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Written by: Zach Dadson
St. Catharines, ON – He’s back! The 2015-16 National Basketball League of Canada's Most Valuable Player has rejoined the Niagara River Lions. Logan Stutz joined the team's training camp today as the River Lions prepare for the 2016-17 season.
Stutz led the River Lions with 21 points and 9 rebounds per game last season quickly became the face of the franchise and one of the most well-known players in the NBL Canada. In addition to leading the River Lions, Stutz finished his first season in the NBL Canada second in points per game, second in rebounding and sixth in field goal percentage (55%).
Following the River Lions' inaugural NBL Canada season Stutz headed overseas to play professional basketball in Japan. As this year’s season drew near he felt that coming back to Niagara was an opportunity he didn’t want to miss. "I'm back!" Stutz proclaimed when arriving at River Lions training camp on December 5. "I'm excited to be here. The ownership made a great situation for my family and I love what the team has done in the off season to prepare for this year. Niagara, get ready for big things this season!"
River Lions Head Coach Grâce Lokole was very pleased to have Stutz back for a second year with the team. "It really adds a mature, veteran player who's got experience in this league and leagues around the world." Lokole noted while adding that Stutz, who recently played 18 games in Japan's professional league, is coming into training camp in mid season form. "Logan and I have a good relationship on and off the court. Bringing in players you can trust is key when it comes to winning basketball games. Logan's the kind of guy that I can trust on the court at the end of games and that's important". Lokole continued.
President and General Manager, Jeffrey Sotiriou was thrilled to have Stutz back in a River Lions uniform. "Logan brings so much to our team, not only on the court but off the court as well. He's an excellent leader in the locker room and a great ambassador of our franchise in the community." Sotiriou also added that he was particularly proud of the time Stutz would take to participate in school visits and support local initiatives during last year's season.
Coach Lokole, who has done a formidable job building the Niagara River Lions roster is currently putting his team through the paces in training camp and the addition of Stutz is a crowning off season achievement for the young Head Coach entering his second season at the helm of the River Lions.
"Logan moves so well without the ball." Lokole said from training camp on Monday December 5. "You can put different players around him and he can take advantage of opportunities defenses are giving him. Chris Commons, Sammy Zeglinski and Logan Stutz gives us three guys who have played all over the world and have one goal, they want to win a championship."
The Niagara River Lions will start their second season and hopeful championship campaign on December 26, 2016 when they take on the London Lightning at Budweiser Gardens. The team will play their home opener the following night at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines against the KW Titans.