The Saskatchewan Rattlers are gearing up for the 2023 Canadian Elite Basketball (CABLE) season.
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Training camp is set for May 23 with the regular season beginning on May 31 at SaskTel Centre.
Players, coaches and management are excited for the upcoming season as they look to improve on last year when the team had a league-best home record.
“We have a great roster coming together, a game day experience plan in the works, and we have ticket holders, buying them up. The attendance looking really great, and everything coming together nicely,” said general manager Brad Kraft.
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The team has many new faces, as only four players are returning from last year’s team. Those include D’Andre Bernand, Malik Benlevi, Anthony Tsegakele, and Mike Nuga. They are hoping to bring the rest of the team up and carry the momentum from last season where the team finished the regular season with a record of 11-9 (8-2 at home). They lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Scarborough Shooting Stars.
Returning forward and vet D’Andre Bernard is entering his third season with the team.
“I’m looking forward to it. We had a really good group and year last year, looking to add it to. It’s all about team success. We want to make the playoffs and bring a championship back to Saskatchewan,” said Bernard.
Assistant coach Tanner Massey is excited to get back to Saskatoon for training camp and build on last year with the staff and returning coach Dean Demopoulos.
“We have a really good group of men first and players second. Getting back to the coaching staff and Barry (Rawlyk), they are really fun to be around,” said Massey.
The coaching staff is also excited to be coming back to the Snake Pit at SaskTel Centre and the atmosphere from the fans.
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Roster turnover is something every team in the CEBL faces. That’s just how the league works. Kraft says reshaping a roster with new players and having them sign is more than just having them sign on the dotted line.
“You find those characteristics in those people in relationship building with them. That’s what you want to build your roster around those characteristics similar to the minds of those in the province, those you will get the most return on investment from,” added Kraft.
The goal is simple: bring the second championship back to Saskatoon in the league’s fifth season.
“The success is the most important thing. For us, for myself, I want to see us hold a championship up at the end of the season,” added Bernard.
“Everyone wants to win a championship. It starts with making the playoffs. Then setting your goals high and competing for a championship,” Massey said.
The new players at this point include Julian Roche, Isaac Simon, Drake Jeffries, and Jermel Kennedy.
The Rattlers season begins on May 31 vs the Vancouver Bandits. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at SaskTel Centre.
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