The Halifax Rainmen have secured the services of the National Basketball League of Canada’s top homegrown talent.
Joey Haywood, the league’s Canadian of the year last season, was re-signed by the club on Monday. The six-foot guard and former Saint Mary’s Huskies star from Vancouver was second in Rainmen scoring in 2011-12 with 13.9 points per game.
“He was a priority — a lot of other teams in the league were interested in Joey,” said Rainmen owner Andre Levingston, who put Haywood on his five-man protected list in May.
“He was a focal point of our success last year and will be this year as well.”
Haywood, who was also a second-team all-defence selection and an all-star captain, is the Rainmen’s first signing of the off-season.
The team also acquired reigning league scoring champion Brandon Robinson from the Oshawa Power for cash and a draft pick; traded second-team all-star Tyrone Levett to the Moncton Miracles for a draft pick; opted not to re-sign long-time Rainmen forward Eric Crookshank; and parted ways with Halifax native Christian Upshaw.
Haywood fills one of three Canadian spots required under NBL Canada rules.
“First and foremost, he’s just an unbelievable young man and a good character guy and a great teammate,” Levingston said. “We feel he’s a guy who can help bring us a championship.”
The Rainmen open the NBL Canada season on Nov. 2.