MISSISSAUGA,ON–A new standard has been set for the Mississauga Power of the National Basketball League of Canada (NBL). Changes have been made in nearly the entire roster, the team’s coaching staff and most importantly the culture surrounding the Power.
Yesterday the Mississauga Power introduced a roster consisting of high caliber players with experience stemming from the highest of NCAA levels (i.e, ACC, BIG12), NAIA, professionally in Europe and from at home in the NBL.
“When we were picking the team, we based it solely on character and work ethic. From there, we knew that if we had guys with the same mindset we could create the foundation for cultural change.”
The words of Head Coach Kyle Julius after morning practice.
Once practice was complete at 11:00 am on Wednesday morning, Coach Julius had made his way out of the practice facility at the Hershey Centre, and as I stuck around to get to know some of the new guys on the roster, seven players remained on the court getting shots up and running sprints.
Former Kansas standout, Travis Releford was one of the guys to stay after practice to get in his reps with shooting partner Alex Johnson.
At Kansas, Releford became accustomed to winning and knew what type of routine was necessary to maintain the level of success that he had as a Jayhawk.
Now in Mississauga, the mentality remains the same.
“I’ve only been here for a week and it’s obvious that everyone here has a good understanding of what is expected and what it’s going to take to be successful, and that’s important when we’re building chemistry.”
He continues, “Since I arrived a week ago, the chemistry that we’ve built has been tremendous. I’m opening up to the guys and we’re trusting each other.”
Releford is coming off of a season in Belgium where he played for Okapi Aallstar and sees this year as an opportunity to expand on his skill set and get more comfortable as a shooting guard as he continues to strive toward the NBA.
Alex Johnson is the only returning piece for the Power and he attested in a post-practice that this type of commitment from the team, towards development, wasn’t there in his first year.
“The environment that Coach Kyle has brought in really changed things. Those who know him, know that he is a no non-sense type of guy and that attitude has really brought the guys together.”
Excellence is rooted in the attitude that one has towards their goals. The guys on this roster all have similar thoughts regarding expectations for this team–a NBLC Championship.
One might say that it’s a far-fetched train of thought, but this unit believes that this year’s Mississauga Power is going to make a stamp on the league.
Former York University stud, Tut Ruach spoke on the upcoming Saturday evening game against the Power’s neighboring opposition, the Brampton A’s.
“I’ve seen them play throughout the summer and have a feel what their team is like.”
“It’s going to be all business on Saturday. Yeah, I got friends on the other team but once we step on the floor it’s a war.”
Tone and expectation was reiterated regardless of who was interviewed, but Ruach summed it up well.
“We’re going to put people on notice, we’re not just talking about being good, we’re actually going to be real good.”
“Our team has a lot of guys that can score in large amounts. The versatility of our pieces is what’s going to give people a lot of issues.”
As the season gets underway this Saturday in Brampton against the A’s, the only way is up. The Power finished in last place, last season but many changes have been made since.
From the structure of practices, to player development, coaching staff and team personnel; there has been a major face lift internally and the 2014-2015 Mississauga Power look to turn things around for the franchise.
Coach Julius is nowhere near satisfied.
“We cut a lot of really good players to come up with this roster and myself and the staff are happy with the outcome. We’ll see how good training camp really was when we play in Brampton this Saturday.”