(Moncton, NB: January 9, 2018)
In today's "pace and space" world of professional basketball, anyone who can fill it up from the three point line is a more desirable commodity than ever. And if you're a Canadian with that skill, you can be an absolute luxury for teams in the NBLC. The Moncton Magic have addressed a major weakness with the addition of Scarborough, Ontario native and sharpshooter Jason Calliste. To make space on the roster, the Magic have released Ashanti Day and Calliste will be activated in time for Wednesday night's matchup with the Niagara River Lions.
The team is currently second from the bottom in the NBL in 3pt percentage at 42.6% and is eager to get another shooter in the lineup who can help them spread the floor and create space for their playmakers to operate. "His claim to fame is his ability to shoot the 3," says Magic coach Joe Salerno. "He's similar to Corey Allmond, giving us another perimeter threat, which is one of the areas we were looking to improve on."
Calliste played collegiality at the University of Oregon in the PAC-12 Conference, one of the best in NCAA Division 1. He transferred there after three successful seasons at the University of Detroit and had an outstanding senior season. He averaged 12.7 points on barely over 6 shots per game, an otherworldly level of efficiency. He shot over 87% from the line, 52% overall from the floor and over 50% from the three point line. Since then he has played in the NBA D League, now the G-League, as well as with KW in the NBLC, in Latvia and, until recently, the Spanish second division with LEB Gold. The Magic traded for his rights in the preseason in a deal that sent protected small forward Russell Byrd to the KW Titans. He originally signed in Spain, but he's back home in Canada. "He is a great addition for us," Salerno says, "and he gives us another experienced Canadian who can contribute on a nightly basis, along with Terry Thomas."
I asked Salerno where Calliste would fit in with the Magic's 2nd-ranked defence and he was not concerned. "He has good quickness, and is very long for 6'2". He has very high basketball IQ having played at Oregon, and in the D-League. He is very competitive, and has a desire to play, and win games. I think he will fit in well with us on the defensive end of the floor."
The Magic play on Wednesday evening at 7 PM at the Moncton Coliseum against the Niagara River Lions. Watch the game online live at monctonmagic.ca
Story by: Dave Tingley, Official Colour Commentator of the Magic
Photo Credit: KW Titians