Story by Thomas Becker
CHARLOTTETOWN - It didn’t take long for big man Carl Hall to make a lasting impression on the Island Storm. And it’s why bringing him back was one of the organization’s top priorities this off-season.
Hall was acquired by the Storm in a trade with the Niagara River Lions at last year’s Feb. 19 trade deadline, in what proved to be surefire move by management. Going the other way was swingman Torrence Dyck Jr.
In just 14 games with the Storm, the six-foot-eight centre quickly adapted to his new surroundings and thrived under Tim Kendrick’s system, putting up 18.3 points per game on 57.4 per cent shooting, with 8.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.
“I really enjoyed coming to P.E.I., it helped me mentally focus on basketball,” Hall said. “I appreciated the way the team and organization embraced me as a player and coming back was an easy decision. I love the family environment, it makes playing basketball very easy.”
Now they’ll have a full season with the 29-year-old locked up and Kendrick is excited to see what that means for the upcoming season.
“We’re thrilled to have the big fella back with us. We believe he’s an elite-level player at both ends of the court,” Kendrick said. “There are a lot of great centres in our league, but in my mind, Carl is certainly at the top of the list.”
But it’s his intangible attributes and veteran savvy that appear to be the biggest draw for the Island squad looking to capture their first title.
“Aside from his obvious basketball ability, he also adds a great deal to the positive culture we want and work so hard to cultivate within our franchise.”
Hall has been shuffled around quite a bit in his professional career, coming in and out of the league and playing in other countries, including Japan, South Korea and Mexico. So to finally find some stability in Charlottetown with a fan base that can’t wait to see him patrol the paint was too enticing to ignore.
“It feels great to have a team like the Storm want you because it lets me know I did my job correctly and gave it my all,” the former Wichita State Shocker said. “It just shows the mutual respect between me and the organization and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
That experience and resilience only made him stronger and he’ll no doubt pass that along to his fellow teammates. And if he wasn’t already, the Cochran, Georgia native will be leaned on to lead the young team into battle, as they look to reach new heights in 2018-19.
“I’m a team guy and I like to lead by example and make my teammates better,” Hall said. “At the end of the day, I just want to win. I don’t play the game for individual stats, I just want to win as many games as possible and have a chance at the end of the season to win a championship.”
Storm season tickets will go on sale at the Eastlink Centre box office later this week. The team opens its season in Charlottetown on Friday, November 16 against the Cape Breton Highlanders.