Story by Jordan Ramsay | Photo by Vanderbilt Univeristy
CHARLOTTETOWN - The Island Storm has announced Thursday the signing of former Vanderbilt star, James Siakam.
Siakam, 24, was a member of the Vanderbilt Commodores team that captured a SEC Tournament Championship in 2012 while averaging 9.2 points and 5.9 rebounds during his senior season.
The six-foot-seven forward joins the Storm after spending time with the Delaware 87’s of the NBA’s D-League.
Storm coach Joe Salerno says Siakam is a blue-collar player who is willing to do what it takes to win.
“He is the type of player every team needs on their roster to be successful.”
The coach is also impressed with his size and athleticism.
“He is able to guard bigger players in the post, yet switch out on smaller guards when necessary.”
Born in Cameroon, Siakam and his three brothers have all played college basketball in the United States.
Siakam said he will always consider Cameroon home, but playing college basketball in the United States provided greater opportunities athletically and educationally.
“The intensity, the physicality and the competitive spirit was high but when I got to Vanderbilt, Coach Stallings always emphasized one team with one goal, like a family.”
Siakam’s youngest brother, Pascal Siakam, was recently just the fifth rookie to start in a season opener for the Toronto Raptors, becoming the first since Jonas Valanciunas in 2012. He was drafted by Toronto in this year’s NBA Draft with the 27th overall selection.
Siakam is proud of his younger brother.
“It’s truly a dream come true, it was my family’s dream, my dad’s dream. He worked really hard for this.”
Siakam has familiarity with the team in former Storm player Steve Tchiengang from their days as teammates at Vanderbilt. Siakam spoke with the former Storm center, which he says influenced his decision to join the island squad.
“We have a brotherhood. We still talk almost every day and he always encouraged me.”
The energized power forward knows what he adds to the Storm.
“I bring physicality, energy, and toughness to the table. I can rebound and be a defensive presence for the team.”
An opportunity to play in Canada and play for the Storm has Siakam feeling very grateful, he said.
“I want to thank everyone for this opportunity, the coach and the organization. I will do the best I possibly can to represent the team well, I just want to give a big thank you to everyone.”
The Storm’s 2016-17 regular season schedule has just been released and sees the Storm facing off against Saint John Riptide on Boxing Day at 2 p.m. from Eastlink Centre. Fans are also reminded that season tickets are now available by clicking here.