The Halifax Rainmen made sure to shield their best assets when they submitted their five-man protected list to the Premier Basketball League earlier this month.

The Rainmen, who were able to retain exclusive negotiating rights to as many as five players, designated all-stars and starters Gary Ervin, Eric Crookshank, Tony Bennett, and Desmond Ferguson, as well as point guard Adris DeLeon, who left the team halfway through last season to train with the Dominican Republic national team.

“These are guys we’d like to have back,” Rainmen owner Andre Levingston said.

While it’s no shock the Rainmen protected their four all-stars, DeLeon’s name was somewhat of a surprise. The six-foot speedster averaged 9.2 points in 10 games as a backup with the Rainmen and showed flashes of brilliance.

He was called the “face of New York City streetball” by the New York Post earlier this month and is turning heads this summer on the Dyckman courts in Manhattan.

“He’s getting better, he looks stronger, and playing with his national team gave him a lot of confidence,” Levingston said.

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