Mill Rats go from scouting TBT to applying

 

Last season, Ian McCarthy, co-owner of the Saint John Mill Rats of the National Basketball League of Canada, made the drive from New Brunswick down to Philadelphia for The Basketball Tournament. 

His intentions were to scout the 32-team field for players for the NBL Canada 2014-15 season. McCarthy plans to return to The Basketball Tournament again this summer, although this time he hopes to take back more than just players.

"After seeing how professionally ran the tournament was in 2014, we vowed to return this summer with our own team," said McCarthy.

McCarthy, along with three other NBL Canada teams were in attendance in 2014 with each of them signing a player from TBT.

The Mill Rats landed YouTube sensation Aquille Carr from Rep Your City while the Island Storm of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, added a trio: Rashad Whack (DMV's Finest), Sammy Zeglinski (Philly Patriots), and Billy Rush (Illinois Hoopville). Doug Thomas of The Citi Team became a late addition to the Mississauga Power.

“It’s a good [tournament] for its high concentration of talent,” McCarthy said of a field that included several NBA veterans and an AP first-team All-American.

For McCarthy’s TBT team, he went with some of the top talent from his Saint John roster. Kenny Jones, a 6-foot-6 power forward, and Anthony Anderson, the 2014 NBL Canada MVP, averaged 20.0 and 19.6 points per game, respectively, last season for the Mill Rats.

To add to his team, McCarthy reached out to Rob Spon, the former Mill Rats coach. Last month, Spon led the Rochester Razorsharks to the Premier Basketball League championship. Rochester assistant coach Chris Iversen is on board as the Mill Rats coach for TBT. Accompanying him are guards Corey Allmond and Jerice Crouch. The backcourt duo was named Co-MVPs of the PBL postseason.

On Friday, the Mill Rats officially announced the addition of high-flyer Jamario Moon, who played six seasons in the NBA. The 6-foot-8 swingman was a target of many TBT teams.

With four players on the roster, the Mill Rats are on the verge of becoming eligible for The Basketball Tournament after an early start in the registration process catapulted the Mill Rats toward the top of the Northeast Region. The Halifax Rainmen, also of the NBL Canada, have also entered TBT under the name, Team Halifax. However, the registration process has taken a backseat to the Rainmen's playoff run.

“I wanted to distinguish the Saint John’s Mill Rats from an “A team” being entered in summer tournament, so we decided to call it Team Mill Rats,” he said. “We wanted to be able to leverage our fan base just like Syracuse Alumni. We can put it out there and certainly our fans would vote for them.”

Like last season, McCarthy plans on scouting players in the expanded 97-team field; however, he does not believe he'll be alone. With TBT returning to Philadelphia for the Northeast Region, and also opening a Midwest Region (Chicago), McCarthy believes all eight NBL Canada teams will be in attendance in July. 

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