For Metro/Andrew Sercombe Jamar Abrams of the London Lightning is introduced to the fans and media Wednesday afternoon at a news conference at Covent Garden Market. The Lightning, fresh off a championship season last year, open their preseason Thursday night at 7 p.m.) at Budweiser Gardens against the Windsor Express.

The London Lightning have set their sights on a second NBL championship. Coach Micheal Ray Richardson was not shy Wednesday about how he felt this year’s team would fare against the competition.

“The goal is to win a championship,” Richardson said. “We are going to do just that. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think it was possible to win it all.”

Preparing for their first preseason game against Windsor, Richardson believes a strong training camp these past few weeks has equipped his team to win.

“I am really happy with this year’s team. We are more athletic, and we will be able to get up and down the court better,” he said. “If we stay healthy, and really focus on winning our home games, we will go a long way.”

Making the team out of camp this year is new 6-foot-3 guard Josh Whyte. A native of Calgary, Whyte was named CIS MVP in 2010 while playing for the University of British Columbia. Last year after graduating from UBC, Whyte played for his hometown Calgary Crush of the American Basketball Association. This year, he hopes to find a new home with the Lightning.

“The level of competition is a step up here playing professional basketball,” said Whyte. “The first week of training camp was intense, but the team is much more structured than anything I’ve been used to, and that will be beneficial to me. It will keep me focused.”

The team begins pre-season Thursday against the Windsor Express at Bud Gardens. The Lightning open their regular season at home Saturday, Nov. 3, against the Halifax Rainmen.

“Coach has been vocal with what the goal is this year, and that is to win a championship,” said Whyte. “This year is a new group of guys, but we still have that one common goal.”

The Lightning introduced their 13-man roster Wednesday:

Josh Whyte 6-foot-3 guard
Deanthony Bowden, 6-foot-1 guard
Elvin Mims, 6-foot-5 forward
Tyler Murray, 6-foot-5 guard
Gabe Freeman, 6-foot-6 forward
Adrian Moss, 5-foot-9 point guard
Dane Smith, 6-foot-3 guard
Jamar Abrams, 6-foot-6 swingman
Morgan Lewis, 6-foot-4 forward
Tim Ellis, 6-foot-4 guard
Rodney Buford, 6-foot-3 guard
Jeremy Williams, 6-foot-7 small forward
Deandre Thomas, 6-foot-8 center

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