Under the Boards
Week-in-Review: – After going 2-1 so far, the Charge wrap up their five-game home stand this weekend against the L.A. Defenders – albeit with a reshaped roster.
Since we last checked in from Under the Boards, Canton has produced another NBA call-up (Shane Edwards) acquired three new players (Kyrylo Fesenko, William Buford and Re’mon Nelson) and, unfortunately, lost All-Star forward, Kevin Jones – who accepted a buyout and will suit up for the San Miguel Beermen of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) in the Philippines.
Edwards, who started 32 games for the Charge this season, was averaging 13.3 points and 5.5 boards before getting the call from Cleveland. The 6-7, 220-pounder joined the Cavaliers on Wednesday night in Phoenix but didn’t see action. To create room for Edwards, the Cavs released Arinze Onuaku from his second 10-day contract, which was set to expire on March 13, and he returned to Canton.Last weekend, the Charge made a pair of deals to nab a pair of players to restock the roster.
Former Ohio State standout William Buford was acquired in a four-team trade with the Santa Cruz Warriors. The 6-5, 215-pound Buford played in 32 games with Santa Cruz, averaging 9.1 points per contest. Buford – who spent last season playing in Spain – was a four-year letterman at Ohio State, starting 137 games for the Buckeyes from 2008-12.
In a separate deal, the Charge acquired center Kyrylo Fesenko from the Delaware 87ers. The Ukrainian seven-footer had played in 16 games for Delaware this year, averaging 7.3 points, 4.9 boards and 1.4 blocks per. Fesenko brings some substantial NBA experience – having played in 135 games over five seasons with the Utah Jazz and Indiana Pacers.
The Charge also re-acquired guard Re’mon Nelson, who was originally signed via open tryouts entering training camp before this season and played in 20 games, averaging 2.2 points in 9.9 minutes per game before being waived on February 12.
Kevin Jones, who played 32 games with the Cavaliers last season, was averaging 16.9 points and 8.0 boards with Canton this year. The Charge will retain his D-League rights for the next two seasons.
“We would like to thank Kevin for all of the hard work and dedication he showed over his two seasons here with the Charge,” said Mike Gansey, Cavs Director of D-League Operations. “He is a talented player, great person and we wish him the best of luck in his decision to go play overseas.”
With the roster re-set, the Charge tipped off their longest homestand of the season – beginning with last Saturday’s 118-110 win over Springfield.
In a back-and-forth affair that saw 14 lead-changes, the Charge took a nine-point lead into the third quarter and didn’t look back, staving off a Springfield run to improve to 24-15 on the season. Shane Edwards led Canton with 23 points and Cavaliers rookie Sergey Karasev added 21 in the win.
On Sunday afternoon, the Charge won their fourth straight home game, topping Sioux Falls – 108-99 – in front of 2,913 fans at the Memorial Civic Center.
Canton was scorching from the floor in the second half, shooting 73 percent and putting up 67 points on the Skyforce after intermission. The Charge dominated down low – scoring 62 points in the paint and out-rebounding Sioux Falls, 51-28.
Three Charge players notched double-doubles – led by Onuaku’s 28-point, 17-rebound effort. Will Cherry pitched in with 14 points and a season-high 10 assists and Olek Czyz came off the bench to add 16 points and 10 boards. One night after dropping a season-high 21 on Springfield, Sergey Karasev again eclipsed the mark by netting 23 points on 6-of-12 shooting, six rebounds and two assists in 39 minutes of action.
But Sioux Falls got their revenge on Tuesday night, topping Canton – 113-109.
Trailing by seven early in the fourth, the Charge fought back to tie the affair at 96-apiece. But Sioux Falls scored on seven of their final eight possessions to ice the win and take the season series, 2-1.
Olek Czyz led Canton with 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting and Will Cherry tallied his second straight double-double with 16 points and 10 assists, adding six boards and three steals. Shane Edwards and Gilbert Brown added 21 points apiece.
Did You Know: Kyrylo Fesenko wears a size 18 shoe, has a 7'4" wingspan and 9'4" standing reach (the same standing reach as former NBA top overall pick, Greg Oden).
They Said It: “It’s tough, but that’s part of professional basketball. You have to adjust on the fly with two new players coming in and playing with not having that much practice time. That’s just part of the business, but you can’t use that as an excuse. It does present a difficult situation, but we have to overcome that.”
-Charge forward Gilbert Brown on playing with a fluctuating roster over the past few games
Stat of the Week: The Charge continue to lead the league in categories on both ends of the floor – giving up just 100.1 points per contest, while pacing the D-League in shooting at 48.1 percent from the floor.
Look Ahead: – Canton wraps up its extended home stay with back-to-back matchups against Manny Harris and the Los Angeles Defenders. After the weekend, the Charge will play six of their final seven games on the road, beginning next Friday in Springfield.
Steve Hetzel’s squad comes into the weekend at 25-16, 0.5 games behind Fort Wayne for first place in the East Division. The Charge are 16-6 at home and currently sit in the fourth playoff spot.
The Defenders also boast three other top 30 prospects – guard Terrence Williams and forwards Shawne Williams and James Southerland.
The Charge will have their work cut out for them as L.A. comes to Canton ranked No. 1 in five major categories – field goals made per contest (43.8), field goals attempted (96.4), assist (25.5), steals (11.2) and turnovers (14).
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.