My 11 year old son, Zack, and I attended your game Sunday afternoon at the Metro Center. I wanted to take a moment and tell you how impressed I was with Eric Crookshank.

We bought our tickets and were waiting for the doors to open when Eric Crookshank came through the Box Office area. Eric stopped and spoke to many of the kids who were in the area, including my son.  Zack was wearing an autographed Crookshank jersey that we bought last year at a school auction. Eric saw the jersey and took the time to come over and talk to Zack and I.  Zack was thrilled that he had the opportunity to say Hi to Eric and shake his hand.

A few moments later Eric came back, asked where we were sitting and told Zack and I he was going to get us floor seats. Eric took us through security and had one of the staff arrange seats for us on the floor. Just as Eric was about to walk away he told Zack to keep an eye out because he was going to point at him after he made his first dunk in the game. Just prior to the end of the first half Eric made a great shot that sent him to the foul line. As he stood at the foul line he looked over at Zack with a big smile and pointed at him. The smile on Zack’s face was priceless as he pointed back at Eric. Zack was shocked that Eric remembered.

It was great to see an athlete of Eric’s calibre take the time to stop, talk with the young kids and make them feel special. Eric is a great ambassador for your team and made a great impression on my son.

Zack couldn’t wait to go to school today and tell all of his friends what happened at the game, and he has already asked me if we can get season tickets for next year.

I look forward to seeing the Rainmen back in Halifax again next season, and we’ll definitely be purchasing season tickets.

Best regards,

Pat Skerry


02/03/2009 8:20 AM - The owner of the Halifax Rainmen, Andre Levingston announced today the release of Head Coach and GM Rick Lewis, effectively immediately. “After our weekend performance I knew it was time for a change,” said Levingston. “I want to thank Rick for his dedication and hard work in helping to develop the team, and for his tireless effort in giving back to the community here in Nova Scotia. I wish him the very best in the future.”
Assistant Coach Shannon Hanson will take over as interim coach until a replacement is named. Levingston is currently in the process of interviewing and a new Head Coach will be named soon.
Media interviews will be arranged upon request.
Crookshank Return is Official
February 4, 2009 by chris902 
Looks like Eric is officially back:
For Immediate Release
February 4, 2009
(Halifax, N.S.) After a lot of careful thought Rainmen Owner Andre Levingston reinstated star player and Power Forward Eric Crookshank to the team roster.
“I had to convince Eric to improve his attitude on the team. The only way to do that was to have him face serious punishment. He did everything we asked of him, and many things we didn’t. He suffered for his mistake, and I believe he has learned his lesson and is ready to take the team all the way to the championships,” said Levingston.
Thirty-year old, 6’8” Crookshank is thrilled to be back with his teammates who have all expressed their desire to have him back in the line-up where he belongs. “The support I have been given from my teammates, fans and friends has been overwhelming,” added Crookshank. “I want to thank everyone and give back by having a big game on Sunday. I’ve learned from my mistakes.”
The Rainmen meet Vermont on Sunday February 8th at 4pm at the Halifax Metro Centre. It’s HRM Kids Day and all fans 17-years old and under are admitted for only $5 when accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available at the Ticket Atlantic Halifax Metro Centre box office only.
This is great news for Eric personally, and even better news for the franchise.  I personally think that there are a few factors that led to his return.  First is that I think Andre really wanted to teach Crookshank a lesson and I think he really did see a change in his character.  Andre cares a lot about character, and I think this is as much if not more about Eric learning a lesson as it is about money.  Second, I think that there is a recognition that this team needs on court help.  Third, I think that there is definitely a business side to this - Eric playing means good PR and good gate.  Finally, I think there was a recognition of Lewis being part of the source of conflict and a new coach is a chance for a new begining.  I’ve heard rumours about who the new coach is and it will likely be announced tomorrow.  I am excited for the choice.
Posted in Player Info | 14 Comments »
Will the Rainmen Bring Back Crookshank?
February 3, 2009 by chris902 
With Rick Lewis now officially gone it opens up the chance for Crookshank to return, but will Levingston do it?  Will he wait for the new coach to be hired and seek his input?  It’s obvious that Halifax need some help on the front line and Eric has shown the ability to play centre despite his size.  A platoon of Eric, Sanders and Strick at centre is not ideal but it is serviceable and would be an improvement over the status quo.  Today’s announcement that Rodney Mayes has been released appears to pave the way for a Crookshank return.
I feel sort of bad for Mayes, but he never did what was expected of him - he was supposed to be a slashing dunker, but he settled for too many jump shots and I think I saw him dunk it twice all year.  He could rebound fairly well and made a few hussle plays from time to time but he simply never looked comfortable and a return by Eric would mean his rebounding is only marginally important.  It also means that the number 20 jersey is currently sitting unused…
It’s important to remember that bringing Eric back has does not cost Halifax any money - he is being paid anyway and I believe he counts against the cap even if suspended.   With Lewis gone there is absolutely no reason to keep him out since it is quite clear that this whole mess was primarily a result of Rick Lewis’ ego.  I feel like Andre Levingston is the kind of person who admits when he thinks he’s made a mistake and who does not want to continue to punish Eric - I also feel like he’s a good businessman who wants to protect the value of his investment.
Thoughts?  Should Eric be brought back?  Will he be brought back?

