Rainmen seeking talent – Metro US

Rainmen seeking talent

The Halifax Rainmen are willing to give a serious look to anybody who’s serious about playing for them.

The Rainmen are holding an open tryout on Sunday at Citadel High School as they look to round out their 12-man roster for the 2010 Premier Basketball League season.

Last year, the Rainmen took long looks at local talents such as Mark Ross, Demar Parsons, Tremel Beals and Nathan Clarke, but ultimately opted against signing any of them.

“We had guys last year we were interested in signing but they didn’t take the opportunity seriously so we didn’t,” Rainmen owner Andre Levingston said. “This is not some ‘gimme’ job to get paid to play basketball. I’m not going to give somebody money just because they’re from Halifax. We’re looking for guys who are committed to improving as basketball players.”

With the season two and a half months away, there aren’t many spots up for grabs. The Rainmen have signed seven players, with two more — returnees Eric Crookshank and John Strickland — likely being announced this week.

That should leave three roster spots up for grabs, although Levingston said he intends to bring as many as 15 players to training camp starting Dec. 1 in Yarmouth.

Levingston has extended open-tryout invitations to Toronto’s Jevohn Shepherd, who just wrapped up a four-year NCAA Division I career as a depth player with the Michigan Wolverines, and Garry Gallimore, a former St. Francis Xavier X-Men standout and national developmental team member.

“Those are guys we’ve shown interest in,” he said, “but you never really know who’s going to show up.”

The Rainmen have had two local players — Halifax’s Dennie Oliver and North Preston’s Derico Wigginton — in their two-year history. Both played in the team’s inaugural campaign in the American Basketball Association in 2007-08.

Rainmen newcomers Jason McLeish and Desmond Ferguson, along with returnees Strickland, Crookshank and Tony Bennett, will be in town this weekend. They’ll be doing promotional photo shoots and attending Sunday’s tryout.

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