By: Steven Loung
The Oshawa Power finished just a few games back of the St. John Mill Rats for that fourth and final playoff spot and with them winning five of their last seven contests they definitely appear to be a team on the rise.
However, things weren’t always going as smoothly for the Power as the final standings might indicate.
For the first 19 games of the season Oshawa was a pedestrian 6-13, but in those last 17 contests they turned their fortunes around completely, going 9-8, and the biggest reason for that change was the decision to bring in former Duke Blue Devil point guard Robert Brickey as the team’s new head coach.
At first Brickey was struggling, losing five of his first seven games, but, as he said in a recent telephone conversation, “[he] had to learn a lot of things on the fly. There was a lot to learn in a short amount of time and [he] had to get to know [his] team and personnel, what they do well, what they don’t do well and how to put them into a position to make them successful.”
Once he was able to do that Brickey found the success he was looking for and helped to spark the sudden streak of wins that the Power started to rack up late in the season.
In addition to getting to know his own team, Brickey also had to get used to the level of competition that the NBL Canada offered and it was one of things that he said he has enjoyed about the league.
“I was very impressed with how well organized the league was as well as the level of competition in the league,” the Oshawa coach said. “There are really good players in the league and for a first-year organization I think it did a good job of bringing talent and an exciting brand of basketball to Canada.”
The community work that the NBL Canada has been involved in was another aspect of the league that Brickey enjoyed, particularly because of what he believes his players can get out of the various activities.
“I always told [my team] that this is a part of life,” he said. “This is preparation for the next thing after basketball. You’re going to have to talk to people in whatever field you choose and you have to be comfortable talking to many different people on a variety of levels.”
In spite of having a coach come in midway through the season, Oshawa still almost made it to the postseason and that’s why Durham region’s team definitely had a successful opening season.