14 Responses to “Crookshank Return is Official”

 Halifaxfin Says:
February 4, 2009 at 1:38 pm 
I’m number 1.. What great news..the blogs are humming..the players are psyched..the owner has shown his commitment to winning and also to the character of his players..Now the community has to step up. All of the bloggers and commenters, we need to show our support and get people to the games. Put it on your facebook, invite friends and lets have an amazing showing for EC and Andre as well. Anyone for a pre game sociable? Freeman’s, Midtown, Bubbles?? You name it, we do it!
 BigDaddyPhil Says:
February 4, 2009 at 1:50 pm 
Fin, as you know, I am always up for a sociable. I suggest we let the downtown establishments fight for our business. Who will give the best deal for Rainmen fans?
 Brad Says:
February 4, 2009 at 2:00 pm 
I predict Sunday will be a big COMING OUT for the Rainmen.
Great news all around.
 Dunc13 Says:
February 4, 2009 at 2:19 pm 
Wow I wish I was the but next weekend I will be and I am pumped
 Dunc13 Says:
February 4, 2009 at 2:23 pm 
Oh and Huge getting a couple of stories in the Herald and Metro
 Joe Says:
February 4, 2009 at 2:52 pm 
It feels like everything is right again. I went from being completely bummed by the team two days ago to being just as pummed up as I’ve ever been.
Sanders and Crookshank together is just unreal.
 CrookshankJam20 Says:
February 4, 2009 at 2:59 pm 
Chris, what rumours have you heard?
 Brandon Says:
February 4, 2009 at 3:26 pm 
This is great news! Do you know who is going to be hired?! I hope it is Les Berry or Tim Kendrick or someone who has a proven track record but I don’t know if a high school coach has the chops to deal with players this old. This is fantastic news that Eric is back should pack the metro centre this sunday! People better represent!
 Rain Mania Says:
February 4, 2009 at 3:29 pm 
My heart can’t take much more of this..
Keep your eye on the storm…. How true….
If “One Life to Life” had a basketball court on the set I would see no difference.
Now let’s hope we can finally get down to some BASKETBALL!!!
 Rain Mania Says:
February 4, 2009 at 3:30 pm 
“One Life To Live” I mean.
 Dunc13 Says:
February 4, 2009 at 3:48 pm 
I like the one life to life better
 close friend Says:
February 4, 2009 at 4:58 pm 
 HuskiesAUS Says:
February 4, 2009 at 6:14 pm 
I have heard rumours that it’s a former AUS coach who will be taking over but no one will tell me who exactly it is. I pray to God that it is not Dave Nutbrown. That guy is a maniac.
I hope Eric comes back and fits in well. Sanders has emerged as a star and Strickland needs lots of touches. Hopefully Eric will come in and try to become the defensive specialist that this team needs. He has all the tools to be a great defender if that is what he puts his energy towards.
 Joe Says:
February 4, 2009 at 6:44 pm 
How nice would it be to have a coach who knows basketball, one that we could have confidence in? A guy that can run a team, knows matchups, knows how to make a winner. A guy that knows more than random fans do.
Let’s hope the new guy does this.
The team needs to start Sanders and Crookshank together. Hopefully this team will start to make sense with a coach who can coach.

