Under the Boards
Week-in-Review: It was another busy week for the Charge and most – but not all – of the news was good.
On the hardwood, Canton split a pair in Delaware last weekend and have a big East Division home-and-home back-to-back with Fort Wayne scheduled for this weekend. Off the hardwood, the Charge made another trade, had their coaching staff honored and – along with their parent club – saw a promising youngster sidelined with an injury.
Last weekend, Canton traveled to face the expansion Delaware 87ers. After taking an early lead on Friday, the Charge fell behind by double-digits and never found their footing, falling, 109-99. Arinze Onuaku returned to notch his fifth double-double of the season with 15 points, 12 boards and three blocked shots. Cavalier assignees, Carrick Felix and Serge Karasev added 14 and 12 points respectively – combining to hit 10 of 16 shots from the floor.
On Saturday night, Canton bounced back to get the win – but it wasn’t easy. In the first half, Delaware shot 63 percent from the floor and led the Charge by 13 at intermission. But in the second half, Canton closed the final two periods on big runs – 20-7 to end the third and 16-0 to end the game – and took home the 98-85 win. Kevin Jones doubled-up for the sixth time this season with 24 points and 10 boards.
Karasev added 16 points and seven boards; Felix notched 10 points, six assists, three blocks and a pair of steals before leaving the game in the fourth quarter.
After the game, an MRI revealed that Felix had suffered a left patellar stress fracture and will be sidelined for six to eight weeks. The swingman from Arizona State was averaging 11.0 points and 5.2 boards in nine games with Canton this year.
By midweek, the Charge were wheeling and dealing again, acquiring 6-8, 250-pound forward Steve Weingarten from the Delaware 87ers in exchange for forward Michael Lee and guard Bo Spencer.
Weingarten had played in 21 games with Delaware this season, averaging 8.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per contest. Before coming to the D-League, Weingarten played for the Goldfield Giants of the SBL in Australia and was a three-year letterman at La Salle University (2008-11).
Finally, the Charge’s coaching staff was honored this week with a ticket to the Big Easy, where Steve Hetzel and his staff will coach in the D-League All-Star Game (February 15, 3 p.m. ET on NBA TV) in New Orleans later this month – winning a tiebreaker with Iowa for the second-best record in the D-League entering the week.
The D-League divides the 20-man All-Star roster, which will be announced at a later date, into a Futures team and a Prospects team. Hetzel – who’ll be joined by lead assistant Jordi Fernandez, trainer Michael Gittinger (and perhaps assistants, James Posey and Nate Reinking – will coach the Futures.
Did You Know: Carrick Felix’ first love wasn’t basketball, it was skateboarding. “I started skateboarding, shoot, I can’t even remember when – maybe fifth grade or something like that,” admitted Felix earlier this season. “And I did it all the way up until probably sophomore year in high school. That was actually my first love; I didn’t like basketball at all. (People hate me when I say that, but I didn’t.)”
They Said It: “He adds another ball handler, another guy that knows how to play – a tough-minded kid, a defender. With how we defend, I think he's going to fit in well."
- Cavaliers Director of D-League Operations Mike Gansey on guard Ben Uzoh, who the Charge acquired from Tulsa last week
Stat of the Week: The Charge are holding opponents to 98.4 points per game while shooting .477 from the floor – ranking them No. 1 in the D-League in both categories.
Look Ahead: The Charge come into the weekend at 16-9 overall, 7-6 on the road and 6-4 over their last 10. They remain in the top spot in the East Division, just one game ahead of Fort Wayne, who they face twice this weekend.
Fort Wayne leads the season series, 2-1, but the Charge won the last meeting – 120-99 on January 22 in Canton, setting a franchise record in field goal percentage (61 pct) and a season-high in scoring.
The back-to-back features some of the D-League’s top performers. Arinze Onuaku is 2nd in field goal percentage, Jorge Gutierrez is 5th in assists and Gilbert Brown is 7th in 3-pt field goal shooting. For Fort Wayne, Ron Howard is 5th in scoring and Sadiel Rojas is 8th in steals per contest.
Next Tuesday, the Charge host last year’s D-League champs, the Austin Toros, and on Thursday, welcome the Maine Red Claws for an 11 a.m. start at the Civic Center.
Fans can follow all of the action with live stats and a live YouTube stream of the game on CantonCharge.com.