Cape Breton Highlanders look to young guard to lead team
There's 'unfinished business' to be taken care of, says point guard Charles Mann
Charles Mann may just be 23, but the Cape Breton Highlanders are banking on the "mature beyond his years" point guard to help lead them to a league championship.
It's an ambitious plan. The Highlanders won only 15 of its 40 games and did not make the playoffs in their inaugural season.
"I feel like we came up short last year," said Mann, a native of Atlanta who is the only returning player from last season.
Under league rules, players can only be signed to one-year contracts, so it's not unusual for teams to have large turnover from season to season.
Mann said he accepts and embraces his role as a team leader. He said he'll seek advice from other guys on the team, many of whom will be older and have more pro experience than he does.
The 6'5" guard averaged 15 points per game last season and when he sunk foul shots last season, some fans at Centre 200 would shout "Oooohh, Mann."
Mann said there's "unfinished business" and he's excited the team will be guided by Rob Spon, who has 30 years of coaching experience. Spon formerly coached the Saint John Riptide, one of Cape Breton's division rivals in the National Basketball League of Canada.
General manager Tyrone Levingston said Mann is "mature beyond his years" and an important contributor to the community.
A fan favourite
"He never once turned down a school visit, autograph session or a business event," said Levingston.
Levingston said Mann is a fan favourite and he's already seen some kids sporting mohawks just like Mann has.
It's looking unlikely Mann will be sporting a similar do this year. When asked whether he'll sport the same hairstyle this season, he smiled and said he's going to switch it up.
'He's all business on the court'
Spon coached against Mann last year and is impressed with his work ethic.
"He's all business on the court," said Spon, noting that many young players lack his professionalism and sense of what makes for successful teamwork.
The Highlanders begin their second season on Nov. 21 at home when they take on the St. John's Edge, a new NBL team.