13 Responses to “Will the Rainmen Bring Back Crookshank?”

 SlamMaster Says:
February 3, 2009 at 7:04 pm 
I don’t imagine you’re going to see a lot of arguments against bringing Crookshank back, but I worry a bit about Levingston saying that bringing Crookshank back is HIS decision as opposed to his coach’s. It’ll be hard to bring in a good coach if he doesn’t have control of the team.
That being said I’ll be the first to start the chant
 MickeyNS Says:
February 3, 2009 at 7:18 pm 
It isn’t much of a stretch to imagine Crookshank being back, and playing this weekend. I expected Levingston to wait maybe until after this weekend to bring him back. Opening the door up by releasing Mayes, and freing up #20, basically says that all the recent problems were solely the fault of Rick Lewis.
Ultimately it is Levingston’s ( and his partners ) money the coach is playing with, and this happens in pro sports all the time. Jim Johnson and Al Davis are prime examples. All difference here is Andre Levingston is trying to improve his teams chances, instead of making terrible personnel choices. And did Lewis as GM & coach work out so well?
I hope they don’t pick a local basketball guy as coach, as I think this team needs someone they will respect. I don’t see someone that was big in Halifax being the person to fill the coaching shoes. Maybe Shannon will have a great game this weekend, and get achance at filling the coaching spot long term.
 basketball fan nova Says:
February 3, 2009 at 7:27 pm 
it’s simple really, all Shannon knows what to do, he had RL show him what not to do…
 Dunc13 Says:
February 3, 2009 at 8:01 pm 
I agree with Mickey on the point that I don’t think that Crook will be back this weekend. I think that they will bill the game on the 13th as his comeback game because Andre wants to make it clear that it is his decision and that the firing of Lewis doesn’t mean Crook Automatically comes back. or at least thats what I was discussing today with Chris.
 Alumni96 Says:
February 3, 2009 at 8:01 pm 
Of course with the CBA shutting its season down early, their may be a plethora of players and coaches looking for work. I wouldn’t consider the timing of the firing of Lewis a coicidence.
 bluenose Says:
February 4, 2009 at 7:49 am 
All good points in my opinion.
Please bring Crookshank back ASAP. It gives the team a better chance to win and that’s first and foremost in my mind.
 Burnsy B. Says:
February 4, 2009 at 9:14 am 
Trust me - Crook will play this weekend. The decision cannot be made right after the firing of Lewis (btw - GREATEST MOVE IN THE HISTORY OF THE FRANCHISE!!!!!!!!!!!!) out of respect to him (Lewis) - at the end of the day, Andre and Rick are friends, and bringing Crook back immediately after the firing screams of it being Lewis’ fault (which we know it is, but is still “speculative” until *proven* otherwise).
However, there are only 9 games left, and what is to be gained by waiting until the 13th to bring him back. It’s Vermont on Sunday, people, and each game is WAY too important to not make every attempt to improve the team for a playoff push.
Crook - see you *ON THE FLOOR* Sunday! Can’t wait, bro!
 BigDaddyPhil Says:
February 4, 2009 at 12:03 pm 
After one and a half seasons as the Assistant Coach, I think Shannon deserves a chance. His patience at being Lewis’ subordinate for that long should be repaid. Best of luck Shannon, I look forward to seeing what you can do!
Andre made it plain that he wants a coach who will lead the Rainmen to a championship. Way to go, Andre!
Eric should be brought back immediately. If, as Chad Lucas says, we need to finish 7-2 for a realistic chance at the playoffs, then why wouldn’t we plug EC in right away?
I think the writing was on the wall for Mayes when he was given the #20 jersey. I feel bad for him that the press notice was tacked on the end of the story about Lewis being fired.
So will Andre take over as GM? Coach and GM are two different jobs and Lewis had both of them. If Andre can find a talented individual, could that guy wear both hats? Given the shortness of the season, he probably could.
One last thing: Part of me feels like this is an Obama Taking Office moment. Just as the TV pundits (Jon Stewart, Keith Olbermann, etc.) are scrambling for content after Bush left, with a new coach, what will this blog and all of our comments be like with no one to complain about? 
 bluenoser Says:
February 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm 
Guys: If you want an owner who will do whatever is necessary to “finish 7 - 2 for a realistic chance at the playoffs” you should probably encourage AL to sell the team - he’s not the guy for you. He has principles, loyalty, and a great head on his shoulders. Yes, he’s a businessman but he’s more than that. If business was his only interest do you think EC would have ever been suspended in the first place? If EC is reinstated (and from what little I know, almost all info gleaned from this and Chad Lucas’s site, he probably should be), it will be because a. EC has learned his lesson and b. AL realizes that there is some truth in EC’s and SirVal’s comments re: the coach and AL is willing to allow the punishment may not have fit the crime.
Personally, and with all due respect, I think the city should be thankful for an owner with such qualities - it will serve all of us well in the long run, whether in the PBL or the NBADL. He represents the city and its fans very admirably, IMHO.
Off the soap box now,
PS I have no connection with Mr. Levingston.
 Rain Mania Says:
February 4, 2009 at 1:10 pm 
Metro News - Thumbs Up!
Cover story again today. I am impressed with your level coverage of the team this year. Great reporting and a free newspaper as well!
What can I say! I LOVE IT!
 Burnsy B. Says:
February 4, 2009 at 1:11 pm 
he is back. Ha! So it came 1 day earlier than i thought it would.
For Immediate Release
February 4, 2009
(Halifax, N.S.) After a lot of careful thought Rainmen Owner Andre Levingston reinstated star player and Power Forward Eric Crookshank to the team roster.
“I had to convince Eric to improve his attitude on the team. The only way to do that was to have him face serious punishment. He did everything we asked of him, and many things we didn’t. He suffered for his mistake, and I believe he has learned his lesson and is ready to take the team all the way to the championships,” said Levingston.
Thirty-year old, 6’8” Crookshank is thrilled to be back with his teammates who have all expressed their desire to have him back in the line-up where he belongs. “The support I have been given from my teammates, fans and friends has been overwhelming,” added Crookshank. “I want to thank everyone and give back by having a big game on Sunday. I’ve learned from my mistakes.”
The Rainmen meet Vermont on Sunday February 8th at 4pm at the Halifax Metro Centre. It’s HRM Kids Day and all fans 17-years old and under are admitted for only $5 when accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available at the Ticket Atlantic Halifax Metro Centre box office only.
 Burnsy B. Says:
February 4, 2009 at 1:12 pm 
For Immediate Release
February 4, 2009
(Halifax, N.S.) After a lot of careful thought Rainmen Owner Andre Levingston reinstated star player and Power Forward Eric Crookshank to the team roster.
“I had to convince Eric to improve his attitude on the team. The only way to do that was to have him face serious punishment. He did everything we asked of him, and many things we didn’t. He suffered for his mistake, and I believe he has learned his lesson and is ready to take the team all the way to the championships,” said Levingston.
Thirty-year old, 6’8” Crookshank is thrilled to be back with his teammates who have all expressed their desire to have him back in the line-up where he belongs. “The support I have been given from my teammates, fans and friends has been overwhelming,” added Crookshank. “I want to thank everyone and give back by having a big game on Sunday. I’ve learned from my mistakes.”
The Rainmen meet Vermont on Sunday February 8th at 4pm at the Halifax Metro Centre. It’s HRM Kids Day and all fans 17-years old and under are admitted for only $5 when accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available at the Ticket Atlantic Halifax Metro Centre box office only.
 bluenose Says:
February 4, 2009 at 1:12 pm 
Projection for the rest of the season
Currently: 6-5
Remaining games, and win probability
(assumes EC plays all 9)
Vermont, home, 50%
Detroit, home, 95%
Quebec, home, 90%
Vermont, home, 50%
Montreal, away, 60%
Quebec, away, 55% (back to back game)
Detroit, away, 60%
Mallrats, home, 50%
Montreal, home, 85%
6.61 more wins, suggesting team finishes 13-7 or 12-8.
Good news is I don’t think we’d be underdogs in any of the 9, so a team that gets hot streaks into the playoffs. Alas, like last year, there’s a big hole in the schedule where we only play one game in three weeks– tough to keep momentum going.
After a lot of careful thought Rainmen Owner Andre Levingston reinstated star player and Power Forward Eric Crookshank to the team roster.
“I had to convince Eric to improve his attitude on the team. The only way to do that was to have him face serious punishment. He did everything we asked of him, and many things we didn’t. He suffered for his mistake, and I believe he has learned his lesson and is ready to take the team all the way to the championships,” said Levingston.
Thirty-year old, 6’8” Crookshank is thrilled to be back with his teammates who have all expressed their desire to have him back in the line-up where he belongs. “The support I have been given from my teammates, fans and friends has been overwhelming,” added Crookshank. “I want to thank everyone and give back by having a big game on Sunday. I’ve learned from my mistakes.”
The Rainmen meet Vermont on Sunday February 8th at 4pm at the Halifax Metro Centre. It’s HRM Kids Day and all fans 17-years old and under are admitted for only $5 when accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available at the Ticket Atlantic Halifax Metro Centre box office only.
TNT adds H-O-R-S-E to its NBA All-Star lineup
TNT today announced the addition of the popular driveway game H-O-R-S-E to its NBA All-Star 2009 programming lineup. The H-O-R-S-E game will air live during TNT's two-hour Inside the NBA program at 5 p.m. EST on Saturday, February 14.
Participants will be announced at a later date. (Please say Rasheed Wallace, please say Rasheed Wallace ...)
According to TNT's press release, the game will take place on a 45' X 50' court alongside the network's new NBA on TNT rig (see above). The fancy rig set-up can rise up to 14 feet off the ground and the bleachers can seat up to 117 guests. Calling the action from the rig will be Ernie Johnson, along with analysts Kenny Smith and Chris Webber. They will be dressed in identical gray suits.
The game will use a traditional format in which three NBA players will establish the playing order. Once a shot is made, the next player in the predetermined order will attempt the same shot. If that player misses, he is assign— look, if you don't know how to play H-O-R-S-E, I doubt you're reading this blog. All you really need to know is that there is no dunking allowed and ballers have just 24 seconds to create/mimic shots.
As you might recall, the D-League actually test-drove H-O-R-S-E during last year's All-Star festivities in New Orleans. I was fortunate enough to catch it in person and here's what I said at the time:
Morris Almond didn't win the D-League's inaugural H-O-R-S-E competition, but he sure made things interesting. In the first round, Idaho center Lance Allred faced off against Fort Wayne’s Jeremy Richardson, and the craziest shot they took was probably a 15-footer with their legs crossed. Ugh. It was a painful start. Thankfully, though, Almond was up next, firing up shots from the floor, behind the backboard, eyes closed ... you know, like the game should be played. So, could it work on the NBA's big stage? Without a doubt. Throw a mic on guys like Garnett, Nash and 'Sheed, and watch the hilarity ensue. It's no worse than the Shooting Stars or Skills Challenge, that's for sure.
I'll stand by that review, especially the Skills Challenge jab — just have them race already, Stern! But, yeah, as long as the NBA lands some fairly personable stars, fans are going to eat this event up.
So, who do you want to see battle it out? Should we find out if Kevin Love is for real, or do we play nice and let LeBron try and save a little trick-shot face? Let's hear your three picks below.


