Under the Boards
Week-in-Review: Starting this weekend, the Charge tip off a five-game homestand. But the team that takes the floor will be different than the one that did just two weeks ago – thanks in-part to a pair of NBA assignments.
The first assignment originally took place back on February 22, when the Cavaliers called up Charge big man and D-League All-Star, Arinze Onuaku, who had averaged 14.4 points and 9.7 boards in 27 games with Canton this season. On March 4, the Wine and Gold inked Arinze to his second 10-day deal.
On March 6, the Charge saw their versatile point guard, Jorge Gutierrez, sign a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets – who he played with in Training Camp this past fall, averaging 1.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in five preseason contests before being waived on Oct. 26
The do-it-all Gutierrez averaged 13.9 points, 5.7 boards, 6.9 assists and 1.2 steals for the Charge this season. The former Pac-12 Player of the Year will be coached by fellow former Cal Golden Bear, Nets head coach Jason Kidd.
Also this week, the Cavaliers once again assigned swingman, Sergey Karasev, to the Charge. The Russian rookie has appeared in 12 games with Canton this season and has averaged 13.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals in 30.0 minutes per contest.
On the floor, the Charge split a pair last weekend – topping Maine on Friday night before falling to Springfield on Sunday.
On Friday night, Kevin Jones notched his ninth double-double of the season, tying his season-high with 26 points to go with 11 boards (one night after going for 26 and 15 against Maine). The Charge improved to 17-3 on the season when holding an opponent under 100 points, forcing 25 turnovers en route to the 109-91 win. Jorge Gutierrez also doubled-up in the win with 14 points and 13 helpers.
On Sunday at the MassMutual Center, the Charge wrapped up their three-game trip with a 110-97 loss to the Springfield Armor.
After a back-and-forth first half, Canton fell behind in the third quarter. Steve Hetzel’s squad got to within a point, 89-88, with 7:37 to play, but Springfield outscored the Charge 21-9 the rest of the way to hand Canton its 15th loss of the season.
Kevin Jones posted his fifth straight double-double with 24 points and 17 boards. Shane Edwards added 24 points and seven rebounds and Jorge Gutierrez pitched with 13 points, nine assists and eight boards.
Even with the loss, the Charge (23-15) hold a 4-2 edge over Springfield in the season series – with a home meeting for each squad remaining on the schedule.
Did You Know: With his call-up to the Nets, 25-year-old Jorge Gutierrez – a native of Chihuahua, Mexico – will become just the fourth player from Mexico to reach the NBA.
They Said It: “We couldn't be prouder of Arinze and Jorge getting called up. It's the reason these guys are here: to get better individually and to progress their careers. Seeing guys like that get called up also affirms the work our team has been putting in all year long. We have capable guys here in Canton who will embrace the change, will adjust and continue to play at the high level.”
-Charge Head Coach Steve Hetzel on the Charge sending two players to the NBA over the past couple weeks
Stat of the Week: In his last five games – all double-doubles – Kevin Jones is averaging 24.4 points and 13.6 boards per contest.
Look Ahead: The Charge (23-15) open their five-game homestand this weekend, beginning on Saturday afternoon when they take on Springfield at 1 p.m. at the Memorial Civic Center.
The Charge enter the weekend in second-place in the East Division, 1.5 games behind the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Springfield currently sits fourth in the East, seven full games behind Canton. The Charge have one more meeting with Springfield this season after Saturday’s game (March 21).
After taking on Springfield, the Charge welcome Sioux Falls to Canton for a pair – on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. and Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The Skyforce is led by Trey Kelley (19 ppg), Larry Drew II (10 ppg, 6.5 apg) and Anthony Mason Jr., who dropped 27 points on Erie earlier this week.
Next weekend, the Charge host Manny Harris and the L.A. Defenders for a back-to-back on Friday and Saturday night, and we’ll preview the final two games of the homestand in next week’s Under the Boards.
As for this weekend’s action, as always, fans can follow all of the action with play-by-play man Scott Zurilla, along with live stats and a live YouTube stream of the game on CantonCharge.com.