Fred Sturdivant ready for second chance in NBLC
By Justin Prince
Note: This story was originally published on NBLCentral.
After trying to get back into the National Basketball League of Canada for a year and a half, Fred Sturdivant is back.
The Chattanooga, Tenn. native and NBL Canada veteran is returning to the league after being selected by the Kitchener-Waterloo Titans in Sunday’s open draft. Sturdivant, 25, last played in the NBLC for the Windsor Express during the 2014-15 regular season.
“It’s a big accomplishment for me on my end,” said Sturdivant while on his way back to Tennessee Monday. “Being able to get back in the way I did coming through the draft being selected fifth overall is pretty big.”
The six-foot-seven forward had started his professional career with the then-expansion team, the Ottawa Skyhawks, in 2013-14. He had averaged 8.2 points per game and 5.9 rebounds per game in 39 appearances that season. He later left the Express after two games the next season, according to RealGM.
This will be Sturdivant’s second time playing for an expansion franchise during its inaugural season.
“I’m excited about it because everything is new. It’s like a fresh start,” said Sturdivant. “It was kind of like that in Ottawa which was a good experience, so I’m looking forward to it and doing the same thing with the KW Titans.”
Sturdivant made the decision to go the combine route to show his skill set in front of league executives. When he first came to Canada, he had an agent who marketed him to potential teams. Sturdivant said he no longer has an agent, which made it harder for him to get back into the league.
This year, NBLC Commissioner David Magley and a few coaches recommended that he take part in the combine to promote himself.
At the event, Sturdivant used the opportunity to show his energy and defensive skills. That attracted the attention of Titans general manager Stu Julius.
“I really liked him,” said Julius. He also liked Sturdivant’s size. “We came in there looking to get big fours and threes and obviously fives if they were available. I like Fred’s athleticism, and more importantly, I like the fact he’s been in the league and has a little bit of experience. We’re pretty excited about him.”
Sturdivant also has some connections to Julius. Omar Strong, a friend of Sturdivant, had played for the Mississauga Power when Julius was their head coach.
Julius explained that despite picking Sturdivant fifth overall, it does not guarantee he will make the final roster. He feels he had a good chance to make the Titans for opening day Dec. 26.
“I think he’s got a legitimate shot to make the team,” said Julius. “That’s a position we have needs of and that’s why we’re bringing him in. We want him to compete. The other guys have to compete for that particular spot, so the door’s wide open.”
Sturdivant knows he’s expected to be ready for training camp this December. He plans to stay active and in shape before coming back to Canada for the NBL Canada season.
“When you get into training camp, that’s what it’s all about – getting in shape, getting ready for the season,” said Sturdivant. “It’s thirty-five days before tip-off and that’s around the corner. With everything being the way it is, the most important thing is staying ready and staying in the gym working on your game because it’s a long season.”
The Titans start their training camp Dec. 5.