Crookshank gets unwelcome view on unhappy outcome
Matthew Wuest, Metro Halifax
11 January 2009 06:17
Ryan Taplin/Metro Halifax

Eric Crookshank, who was benched for a large chunk of Sunday's loss to Montreal, said he didn't understand why he was subbed out of the game.Eric Crookshank started the weekend guaranteeing a pair of Halifax Rainmen wins. He sat unhappily on the bench on Sunday watching that guarantee go up in smoke.

Crookshank, a 6-foot-8 forward who led the Rainmen in scoring last season, was benched for more than two quarters, a 25-minute stretch, as his team lost 105-103 to the Montreal Sasquatch before a crowd of 1,300 at the Metro Centre. “When you have one of your top players on the bench for two quarters, I don’t understand that at all,” Crookshank said. “Soon as I’m in the game, there’s mad energy. I’ve proven I’m a great player. I don’t know why I was benched.” The mood following Sunday's loss was much different than it was after Friday’s home-opener in the Premier Basketball League. The Rainmen made a big impression on the crowd of 4,012, cruising past the Quebec Kebs 124-112. Crookshank led the way with 26 points and nine rebounds. Crookshank was subbed out yesterday at 3:41 of the first quarter with his team down 21-12. He was subbed back in to loud cheers with 2:18 left in the third quarter. The Rainmen trailed 70-60 and had made little progress in his absence. “I wanted to sub myself in,” Crookshank said. “I got a teaspoon of coffee and I wanted a whole cup.” Rainmen head coach Rick Lewis answered “no” when asked if Crookshank played well before being subbed out. “We had to find the right combination of players that would get us going and keep us going,” Lewis said. Crookshank fuelled a fourth-quarter rally and still finished with a double-double (12 points and 10 rebounds). He said there’s “no I in team” and will be back at practice this week. It was the first loss of the year for the first-place Rainmen (3-1).

Eric Crookshank, who was benched for a large chunk of Sunday's loss to Montreal, said he didn't understand why he was subbed out of the game.
Owner downplays squabble between Crookshank and Lewis
Matthew Wuest, Metro Halifax
14 January 2009 01:00

Rainmen coach Rick Lewis, centre, benched Eric Crookshank during Sunday’s loss to Montreal. As far as owner Andre Levingston is concerned, a storm brewing within the Halifax Rainmen has blown over. Levingston is downplaying a public squabble between star Eric Crookshank and head coach Rick Lewis. Lewis benched Crookshank, the most recognizable Rainman, in Sunday’s 105-103 loss to the Montreal Sasquatch.

