- Ian Livingston Brooking
Former Chanticleer basketball players reflect after first year of professional basketball
Two former members from the Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team are back in town after finishing up their first season playing professional basketball.
Colton Ray-St. Cyr and Elijah Wilson, who both played vital roles in Coastal’s Big South Championship runs in 2014 and 2015, have finished their rookie seasons in the respective leagues.
Ray-St. Cyr spent the past year in Canada playing for the St. John’s Edge in the National Basketball League. While Ray-St. Cyr had a great start to training camp, he suffered an injury. Ray-St. Cyr opens up about what happened.
“It was a freak accident,” said Ray-St. Cyr. “I was just going up for a layup and I tore my meniscus. However, I played through it. I played about nine training camp games until I finally decided to get the surgery. I went and had the surgery, came back and played a few games but in the end, I ended up beginning rehab.”
Prior to the injury, it was noted that Ray-St. Cyr was going to be a starter for the Edge and when he got injured, Ray-St. Cyr said that the organization and his teammates helped him through the rehab process.
“They kept telling me that I was a rookie and that I had a lot of time left,” said Ray-St. Cyr. “The guys were really encouraging and helped me out as best as they could throughout the whole process.”
Ray-St. Cyr was a part of history as the St. John’s Edge of the National Basketball League of Canada were a brand-new team in the league and last season was their inaugural year in the league.
Ray-St. Cyr talked about the fans and they reacted to the sport of basketball in a community where hockey was the top sport.
“It was such a different atmosphere than what I had experienced in college,” said Ray-St. Cyr. “The fans were incredible and the sport of basketball really grew on them. It was amazing to see sold out crowds night after night. In the beginning, fans wouldn’t really know what to cheer for. But as the season went on, people got into it and knew what to cheer for.”
The Edge went 30-19 in its first season, making it to the Central Division Final. The Edge fell in six games to the London Lightning, the eventual NBL Champions.
Ray-St. Cyr talked about being a part of a team where there were not many expectations. He also opened up about his future with the team.
“We had a couple of games that we could have won and gotten the top spot in our division,” said Ray-St. Cyr. “But for a team to do as well as we did in its first year was amazing. As for next year, I am definitely going to be playing. Will it be at St. John’s? That remains to be seen. There are some changes happening and I am just going to see how things play out.”
Meanwhile, Elijah Wilson played in a place much different from where Ray-St. Cyr was playing at.
Wilson, who ranks third on Coastal Carolina’s all-time leading scoring list, played for BC Raiffeisen Flyers Wels in Austria this past season where he averaged 14 points per game for Flyers Wels. Wilson began his career in Austria by scoring 15 or more points in his first five games as a member of Flyers Wels.
Wilson talked about his time over in Austria and the differences he noticed from culture to the style of basketball.
“In all honesty, my biggest concerns in going over to Austria was if I was going to be able to adjust to the cold and the time difference,” said Wilson. “In regards to my game, I was worried if my game was going to translate over to the style of play that they play over there.”
Flyers Wels went 17-15 this past season, finishing fourth in the league and making it to the playoffs. Wilson gave his overall thoughts about his first season and his hopes for the future.
“The only real differences I picked up over there was the language,” said Wilson. “The native language is German so while you didn’t know what a fan was saying to you, you could get the gist of it based on their body language. The fans really got into it and seemed to enjoy themselves. It is more team-oriented basketball over there where in the NBA you see a lot of one-on-ones. I am hoping to move up in the league and play in a higher league, maybe in a different country like France, Germany, Italy or Belgium. We will see what happens.”