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Rainmen still a work in progress

The Halifax Rainmen, now entering their fourth season, are hoping to take the Premier Basketball League by storm in 2011.

The Halifax Rainmen, now entering their fourth season, are hoping to take the Premier Basketball League by storm in 2011.

The Rainmen have improved steadily since being founded in 2007-08 and made the playoffs for the first time last season before being eliminated in the semifinals by the eventual champions, the Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry.

Here are five keys for the Rainmen to take the next step.

BUILD CHEMISTRY

If you’ve followed the Rainmen at all, you know there has been a revolving door to their roster, making it difficult to build a cohesive unit on the floor. The Rainmen themselves are also the first to admit they’ve had too many egos on their roster in the past.

With the roster literally changing by the week, they’ll need to establish a core group of team-first players and build the chemistry they’ve lacked in year’s past.

PRESENCE IN THE PAINT
The Rainmen have never had a dominant big man and it’s not clear if they ever will, despite owner Andre Levingston’s desperate search to find one.

Whoever they decide to plug into the starting centre spot will need to provide a tough defensive presence, shot-blocking ability and top-notch rebounding.

Lawton-Fort Sill had three heavy-duty centres last season and it helped them win a championship.

HIT FREE THROWS
Free throws will win and lose games at any level, and the Rainmen just couldn’t get it done in that department last season with an abysmal 68.7 per cent conversion rate. Someone will need to step up as the go-to guy from the charity stripe late in games.

WIN ON THE ROAD
Despite outstanding play at the Metro Centre — going 9-2 — the Rainmen went 4-7 on the road with their only wins against pushovers. Travel is brutal in the PBL, but the Rainmen need to find a way to get off the bus with more jump.

TOUGH DEFENCE

The Rainmen finally buckled down defensively last season but then allowed more than 120 points per game in the playoffs. Head coach Les Berry has always preached defence and will need his talented athletes to play with heart in that department when it counts.

 
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