Crookshank questioned the decision in media interviews afterward, but Levingston said Lewis was simply doing his job and that Crookshank’s reaction was only natural. “I’m not concerned about it,” said Levingston. “The coach is the coach. He makes the decisions that he feels are giving the organization the best opportunity to win. “If Crookshank don’t like it, Crookshank don’t like it. At the end of the day, it was the coach’s call.”Levingston called Crookshank a “competitive person” and said it’s been business as usual at practice this week. He added that Crookshank’s complaint about playing time is an isolated case. The Rainmen are sharing minutes fairly evenly among 10 players. No one is averaging more than 40 minutes, and only two players are averaging more than 35. “Rob Sanders, who can start anywhere in this league, comes off our bench, and we’ve not had one complaint,” Levingston said. “These guys have an opportunity to fight for a championship, so it’s not an issue at all. It’s been great.” The Rainmen are hitting the road for a couple of key weekend games without one of their best players. Brian Silverhorn, second in team scoring and a deadly three-point threat, will stay in Halifax with a knee injury. Forward David Bailey, who left Sunday’s game with a knee injury, is expected to be ready to play on Friday. The Rainmen (3-1) leave Thursday morning to face the Vermont Frost Heaves (1-1) on Friday and the Manchester Millrats (1-2) on Sunday. The games could shift the balance of power in the Premier Basketball League’s Atlantic Conference. All three teams played in the American Basketball Association last season. The Rainmen didn’t beat either of the other two, going 0-7 against Vermont and 0-5 against Manchester. Former Rainmen forward Kadiri Richard is up to his old tricks with the Wilmington Sea Dawgs. The defensive specialist is tied for second in the PBL with 10 blocks in three games.

How Do The Rainmen Continue Without Crookshank?

So now that the suspension of the Rainmen’s franchise player has sunk in, it’s worth discussing just what the Rainmen need to do to move on past this and keep their season on track. The loss of Eric really hits the team hard in two distinct places: off the court, and on the court. It’s a bit long so you’ll have to read it after the jump. I’ll start with off the court because I think that what he brings when it comes to branding, community work, on court highlights, and personality is much harder to replace than what he does on the court. In part this is a result of him already being here for a year, but he is far and away the most popular player on the team. This established “star power” is virtually impossible to build for another player during a three month season. So who actually steps up and becomes the new fan favourite and public face of the team? Brian Silverhorn is a good player and in his second year with the team but he’s quiet and seems shy. Rob Sanders is arguably the most effective player on the team but he has a bit too much of a mean streak to play the family friendly angle that the Rainmen so desperately try to use, even though I find the guy likable on and off the court. David Bailey certainly seems like the guy who is the best with kids and in some ways replicates many of the on court things that made Eric popular - athleticism, put back dunks, the kind of size you don’t normally see walking down the street - but he may be a bit too Lunch Bucket, hussle guy to be a bonafide star. He’s more JYD than Vince Carter (I mean pre-everything Carter did to become hated Vince Carter). Two of the biggest personalities on the team are now SirValiant Brown and John Strickland (who hasn’t even shown up yet), but both guys are in a lot of ways players well past their primes and there is no hope in them which is one thing that made Eric so popular. People rooted for Eric because some thought he could be the Halifax player who cracked an NBA roster (personally I set my hopes on him getting a good contract in Germany or another solid European league) no matter how far fetched that hope was given his age and height. Strickland will no doubt entertain us, and SirVal has an incredibly interesting history, but neither of them embody that (perhaps self delusional) hope that there is even a chance we will turn on the TV one day and see him on it. I actually think on the court Halifax have the personnel to adjust. Don’t get me wrong - I think Eric is a phenomenal player who is impossible to replace. He’s athletic in a way that you rarely see in the minors and is one of the best back to the basket scorers you’ll see in the PBL. His passing in the half-court is incredible and he plays well above his size. But Halifax do have three powerforwards who are good enough to start (Sanders, Jeanty, Bailey) and are bringing in a crafty powerforward who will likely give us 15 minutes per game. If there is a team who can cope with losing their starting power forward it is the Rainmen.

It’s actually a big of a conundrum to replace a star player (shocking) so here’s how I am going to proceed:

List what Eric brought to the team to establish what actually needs to be replaced See where the Rainmen are likely going to try to get those things List how this affects the team as a whole
What Halifax Need to Replace: Eric is a great minor league player. Realistically, despite the significant jump in talent from the ABA to the PBL, he’s still undoubtedly a top 20 player in the league. He only played eight minutes in Montreal so if you just count his other three games his numbers are great: 15.3ppg, 9rpg and 2.7 bpg. So what exactly does he bring to the team that they will need to replace?
Scoring - 15.3 points is a lot. Period. More importantly he gets his points in two ways that are difficult to replace: put back dunks and offensive rebounds, and post ups. Unless McNeal is hiding something Halifax do not have a consistent post threat without Eric.

Rebounding - he has been Halifax’s best rebounder when healthy.

Defending the paint. When he is active and focused on defense Eric is a good off the ball defender. He can block shots from the weakside and has the length to pick off passes and clog the lane.
Versatlity - He was playing as Halifax’s starting centre, with him gone it means that Bailey, Sanders and Strickland will all have to play out of position. He moves up and down the court very well for a guy at his position at this level, so the team won’t have the same ability to run with a McNeal, Sanders or Strickland in the middle.

Momentum Changer - Eric’s ability to put up highlight dunks is great for the fans, but it also really helped to energize his teammates when Halifax needed to try to get back in the game, or demoralize an opponent.

25 minutes per game at centre and power forward. 12.3 shots per game.

