You can call it a Shocker of a move.
The St. John’s Edge have had a lot of new faces on the roster this season. Today, there should be another.
The National Basketball League of Canada team is expected to add power forward Chadrack Lufile to its roster, bringing in a player who went to the Final Four of the 2013 NCAA Tournament with the Wichita State University Shockers.
The transaction also gives the Edge a sixth Canadian player. The 6-9, 265-pound Lufile was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but gained Canadian citizenship after his family left Africa when he was three. He considers Burlington, Ont., his hometown.
A high school star in southern Ontario, Lufile went on to play at the prep school and junior college level in the United States before coming to Wichita States in his junior year. That coincided with the Shockers’ run through the 2013 NCAA tourney, which ended with a loss to eventual champion Louisville (the Cardinals later had the title stripped because of recruiting violations).
In his senior season, Lufile appeared in all 36 games for Wichita State, which had an unbeaten (31-0) regular-season record, eventually losing in the NCAA Tournament’s third round to finish at 35-1.
Since then, Lufile has played in the NBA’s top development league with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, in Chile (Puerto Montt), for the Congo (he has dual citizenship) and in NBL Canada. In 2016-17, appeared in 30 games for the NBLC’s Cape Breton Highlanders, averaging nearly 12 points and over eight rebounds per contest.
Lufile made the news earlier this year, when he went online offering to sell his Final Four ring in order to raise money to help cover some medical costs for his mother, who was battling cancer. But Wichita State fans stepped in to contribute to a GoFundMe account so that Lufile, who was not playing basketball at the time, wouldn’t have to sell the ring.
By the way, the last name might already be familiar to Edge fans. Lufile’s younger brother Abednego was on St. John’s training camp roster last fall, but didn’t make the team.
Chadrack and Abednego (known as Benny) are two of four basketball-playing Lufile brothers. Elijah, the youngest, is at Midland College in Texas, while 26-year Meshack is with the NBLC’s Halifax Hurricanes.
That means Chadrack Lufile will get to see some familiar faces during his first days with the Edge, who open a three-game road trip through the Maritimes with a game against the league-leading Moncton Magic Saturday before taking on the Hurricanes and Meshack Lufile on Sunday afternoon. Then it’s on to Sydney, N.S., where St. John’s will play Chadrick Lufile’s former team, the Highlanders, on Tuesday night.
A place for Lufile on the Edge’s 12-man active roster became available when Canadian Kevin Zabo was placed on injured reserve by St. John’s. Lufiie would also fill the fifth Canadian spot; NBL Canada team’s must have five Canadians on a full active roster.
Even with Lufile, the Edge could still be on the lookout for another big, especially given he recent departure of centre Maverick Morgan for Poland. And there looks to be a spot available.
There are no more official inactive berths on NBL Canada rosters (each team had two last year), meaning any contracted player not on the 12-man roster must be placed on injured reserve (as was Zabo). However, players placed on IR cannot be reactivated for a week. But there is one exception — a so called IR-designated player, who can be reactivated at any time.
The Edge don’t have a IR-designate right now, meaning there is, in effect, an open berth for another player should the Edge want to bring one in.