By: Cole Shelton
The Cape Breton Highlanders forced the Halifax Hurricanes to five games but ultimately was ousted in the playoffs. Although losing is tough, the Highlanders have plenty to look forward to as they made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and took a tough Hurricanes team to five games.
Part of the reason why they had so much success was the return of Devin Sweetney to the NBLC. The wing signed with the Highlanders with just a few games to go in the season for the playoff push and had immediate success. Why he was able to have success right away is the fact that he has experience in some of the top leagues in the world, and was coming from the G League.
"It has helped a lot. I have played all over the world," Sweetney said. "I played Europe, Asia, South America, I had a stint in the NBA for a little bit. Playing in the G League, too. In the NBLC, it is a lot of up and down, so playing in the G League has definitely helped me make it a better transition."
Although he was in the G League, Sweetney left to go to the NBLC. He wanted a chance to be a focal point of an offence and help lead a team to the playoffs which is what he did.
"It was just the right opportunity. I was fortunate enough to play in the G League in my hometown," he said. "I always wanted to get back to the NBA but it was the right opportunity. In the G League, they wanted to see their young guys so I was going to be out of the rotation the last month of the season. So, Tyrone we always kept in contact and he said he needed some help. I could have stayed in G League but I decided to come help."
Right from the get-go Sweetney fit in. He became a star in Cape Breton and was a dominant player on the court. Ultimately, for Sweetney to have this much success it was due to the fact that the coach's system and his teammates allowed him to fit in so well.
"The biggest thing for me, it was me just fitting me. I do well in the coach's system. I have proven that, and I have been a big-time scorer in every league I have played in," Sweetney explained. "I am just doing what I do best and trying to make some plays. My job is to make everything easier on everybody."
In the end, although the Highlanders got out in the first round, Cape Breton has plenty to look forward to. The team had a ton of success and can look to build off of that for next season.
Something Sweetney will continue to build off of is his ability to play defence and shoot the ball at an efficient rate.
"Oh well, offence puts points on the board but defence wins championships," he said.
"Honestly, we had some really good guys who can score and guard. It is just a coincidence that I fit right into this team.
"Honestly, that is definitely a part of my game that I have really improved on," Sweetney later added. "When I first played here I probably shot like low 30%. You know, playing in Europe and all over you really need to shoot the ball at a high level."