How Do Halifax Replace These Lost Contributions? As I said earlier, they have lots of big men who are high calibre players and would not be out of place starting in the PBL. They’ve also added John Strickland who should give them some post scoring and 10-15 minutes per game. This means that they’re looking at giving 10-15 minutes and probably 5-7 shots per game to players already on the roster. I think most of the minutes need to go to Bailey and most of the shots to Sanders. Bailey is the obvious person to come in and replace Eric in the starting line up - finding people to take his shots and make up for the lost scoring is easy on this team, but finding someone to grab boards, block shots, and get second chance opportunities is major hole. Strickland is out of shape so starting him is a no go, and McNeal has shown little evidence that he’s ready to start. Halifax should also move Sanders into the starting line up to give them a bit more intensity and defensive rebounding, as well as to have a go to scorer in the starting line up. The loss of Crookshank also means that they will need the guards to step up, particularly Hammack and SirVal. The easy look inside won’t be there so the guards will need to penetrate more nad look to exploit other mis-matches for easy buckets.

How Does This Alter the Team as a Whole? I don’t think the team runs as much as they did earlier in the season. The addition of Strickland essentially means that the team now has three bigs who do not thrive in a full court style (Strick, McNeal and Sanders) and only two who can play that way (Bailey and Jeanty). The Rainmen used to have to guys who could play centre and run the floor in an undersized line up (Bailey and Eric) but now will end up seing more than 50% of the game with a half court guy at that position. Eric also created at least a few turnovers a game from the other team and was good at pushing the pace off of rebounds (even though sometimes he turned the ball over as a result).
The team also loses a focal point of its offense with Eric gone. It means someone else will have to emerge as a crunch time scorer and we’ll see if anyone decides to step up as a result. I am hoping that Sanders is given more touches and opportunities since I think that when he’s motivated he’s near unstoppable as we saw when he was guarded by Kevin Dulude on Sunday. As much as it’s nice to see shots evenly distributed we need someone to stop it up and post-up or drive to the net to constitantly force double teams or get easy scores. The obvious places to get this is Sanders, but I actually think the easy post up opportunity is with Dandridge when he’s play shooting guard - he is often guarded by 6'2-6'3 guards and he needs to take them into the post instead of settling for long jumpers. He’s the same height as Eric and being guarded by players six to eight inches shorter, he needs to work on some post moves.
The combination of Eric gone and Silverhorn injured means that other guys will have the chance to prove their worth. In particular McNeal and Mayes have a real chance here to grab some more minutes. Mayes is an athletic rebounder who should be able to steal some small forward minutes now that Silverhorn is out and Jeanty is going to need to play more powerforward. If he can show some defense and rebounding then he should be able to crack the rotation, at least for few games. McNeal has not done the things we had hoped, but with Eric gone we need him to show a willingness to mix it up down low. If he can play five more minutes a game and post guys up, play tough on post defense, and grab a couple more defensive rebounds per game then I will be happy.

The short version: I don’t think replacing Eric is impossible but other guys are going to have to step up. In some ways this actually opens up the opportunities for the team, and I am not so pessimistic as to say that this means Halifax will have a losing season. In the short term it makes winning both upcoming road games a real challenge, but in the long term it means that the log jam on the front line is at least loosened up a bit.

Just to keep everything in one place I’d prefer if comments on this post be about this post and the topic of what the Rainemn do now, not if their actions were just. If you want to discuss the actual suspension try to do so in this post.
Eric's Profile On and Off The Court
Eric Crookshank smiles while playing every game. He is a happy guy, but that’s not why he smiles. It was his mother’s advice that stuck with him… “Smile and it will give you an advantage on the court because everyone will believe you are calm and in control”. And so he smiles while dominating almost every game he plays.
“He is likely the best player in the league”, said the Rainmen team owner Andre Levingston. “Eric has untapped potential and we know he has a lot more in him. We are riding him, to push him to new levels, and we are seeing some results. I know he has aspirations to play in the NBA, but he still must improve his skills”.
Levingston believes playing for the Rainmen in Halifax could be just the thing that Crookshank needs to boost him to higher levels. “I know this kid and what he is capable of because we have a lot in common. We both came from rough neighborhoods but could always see beyond the streets.”
Eric Crookshank was born on November 13, 1979, in Oakland, California. He spent most of his childhood living in a city that more resembled a war zone. “I lost a lot of friends from drugs and gang shoot-outs. It was my love of basketball that kept me alive”. It wasn’t just his family that supported his effort. He claims that local gang members respected his talent so much they began to protect him from violence because they wanted him to make it to the NBA.
By the time Eric was 11 years old, his father moved to Texas for work where he still lives today. This left Eric, along with his older brother, Terill, and his younger sister, Shirley, to be raised by a single mother, in many times under violent circumstances.
“My mother was like a man in a woman’s body. She was tough, but raised us to be Christians, to work hard and to give back to others. She wouldn’t let me take a job. All she wanted me to do was practice basketball and the drums. My mother worked very hard to do the best she could with what she had”.
There were times when his mother couldn’t afford the rent, so they had to move in with family to keep a roof over their heads. “I want kids, who have nothing, to know it is possible to achieve your dreams no matter where or what you come from”, said Crookshank.
It was just after high school, when the 6 foot 3 inch teenager began to take basketball very seriously. In just one year, playing for Chabot Junior College in Hayward, California, Eric Crookshank made first team All-American. He was then recruited to play at the University of Southern California where he studied business in the classroom and ruled on the court. This successful career in college led to a variety of offers for semi-pro play in countries like Italy, Germany and one, he accepted, in Japan.
His career was elevating nicely until Eric hit a wall. His mother died 4 years ago from ovarian cancer. 

