The Halifax Rainmen are whipping DeAndre Thomas into shape and their new big man isn’t putting up a fuss.

The six-foot-eight, 320-pound centre, who signed last Thursday and made his Rainmen debut on Sunday, has hit the treadmill before practices, done extra wind sprints after practices, and even ran the stairs at the Metro Centre.

Conditioning is not Thomas’s forte, but the Rainmen strongly believe he can be the best post player in the Premier Basketball League with the proper fitness and coaching.

“I’m approaching (training) like I approach everything else,” Thomas said.

“I go in, do what I’ve got to do, and I don’t complain about nothin’ because I want to get better.”

Thomas said he is in “OK shape, but can get into better shape.”

The Chicago native’s presence, along with that of six-foot-11 veteran Marc Mazur, is critical as the Rainmen, 3-1, embark on a pivotal four-game stretch beginning Friday at 7 p.m. at the Metro Centre against the Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry.

The Cavalry, 3-1, are considered one of the PBL’s top three teams along with Puerto Rico and Rochester. They beat the Rainmen by 15 points in the season-opener in Oklahoma, but Thomas and Mazur weren’t on the roster then.

“We got pushed around down there,” said Rainmen owner Andre Levingston. “They had a big fella who was just movin’ dudes out of the way. They ain’t movin’ DeAndre.”

Although Halifax has won three straight, those wins came against teams with a combined one win in eight tries.

Results against Lawton-Fort Sill, as well as Puerto Rico and Rochester, will show whether Halifax is a contender or a pretender.

The Rainmen have had 18 players on their roster so far this season, but they’re hoping to have some stability now and build some momentum during this critical stretch.

“We’re getting better and better every game,” said Rainmen top scorer Tony Bennett. “We’re putting the right pieces together and trying to work for a championship.”

Roster moves
The Halifax Rainmen cut two players on Thursday and traded for Manchester Millrats forward Marlowe Currie. The Rainmen released forward Gordon Malone and guard Antwan Dobie and picked up the six-foot-seven Currie for a 2011 second-round draft choice and future considerations. Currie is a good shooter who has averaged more than 10 points per game the past two seasons with the Millrats. “We just needed a more versatile guy at the four spot,” said Rainmen owner Andre Levingston. “We need a guy with more of a skill-set coming off the bench. He can step out and hit the three so he’s a mismatch for a lot of other forwards.” Malone had averaged 7.5 points per game. Dobie signed last week and only played three minutes of one game.

– For more of Matthew Wuest’s coverage of the Halifax Rainmen, follow @metrorainmen on Twitter.