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Riptide sign trio of Canadian forwards

Jahmal McQueen (centre) goes for a layup in a crowd in a game against Lithuania's premier team while playing at a tournament for the Toronto 3D Global Sports All-Canadian University Team in China in May 2016.
Photo Credit: Toronto 3D

The Saint John Riptide have announced they have signed three Canadian players for their upcoming training camp.

Saint John has added former Windsor Express small forward Jahmal McQueen, Hamilton, Ont. native Tyrel Edwards and Tiffin University product Darlington Osazuwa, according to a team-issued statement.

McQueen, a six-foot-seven forward and University of Windsor product, had originally been drafted fifth overall in the 2014-15 National Basketball League of Canada Draft by the then-Saint John Mill Rats. He was later traded to the Windsor Express that year. He went on to spend two years with the franchise, winning an NBLC championship that season.

With the Express, he averaged 1.8 points per game on 39 per cent shooting in 18 appearances in 2015-16.

“McQueen is a hard working small forward and can play the stretch 4 with his nice touch beyond the three,” said Riptide head coach and general manager Rob Spon in a written statement. “Everyone I talk to about Jahmal, including his coach last year Bill Jones, say the same thing, he is hardworking, plays tough defense and is relentless."

McQueen also recently played with the Toronto 3D Global Sports All-Canadian University Team in China. In May, he and nine other former or current CIS players took part in a tournament against the top athletes from the NBA Development League, the China National B team and a premier team from A Lyga in Lithuania:

Since then, two other players - Alex Campbell (Windsor Express) and Tramique Sutherland (Kitchener-Waterloo Titans) have signed with NBLC teams.

Teddy Tochev, president of Toronto 3D Global Sports, said he performed well in some of their games. In others, he said he struggled. Tochev said that while the talent is there, McQueen will be more successful in the league if he "slows down in his head."

"To have him back in NBL Canada kind of gives him a second chance and a new beginning to figure out, 'Hey, you have some serious work to put in and this is your chance to play,'" said Tochev. "Sometimes, especially at a young age, you got to realize that you have to really work hard and become humble and know that you really got to work on your game to get some chances ... and also progress as a player."

Edwards, a six-foot-five forward, had played junior college at Vincennes University, a powerhouse school in the National Junior College Athletic Association. He soon became a Top 100 player before playing in the NCAA at Canicus University and in the NAIA at Dalton State University.

The 24-year-old is also known for his athleticism, having won 12 slam dunk competitions over the past eight years:

Edwards is joining the Riptide after signing a letter of intent to play for the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds in May.

“Tyrel is raw and athletic. I am anxious to see him at camp in person and teach him the pro game,” said Spon. “Everybody talks how he jumps out of the gym, wins dunk contests, but I want to see him play the all-around game or have the potential to shoot off the dribble, shoot off screens, knock down the open three and defend the pick-and-roll, because then we found a diamond in the rough.”

Osazuwa is the last of the trio of Canadians. A Toronto native, the six-foot-eight small forward played with Tiffin University in Ohio. Osazuwa played one season with the Dragons, averaging 4.4 points per game and 1.9 rebounds per game in 2014-15, according to RealGM.

The Riptide will start their season Dec. 26 against the Island Storm.

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