01/08/2009 2:00 PM - The Halifax Rainmen have partnered with to stream all home games live on the internet. Starting at the team’s home opener tomorrow night fans can watch their Rainmen game from wherever they are. The games will be simulcast both on the Rainmen website and the website.
“We are so happy that is partnering with us to offer this opportunity to our fans. Now everyone can have a taste and see how exciting Rainmen basketball is,” said Team Owner Andre Levingston.
The website is Halifax live and online.  It's a new online broadcaster with a 'hyper local' focus featuring local opinion, music, personalities, food, business, news, events, and blogs. Launched in September of 2008, is Atlantic Canada's first live-to-web broadcaster.
"This is a pioneering venture for live streaming of a sports team in Halifax, so we're very excited to be part of it.  Our focus is 'hyper local' so we see live streaming of Rainmen home games as a perfect fit," says Chief Technology Officer for
Steven Morrison.
Fans can also communicate in real time while they’re watching the game through chat messaging on the website. Every game will also be archived, so if a game is missed, it can be watched at a later time.
The Rainmen play their season home opener tomorrow night, Friday January 9th at the Halifax Metro Centre, and then again on Sunday at 2pm
01/10/2009 9:45 AM
The Halifax Rainmen have done plenty of talking over the past couple of months. On Friday night, they backed it up.
The Rainmen won their home opener in the Premier Basketball League, cruising past the Quebec Kebs 124-112 and pleasing the Metro Centre crowd of 4,012 with their athleticism and flashy dunks.
Eric Crookshank, the face of the team last season, put an exclamation point on the win with a thundering jam in the final minute, and the crowd chanted “Rainmen, Rainmen” as the seconds ticked down.
“This was great,” said Rainmen newcomer Rob Sanders, a veteran standout in the minor-pro ranks. “We wanted to give the fans something to come back for. It looks like we accomplished that.”
The Rainmen are unbeaten early in the PBL season after winning their first three contests. They got out of the gates slowly on Friday night, trailing 28-26 after the first quarter. Then they went on a 38-22 run in the second quarter to grab the lead for good.
Crookshank and Sanders posted game-highs with 26 points; point guard Jimmy Twyman had 15; guard Glen Dandridge chipped in with 12; and small forward Brian Silverhorn had 11.
The crowd was smaller than the announced attendance 4,343 for last year’s home-opener in the American Basketball Association, but it was loud at times. It wouldn’t be a shock if many are back for the next home game on Sunday at 2 p.m. against the Montreal Sasquatch.
“This is way better than crowds for other teams I’ve played for,” said Sanders, a 6-foot-8 forward who spent last season with the ABA’s Manchester Millrats. “It was packed, the energy was great, and you’re into it. The aches and pains go away and you’re hyped all game.
“I can’t wait for Sunday.”
The Rainmen, who hadn’t played on home court in more than 300 days, have been hyping their product for the past few months, trumpeting every signing and their new, improved roster.
Sanders, who didn’t play the first two games of the season with a heel injury, is a perfect example of what they’ve been talking about. He didn’t even start the game, but finished it as the team’s minute leader and top scorer. No player saw more than 33 minutes.
“Our team is real deep, and it really doesn’t matter who starts or finishes,” said Sanders. “Anybody can be the man any night.”
NOTES: Crookshank, Silverhorn, Dandridge, Kevin Hammack and Cordell Jeanty formed the starting five … Sanders and David Bailey were first off the bench … Sanders had a team-best nine rebounds … Crookshank was 12-of-16 and had some spectacular dunks … Former Laval University star Charles Fortier led the Kebs with 24 points.

11/17/2008 2:05 PM -Coming off tours with AND1 known as Air Canada and being posted all over youtube All-Star fan favorite Eric Crookshank re-signed for a second season with the Halifax Rainmen earlier today. The former University of Southern California forward averaged 20.1 points per game and 12 rebounds per game last season with the Rainmen.

Crookshank is thrilled to be coming back to Halifax. “I’m coming home,” said Crookshank. “I’m so proud about this decision, and I want to help bring the fans of Halifax the championship they deserve.”Team owner Andre Levingston is very excited to have Crookshank re-signed; a player he believes will be the best player in the league. “Crookshank gives us the opportunity to win every night. He will help make our team a dominant force,” said Levingston

The Rainmen also signed today 6’11” Jason McGriff. He will play the 4 and the 5 positions. McGriff was an NAIA independent All-Academic All-American second team at Mountain State University last year. He averaged 17 ppg, and 10 rpg.

"McGriff is a big body and along with Tyronne McNeal, our 7-footer, will give us twin towers in the paint. He is a good shot blocker and offensive rebounder. We couldn’t be happier to have him join the Rainmen,” said Levingston.

The Rainmen’s home opener is January 9th at the Metro Centre. Pre-season games are slated for December 26 through to the 29 at Saint Mary’s University.


 This Is What I Do!

Eric has signed with And1!

On Aug. 2nd Eric will be playing in the AND1 Mixtape Tour in Springfield, MA

Saturday, August 02, 2008 5:00 PM - Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

Eric Crookshank

  • #20
  • Forward

2007-08 Statistics
PPG        19.8
MPG       33.8 
APG        3 
DEF        8.26 
Height: 6-08
Weight: 208  lbs.
College: Dominguez Hills
Hobbies: Drumes

The Halifax Rainmen, Canada’s newest professional basketball team. Owner and president Andre Levingston has assembled a franchise that will compete in the American Basketball Association (ABA). For more information visit

New Interview

At the end of the first quarter, with his Blue squad already down 21 points, guard Peter Benoite pulled his teammates together in front of their bench."Hey, news flash," he said sarcastically. "Brian Silverhorn can shoot." That was one of the first things that around 300 curious fans learned about the Halifax Rainmen as the new American Basketball Association franchise provided an early look at their team in a full-length intrasquad game Sunday at The Tower.

The lanky Silverhorn scored a team-high 34 points on 11-for-15 shooting including a blistering 9-for-12 from three-point range - as White edged Blue 128-127 in the team's first public contest. A few other things became evident about the Rainmen and the ABA style of play pretty quickly:

Offence is the name of the game, with both teams flying up and down the court for the full 48 minutes despite only going six players deep on each side. The two teams combined for 202 shots and 36 fast-break points in the game.

