The Halifax Rainmen wanted a big man, but didn’t want a man quite as big as DeAndre Thomas.
The Rainmen attended the Premier Basketball League draft in Chicago yesterday hoping to land a backup centre for Gordon Malone, but left with a pair of guards, 6-foot-8 Omar Weaver of Washington with the seventh pick and former Dalhousie Tigers standout Devon Norris of Tantallon at No. 17.
Owner Andre Levingston travelled to Chicago earlier in the week and put his top prospect, 6-foot-8 centre DeAndre Thomas, through fitness testing. But Levingston said Thomas checked in at 370 pounds, so he altered his plan.
“We changed our mind at the last minute,” he said. “We were going to take DeAndre in the first round, but there was skepticism about his conditioning and his unwillingness to commit to conditioning. We didn’t take the chance.”
Weaver, 28, played three seasons with the Maryland Nighthawks in the Premier Basketball League and American Basketball Association and has played pro in the Dominican Republic and Mexico. The Rainmen expect him to come off the bench and selected him because of his versatility.
“I can go inside, outside, I can shoot, slash, post up and defend,” Weaver said. “I can play every position but centre.”
Levingston said Weaver will be signed in the next two days.
Norris, a 6-foot-3 personal trainer, is in great physical condition and wrapped up a four-year career at Dal in 2008, averaging 7.5 points per game. Head coach Les Berry said Norris would fit a “small-minute role” and Levingston likes Norris’s ability to “play defence” and “do the dirty work.”
But Norris won’t be signed just yet and will need to make the team at training camp starting Dec. 1 in Yarmouth.
“It would be like a dream come true to play ball for a professional team in my hometown,” Norris said.