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St. Catharines, ON (June 28, 2017) – The Niagara River Lions named Joseph (Joe) Raso as the franchise’s new Head Coach and General Manager today during a press conference held at the Meridian Centre.
Raso, who joins the River Lions as they prepare for their third season in the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC), is the all-time winningest coach in McMaster University history. Coach Raso is one of the most successful coaches in U-Sports history where he accumulated 440 wins in 18 seasons behind the Marauder’s bench.
“Joe Raso has proven to be an outstanding Coach, Instructor, Team Canada and NBA Scout and most important of all, a Mentor to players and coaches.” River Lions Owner & CEO, Richard Petko said of his team’s new bench boss.
Following his time at McMaster University, Coach Raso became Head Scout for the Canadian Men’s National Basketball Team and was an Assistant Coach on the National Team for four years where he coached in World Championships and Olympic qualifiers.
Most recently, he has added the National Basketball Association (NBA) level to his resume, as an Advanced Scout for the Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta Hawks and Denver Nuggets.
“The River Lions (Richard Petko, Jeffrey Sotiriou and Michael Skritch [Team Owners]) are investing in me to bring a Champion caliber team to the Niagara peninsula and this great venue.” Coach Raso said about his new appointment.
The River Lions recently finished their second season in the NBLC, just missing a spot in the playoffs and are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 15-25 record. “This is a players’ game but you need players who believe in the same winning culture I do." Coach Raso explained.
“We will start recruiting players immediately both domestically with my knowledge of the CIS and ties to Basketball Canada. I’ll be going to Las Vegas next week to free agent camps.” Raso continued before adding “I’m also very interested in a few players we will be protecting from last year’s team.”
The River Lions are in the midst of their off-season and are in the process of building their roster to compete in the 2017-18 National Basketball League of Canada season, beginning mid-November 2017.