HALIFAX, NS – This past summer, Alex Carson took his first step into professional basketball with the Edmonton Stingers of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), but he didn’t have to do it alone.
After months apart following his graduation, the move to the Stingers offered Carson an opportunity to reunite with former Tigers teammate Sascha Kappos.
Having played in Florida, Halifax, Edmonton and Greece, Kappos is not new to moving around to new places. Having a familiar face to greet Carson only helped his transition. “Going into the situation, he’s already on that team (Edmonton Stingers) before, so he told me what to expect in terms of coaches and players and the organization as a whole,” Carson said.
It was more than just basketball though. A third opportunity for Carson and Kappos to play together meant a chance to continue to build their friendship. “Any chance I can play with former teammates or current teammates, it’s always a fantastic chance to grow that bond and me and Alex have always been close,” Kappos said.
On the court, Carson faced off with guarding Xavier Moon in practices. Moon, a three-time Most Valuable Player of the CEBL came off of an impressive season where he averaged 23.1 points per game on shooting splits of 53.4/51.3/91.4 during the 2020-21 regular season.
“He’s the best that’s been in the league so far. I mean he’s awesome to play against and play with but being able to guard guys like him and Adika (Peter-McNeilly), (Mathieu) Kamba. The guards we have on our team (Edmonton Stingers) are all just so good that it was good for me to work on my quickness and guarding guys with that skill set and that athleticism,” Carson said.
“Guarding guys like that (Moon) just kind of slows everything down when I come back to U Sports to guard guards at this level. It’s definitely a great experience for me to guard guys like that every day and learn from them. Definitely, definitely paid off,”
Kappos, having watched Carson guard Moon in practice, says the experience will only grow Carson’s game.
“He (Carson) did that (guard Moon) because he wanted to get as better, as he possibly could at various aspects of the game. He’s a fantastic shooter and scorer, and he took that chance this summer to work on different aspects of his game,” Kappos said.
Heading into the 2021 season with Dalhousie, Carson sees himself as a potential leader on the court for the Tigers. “I had that experience this summer, being the new guy and the young player. I was that player coming into university, but it’s been a fresher feeling, and I can kind of relate to our young guys and the new life they’re living.” Carson said.
“They have a new place or staying at a new school, new classes, new team, new environment; that’s what I felt in the summer, and that’s what they’re probably feeling here.”
Keevan Veinot of the Dalhousie Tigers also played in the CEBL this past summer for the Hamilton Honey Badgers.
According to Kappos, Carson’s and Veinot’s experiences playing professional basketball can be looked to for positively influencing the Tiger’s winning culture. “The culture could change in a positive way, but I think all in all they’re bringing different aspects that they can share and learn with a team that will make the environment that much better,” Kappos said.
“I think coming back from a new league (CEBL) that high of a level they’ll bring in a great sense of the leadership, as well as confidence and helping explain various reads and reactions to something,” Kappos said. “I think that they’ll answer a ton of questions that these young kids will have in their first years, and they’ll be great role models to keep that Dalhousie winning environment they have there, and they’ll just keep it going and pass on down that torch.”