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The most recognized name in the history of Storm Basketball is making a return to the Island.
Al Stewart, a 5-foot-10 point guard from Chicago, Ill, is scheduled to arrive on P.E.I. later this week and will be in uniform for the team’s next home game on Thursday, March 17.
“I’m so excited to be coming back,” said Stewart. “The Island is special to me. I’ve played many places, but the fans here embrace me like no other. It really is like a second home.”
Storm head coach Joe Salerno said the feeling is mutual.
“It’s exciting to get Al back in the fold, and I know he is certainly excited about coming back to the Island.”
The Storm used Josiah Turner’s Inactive reserve designate to sign Stewart, not costing the team it’s final transaction
The NBL’s all-time assist and steals leader is hoping a veteran presence will help the young team.
“I’ve been watching them play online, and I think I can help them with my style of play. On the other side of the ball I can help too, I’m still the same defensive player I once was.”
For the Storm, Stewart holds many records, some of which includes: most minutes played, most consecutive games played, and most steals in one game.
In 114 career games with the team, he’s averaged 10.4 points, 6.1 assists, and 2.0 steals.
Salerno recognized Stewart as one of the league’s all-time greatest PG’s and is looking for him to step up in a big way.
“He’s consistent with what he brings to the table every night, and consistency is something I still feel our club is lacking at times. He will also bring a defensive presence on the perimeter, something I feel we will need to make a push in the playoffs against some of the very talented guards here in the Atlantic Division.”
The 32-year-old has had several stops since turning pro in 2007 after a successful collegiate career at Drake University. After a few seasons of play in the ABA, WBA and PBL, Stewart joined the Vermont Frost Heaves in 2010, a team coached by Salerno. When the NBL formed in 2011, Salerno and Stewart teamed up again and would spend the next three seasons together on the Island. At the start of the 2014-2015 season Stewart was signed by the London Lightning and would spend the remainder of the season in Ontario. He was most recently a member of the Saint John Mill Rats at the start of this season but left for personal reasons after just three games played.
For perhaps the first time ever, Stewart was left speechless when speaking about his return.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I don’t know what to say because it’s so exciting for me. I can’t wait to see the surprise on everyone’s face when they see me again.”