EDMONTON, AB - The Edmonton Stingers announced a huge change in their front office on Wednesday, with Head Coach/General Manager Barnaby Craddock stepping down from the role to be replaced by assistant Jermaine Small.
“The CEBL has brought a high level of professional basketball to Edmonton and Canada, and it has been a privilege to play a part in ushering the Stingers into Edmonton,” said Craddock in a press release sent out Wednesday. “It has, however, become apparent to me over the past two months that despite my best intentions and efforts, the workload of the Stingers head coach and general manager role is not something I can adequately complete while also fulfilling my duties to my family and University of Alberta Golden Bear Athletics. I will step away from the Edmonton Stingers so they can get someone in place that will be capable of making the necessary commitment to lead the Stingers forward into the exciting future of the CEBL.”
In Craddock’s place will be his former assistant Jermaine Small, who is very familiar with the Canadian Game. While playing his college ball at Houghton College in New York, Small has worked as an assistant coach at Queen’s University and Ryerson University in Ontario, as well as coaching a Canada Select team who competed in China. He also has experience coaching in the Crown League in Toronto, one of the premiere summer leagues for development of Canada Basketball.
In a sit-down interview conducted with Small at the Hive late Wednesday, Coach Smalls describes how excited he is for this opportunity. “My phone hasn’t stopped ringing since (the announcement). I’m looking forward to this opportunity. I have been as an assistant in U Sport for the last eight years and I have been fortunate to work with some great head coaches. They did a great job preparing me to be a good head coach. In the last little bit, especially in the last year, I have felt I have been ready to be a head coach. You never see an opportunity like this coming, but I am definitely excited about it, and I am ready to make the most of it.”
As for the Stingers, the focus of Coach Small is to continue to build on Coach Craddock’s work from the first half. “First and foremost, continuity is good. The biggest thing I want to work on is developing cohesion. You are always looking to make changes, but I was talking with Coach (Craddock) earlier, and we haven’t had our full, complete healthy roster this year. Injuries are part of the game. But I just want to continue building on the foundation we have had here since Day One. Barnaby has done a great job of bringing in some strong quality character guys, like Jordan (Baker), who is from here. I just want to continue building that. I want to tinker a little bit here and there, only because I think it will make us that much better.”
Coach Craddock will assist the changeover in duties, assisting Coach Small in the Stinger’s next game this Saturday, as they travel to Fraser Valley to take on the Bandits. The Bandits have made some roster changes, and look to get their first win in CEBL action, so this will be a big challenge for the Stingers. Coach Small will make his home debut next Friday as the Stingers host the Niagra River Lions. Check out thestingers.ca for more details and to purchase tickets.
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