Even big leads can disappear swiftly in such a free-flowing style. After falling behind by 22 points, Blue came all the way back to take an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter, only to lose on a pair of free throws by White's Hardy Riley with 15 seconds left.

From the sweet shooting of Silverhorn to the lightning-quick crossover of Riley to the thunderous dunks from power forward Eric Crookshank, the Rainmen look like they'll be plenty of fun to watch.

"We wanted to let (fans) see we're going to be exciting this year," said team owner Andre Levingston. "The guys really shot the ball well today. That's one thing that's going to cause trouble for other teams. We've still got some things that we want to get better at, but overall, I thought the team looked great."

After a month of training and practising together, the players said it was exciting to finally just play.

Aside from a brief open scrimmage during their training camp in Bridgewater last month, this was the team's first full-game experience -referees, a mascot, cheering kids on the sidelines and even a DJ set up in the corner. "We've been working so hard the last few weeks, and this was a lot of fun," said Benoite, a former All-Canadian at Memorial University.

Benoite scored 27 points for the Blue squad, including a layup to give them a 127-126 lead just before Riley hit the winning free throws for White. The veteran guard admitted it was disappointing to lose, even in the friendly contest. "There were a lot of bragging rights in the house," he said with a laugh. "Everyone wanted to win."

Devino Williams led the Blue squad with 37 points, while forward James Booyer had 32. For White, Crookshank just missed a triple-double with 30 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Riley finished with 27 points and St. F.X. alum Dennie Oliver had 19. Non-roster player Derico Wiggington-Downey of Dartmouth held his own on the court, scoring 12 points and adding four steals, including a key pick on Benoite in the final two minutes that he turned into a layup. "It felt good to play against pros like that," said Wiggington-Downey, an 18-year-old Prince Andrew graduate. "It boosted my confidence a lot."

Coach Rick Lewis said he was pleased with how smoothly both squads ran their offence. Each team shot near 50 per cent and moved the ball well, with Blue logging 30 assists and White making 23.

"It was pleasing to see that they relied on the systems and the offence to get their shots," Lewis said. "This was really the first time they've had the opportunity to be in a full-game situation, so it was good to see they stuck with the system."

Lewis said the Rainmen are hoping to arrange an exhibition game againstanother opponent for Oct. 26, possibly at the Metro Centre.

The team opens its first ABA season at home on Nov. 15 against the Boston Blizzard The Halifax Rainmen have never played a game and already have a second head coach.

The ABA expansion franchise announced Saturday that Rick Lewis, a member of the Kentucky State University Sport Hall of Fame, will replace Kevin MaBone as coach and general manager of the team, which will hit the court in November. MaBone's mother is gravely ill, precipitating the change in plans. The 47-year-old Lewis, a native of East St. Louis, Ill., now living in Indiana, was a basketball, football and baseball star in high school. He spent more time as a baseball player than a basketball player and played professional baseball for eight years in Australia.

In recent years he has coached basketball at the high school level in East St. Louis. He also has a head coaching background in semi-pro. Lewis and Detroit's MaBone worked together at a free-agent evaluation camp in San Francisco in the off-season. Lewis, known for developing younger players with a focus on conditioning, became interested in joining MaBone in Halifax.

Lewis called Halifax president Andre Levingston about connecting with the Rainmen when Levingston surprised him by asking if he would like to be head coach.

"It's definitely been a smooth transition," said Levingston. "We didn't miss a beat bringing in Coach Lewis.

"I got the opportunity to spend a few weeks with him and he's just a good guy. I've seen him in action with players for a while now and I'm just amazed at the level of intensity and skill he develops in players. He's a perfect fit for our franchise."

Lewis wants the Rainmen to produce players for higher levels and believes Halifax basketball fans will reap the rewards while they are here."The people of Halifax will see good, solid, exciting basketball," said Lewis. "The players we want are the type who will strive and push to get to the next level. You aren't going to want to do my workout unless you want to get the next level. A guy who just wants to come in and shoot some baskets and run up and down the floor and say he's on a basketball team, they won't last long with me." The Rainmen now have five players under contract and a commitment from a sixth.

Levingston announced the team has signed six-foot-three guard Devino Williams, a former Michigan high school star from Benton Harbor, six-foot-eight forward James Booyer, a former NCAA player at IUPUI who went on to play pro in Saudi Arabia, and six-foot-six guard Brian Silverhorn of Kentucky, a 2006-07 NAIA all-American at Georgetown (Ky.) College.

The team also has a commitment from seven-year NBA veteran Sam Mack. Chicago's Mack, a 37-year old small forward, is attempting to hook on in the NBA after five years out of the league, but has agreed to play in Halifax if he needs a place to stay sharp.

Former Memorial sharp-shooter Peter Benoit and six-foot-10 forward Chad Eichelberger of Atlanta were signed in July. The Rainmen had more than a dozen players in an open tryout camp on Saturday. Those players included former St. Francis Xavier star forward Dennie Oliver. "It's a real exciting time," said Levingston, watching his first franchise come to life. "You sign your first two players and you start seeing a little light, but when you get to five and six players, and especially the level of these guys coming in, now it's really starting to get exciting. And it's countdown now. We just have a few more spots we need to fill."

Halifax released its 36-game schedule, 18 home and 18 away, that begins with a home opener Nov. 15 against the Boston United Eagles at Halifax Metro Centre. The team then embarks on a two-game road trip at the Manchester (N.H.) Millrats and Vermont Frost Heaves Nov. 17-18.

The season concludes with a pair of games March 13-14 at Metro Centre against the Westchester



Coming Soon
Basketball Camps