From the day Eric Crookshank touched down in Halifax, he’s been talking about winning a championship.
After 2 1/2 years and 62 games in a Halifax Rainmen jersey â€” a stretch in which the high-flying Californian has played a vital role in establishing the franchise as one of the hottest tickets in town â€” he’s finally getting his opportunity.
“I’m hungry,” Crookshank said.
“The first year, there was really no structure for the playoffs. Last year, we were knockin’ on the door and couldn’t get in. This year, we got in at the last minute. I’m blown away.”
With the six-foot-seven Crookshank playing the best basketball of his career, the fourth-seeded Rainmen host the first-place Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Metro Centre in Game 1 of the Premier Basketball League best-of-three semifinal. It’s the first playoff game in Rainmen history.
The Rainmen missed the PBL playoffs last year and quit the American Basketball Association in 2007-08 before the post-season began.
The Cavalry are a formidable foe, but the Rainmen are one of just two teams that have managed to beat the former Continental Basketball Association powerhouse.
Both the PBL semifinal and final are best-of-three series.
“All we have to do is win four out of six games to win a championship,” Crookshank said.
“That’s all you’ve got to do. We can do that.”
The 31-year-old has been unofficially anointed the Rainmen’s team MVP by owner Andre Levingston after averaging 14.4 points, 13.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 19 games this season. It’s no secret Crookshank â€” self-dubbed Air Canada â€” relishes the spotlight.
It will be certainly centred on him more than ever before when the opening tip-off goes up tomorrow.
“Every possession counts in the playoffs,” Crookshank said.
“This is what I like: the bright lights. When the lights are bright, I perform.”
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