WINDSOR, Ontario — The Saint John Riptide used their three NBL Canada first-round picks to add two former NBA G- League players and one proven collegiate Canadian standout. They added an inside-out veteran presence with the final pick in the second round.
Saint John had two extra first-round picks as a result of previous trades with Niagara and St. John’s Edge. They used their four total picks to draft Brent Arrington, Gabe McCray, Darnell Landon and David Atkinson.
“We are excited by the level of talent on display at the NBL Combine. We really felt like we were able to strengthen our training camp roster, and look forward to adding Brent, Gabe, Darnell and Ryan to the Riptide Family,” head coach and general manager Nelson Terroba said.
Arrington, a 6-3, combo guard, had a stint with the Greensboro Swarm last year and also played in Hungary where he averaged 12 ppg, 3.5 assists per game, and 5 rpg. The Baltimore, Maryland, native graduated from Morehead State, where he started every game in his last two seasons. He was chosen as the 4th pick of the first round.
“Brent is tough. He can get downhill. He is strong enough to create space and finish in a crowd, and he is a phenomenal leader. His energy is always off the charts. He is an extremely effective defender on and off the ball and also helps rebound,” Terroba said.
“I am blessed and thankful to have been drafted by the Riptide,” Arrington said. “I’d like to thank Coach Terroba, Team President Scott VanWart, and the Riptide ownership for drafting me and providing me with this amazing opportunity. I look forward to working with the coaching staff and my teammates to bring a championship to the Riptide fans. Let’s get it started! Go Riptide!”
With the fifth pick, the Riptide choose Woodbridge, Ontario, native Darnell Landon, who played at Mayville State, where he shot over 53% from the field as a guard, including 45% from the three-point line, while averaging 10.5 points per game. The 6-3 guard is known by his college coaches as a tenacious defender, rebounder and shooter.
“Everyone we talked to about Darnell, talked about what a gym rat he is. We feel like he is just the type of player who will fit into our culture and grow daily,” Terroba said. “All signs point to Darnell being an eager learner and competitor.”
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Landon said. “I’m super excited to be a part of the Riptide. I look forward to work hard and be a contributor to the success of the organization.”
With the sixth pick, Saint John selected Gabe McCray, a 6-7, 215-lb stretch 4 who attended Westchester Knicks training camp for the NBA G League in 2016. From there, McCray played in Germany and finished the year in the United Kingdom, where he averaged 14.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, while shooting 38.2% from 3-point line.
“We liked Gabe’s ability to stretch the floor and also make plays off the bounce and at the rim,” Terroba said. “He showed an ability to finish with both hands, stretch the floor, and also defend multiple positions.”
McCray really enjoyed his experience at the NBL Combine.
“My experience was great. The drills were a good way to show your skill-set and then the 5 on 5 games were very intense and competitive,” McCray said. “ I’m thankful for the opportunity and very excited to be a part of the Saint John Riptide! I’m willing to do whatever it takes to win basketball games.”
With their final pick of the draft, the Riptide selected David Atkinson, a 6-8 forward out of McAllen, Texas, who attend Salem International for college. He has played in Great Britain and Spain most recently, where he averaged 18.4 points per game, while shooting 44% from the field. He also pulled down 4.6 rebounds per game.
“We think David showed an ability to play physical and tough inside, while also being able to stretch the floor,” Terroba said. “We are excited about each of these players joining our team. We think each of them brings unique value to our team, and we think they will love the Saint John community and their teammates.”
“I’ve played in China and Spain for the past 3 years professionally,” Atkinson said. “I enjoy learning and taking in everything that I can get from the game of basketball from playing all over the world. I am extremely blessed to get a chance to play close to home.”
More than 120 athletes took place in the 2-day event in Windsor, Ontario.
“We want to thank the Windsor Express for their hard work in helping to organize the event,” Terroba said. “Their hard work allowed all teams and all of these players a chance to improve themselves.”