Two-time NBL Canada Defensive Player of the Year to lead Magic
(Moncton, New Brunswick – July 28, 2017) The Magic has officially signed their first player in team history. Former NBL Canada All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Al Stewart, has agreed to play for the expansion team in its inaugural season.
Stewart, a 5’10” point guard, who hails from Chicago, Illinois, is no stranger when it comes to the National Basketball League of Canada. A former member of both the Island Storm and London Lightning, Stewart is second all-time in games played in the NBL Canada, having laced up for 187 contests spanning over the last six seasons. The veteran point guard is also quite familiar with newly acquired Magic Head Coach and GM of Player Operations, Joe Salerno, having played for Salerno for over six seasons, dating all the way back to the 2009-2010 season with the now defunct Vermont Frost Heaves of the Premier Basketball League in the United States.
“Al is a leader, a competitor, and a winner, three characteristics that are vital to an expansion franchise trying to build a solid foundation,” commented Salerno. “He was the first player I contacted once I learned he was not on a protected list. It was a no-brainer; he was the guy we wanted to start building a contender with.”
Stewart, a product of Drake University, an NCAA Division 1 program located in Des Moines, Iowa, was named the NBL Canada’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2011-12, as well as in 2012-13. He currently is still the only player in league history to win the award on two separate occasions. After appearing in three Atlantic Division Finals, and two NBL Canada Finals as a member of the Island Storm, the speedy playmaker finds his name scattered all over the league’s all-time records book, including first all-time in steals (350), second in assists (1,013), ninth in scoring (1,906), and ninth all-time in rebounds (825). The heady point guard says he is excited about the opportunity to join the Magic, and continue working with Salerno.
“I’m looking to bring a winning season to Greater Moncton. Coach and I go way back, and there isn’t another coach in the league I would want to play for. We’ve been close to winning a championship twice before, my goal is to make this the year,” stated Stewart. “It’s exciting. A new team, new city, new fans, everything is new, and I can’t wait to get up there and be part of it all.”
Salerno claims a player like Stewart is a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to putting a competitive team on the court.
“Al brings a presence to the locker room. When he speaks guys tend to listen, and take his lead. He always puts the team first, and has been a vital piece when it comes to team chemistry both on and off the court. We are very fortunate have him as part of our organization this season.”
More announcements about the team are expected in the coming weeks.
About MONCTON MAGIC Headquartered in Moncton, NB, the MONCTON MAGIC is a professional basketball organization that operates under a licensing agreement with the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC). The team will play its games in a two-conference league with clubs located in the Provinces of Ontario and Atlantic Canada.