Earlier this month, as he participated in CBC’s FeedNL initiative, St. John’s Edge forward Charles Hinkle mentioned he was looking forward to what will be an extra-long Christmas break for the National Basketball League of Canada team in that it will provide an opportunity for him to enjoy the warmth of his native southern California.
Then again, it could be suggested Hinkle might never be hotter than he has been recently.
The 27-year-old Hinkle was named the NBL Canada Central Division’s latest player of the week Monday on the strength of his performance in three road games for St. John’s.
Hinkle averaged 29 points and 9.7 rebounds during a swing through southern Ontario, much of that on the strength of a 53-point game in Friday’s comeback win over the Windsor Express.
Hinkle, a native of Los Alamitos, Calif., was just one successful three-point shot (he made 12 in all) away from tying the NBLC record for points in a game as well as the league standard for three-pointers made in a game.
"Charles Hinkle had one of the great shooting performances that I've ever witnessed live," said St. John's head coach Jeff Dunlap, who played at UCLA with the likes of Hall of Famer Reggie Miller before embarking on an NCAA coaching career that stretched over nearly three decades.
"It was so effortless, it was just rolling off his fingers. He was in one of those rare zones that a player can go into.”
It’s the second time this season that Hinkle — who played for Vanderbilt and American Universities — has been named a player of the week and the third such recognition for an Edge player. Shooting guard Carl English also earned the honour in November.
Hinkle and English have been a dynamic scoring duo for St. John’s, which enters the break with an 8-4 record; English is second in the league with a 25.5 points-per-game average while Hinkle is fourth at 23.1.
They’ve also been the league’s most prolific three-point shooters. English has launched 112 shots from beyond the arc and has made 49 of them, topping all players in both cases, while Hinkle is second in those categories with 89 three-point attempts and 45 made.
The two super scorers aren’t the only Edge players who own a league stats lead. Centre Grandy Glaze is the NBLC’s top rebounder with 11.1 per game and an even 100 in total. Glaze is also first in the circuit in shooting percentage among qualifying players at 58.9 percent.
Despite going 1-2 on the three-game road trip, St. John’s continues to hold first place overall in the league. Whether it will still be in top spot by the time of its next game, remains to be seen. The Edge will be off for about the next week-and-a-half days before reassembling in St. John’s on Dec. 29, but even then, they’ll have to wait a while before their next contest, which comes Jan. 9 when they take on the Express at Mile One Centre.
The rest of the NBLC doesn’t have nearly as much time off at Christmas — there are games this Friday and on Boxing Day. But with the expansion Edge having joined the league late this summer, the team found it difficult to slot any late December dates for itself into a schedule that was largely completed at the time.
To give you an idea of how much of an anomaly the St. John’s holiday hiatus is, the league’s other nine teams will all play between four and six games between now and Jan. 9.