By Thomas Becker | Oct. 23, 2017
WINDSOR, ON - Sunday was a big day for the Island Storm, who checked off size and scoring from their wish list during the 2017 NBL of Canada Draft.
With the second overall pick, acquired in a trade with the Niagara River Lions earlier this year, the Storm selected six-foot-ten centre Zack Valliere. The 27-year-old athletic big man is a skilled player, who’s agile and runs the lanes well.
“We went in looking for size,” said head coach Tim Kendrick. “We wanted size that fit our scheme offensively and defensively and he fit everything we were looking for.”
Valliere most recently played for the Moncton Miracles in 2015-16 as an injury replacement, but didn’t make the impact he expected in the league. After taking a year off from the sport, the Douglas, Massachusetts native, re-entered the draft and is looking at this opportunity as a sort of rebirth.
“I’m feeling blessed right now,” Valliere said. “I’m itching to play and I’m excited to bring my game to this team and see where I fit in.”
In his senior year of college, the Fitchburg State University product averaged a double-double with 14.3 points per game and 10 rebounds in 2012-13. The centre also averaged 2.4 blocks per contest.
“I know what I need to do to separate myself from other bigs,” he said. “The game’s evolving and you see guys my size playing the two and three. I like to show my versatility – I can shoot out on the perimeter and play with my back to the basket. It’s important now in any league to have a full game, especially as a big.”
Four picks later, the Storm drafted six-foot-five guard and scoring threat, Torrence Dyck, with the sixth overall selection. The prospect was under the watchful eye of Kendrick throughout the weekend combine and believes Dyck could be the steal of the draft.
“I think he could end up being a real steal for us,” Kendrick said. “He’s a very athletic player who has scored everywhere he’s been.”
The 23-year-old had a great college career as a member of the Daemen College Wildcats, putting up 21.9 points per game on an efficient 48.5 per cent from the field in 2015-16. The guard also rebounded well for his position, grabbing 6.7 boards a night.
“My biggest strength is running the floor and being a scorer,” Dyck said. “Compared to other guards, I’m big and I’m quick and I just bring a lot of energy on and off the court.”
After spending a year overseas, splitting time between two European leagues – the Swiss LNA and the Czech NBL – the Rochester, New York native is excited to take his talents to Canada.
“It means a lot to get selected,” Dyck said. “I’m truly blessed and grateful for the opportunity and I’m glad to be recognized by the Island Storm.”
After a grueling weekend studying 146 prospects, Kendrick and the Storm are ecstatic about landing two standouts, who could lead a new era of Storm basketball.
“We’re quite pleased with the way the draft went and we’re excited to see what these kids can do for us.”
Storm fans are reminded that single game tickets and flex packages will go on sale Nov. 1 at the Eastlink Centre Box Office.