there is also a sum­mer league in New York, so I might slip down there be­cause have three of our play­ers who are sup­posed to be play­ing in that.”


Mike Les­lie, a for­mer ath­letic di­rec­tor at Three Oaks Se­nior High School in Sum­mer­side and prin­ci­pal at Kinkora Re­gional High School, coaches the Hal­i­fax Hur­ri­canes dur­ing a Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League of Canada game.

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