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St. Catharines – The Niagara River Lions announced today that they have signed former Windsor Express forward, Chris Commons.
The 6-foot-9, 220-pound Commons was protected by the Express at the end of the 2015-16 National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC) Season. As a protected player, no team could approach Commons until the November 1league deadline. At the start of October, the Express chose to cut ties with the club’s longest-serving player by trading his rights to the Saint John Riptide.
After yesterday’s deadline, River Lions Head Coach Grâce Lokole began contract negotiations with Commons. The Saint John Riptide had 48 hours to match the offer, but declined, sending Commons to Niagara for the 2016-17 Season.
“Chris brings a great deal of league experience to our young program, he’s one of the best scorers in league history and boasts a great deal of playoff experience. As a coach I am extremely excited to have Chris’ offensive abilities especially leading games. I think him and Sammy Zeglinski are going to develop great on court chemistry. Chris also adds to the group of veterans we brought in this off-season” said Head Coach, Grâce Lokole.
During the 2015-16 Season, 31-year old Commons was seventh in league scoring, averaging 18.3 points per game. The Forward was ninth in rebounding, averaging 6.8 per game. During his four seasons with the Express Commons scored over 3,100 points and pulled down over 1,100 rebounds in 180 games. Highlighting Commons’ resume were his two back-to-back NBLC titles.
Hailing from Toledo, Ohio, Commons will join former Express teammate, Kirk Williams Jr. in Niagara. “I’m very excited and proud to join the Niagara River Lions. I saw the hard work and dedication from the organization and team in their opening season. I’m just ready to give what I can to the organization and the fans in their quest for an NBL Championship,” said Commons.
In addition to being an NBL veteran, Chris brings extensive international experience to the River Lions. Commons initially competed at the collegiate level for the University of Findlay before transferring to the University of South Carolina Aiken where he played in the NCAA Division II and earned all-league honours. After college, Commons joined Al Ittihad in Bahrain, then played with BSV Wulfen in Germany. In 2010 he played for the Brunei Barracudas in Southeast Asia. He returned home to the USA in 2011 to compete for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Steamers, while finishing the season by signing with the Finnish club of Korikobrat.
President and General Manager, Jeffrey Sotiriou commented, “It is a privilege to be able to add a player to our roster with as much league experience as Chris. He will no doubt step into a leadership role on our team so we are thrilled to welcome him to Niagara.”
Today marked the first day of training for the River Lions as they get set for the November 9 exhibition game versus the Raptors 905 in an exclusive exhibition game presented by The BOLDT Team Re/Max Garden City Realty Inc. and in support of the Wise Guys Charity Fund.