Mill Rats sign ex-NBA player Will Blalock

The Saint John Mill Rats will be starting their inaugural season in the National Basketball League with ex-NBA player Will Blalock in their lineup.

The team announced the signing of the former second round draft pick of the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday in Saint John.

Ian McCarthy, the president and general manager of the Saint John Mill Rats, said when the NBL season starts in November, the team will include some NBA talent.

"We couldn't be more excited to add a player of the calibre of Will Blalock," McCarthy said in a statement.

"This guy has played against the best players in the world and now fans in Saint John will see him help lead us to an NBL Canada Championship.”

The NBA is mired in a labour dispute and the league has already announced that the first two weeks of the regular season have been postponed.

The timing has worked out well for the upstart Canadian league.

The league announced earlier in the summer that it was welcoming any NBA players who were seeking a league to play in during a work stoppage.

Teams in Quebec and Halifax have also lured former NBA players to their roster.

Blalock told the news conference that he is excited to suit up for the Mill Rats.

“Everybody loves a winner, I don't want to just come out here and be a part of the situation and play. I want to actually win,” Blalock said.

The six-foot tall point guard played 14 games with the Pistons in 2006-07. He also played in the NBA Development League and overseas in Israel, Germany and Australia.

McCarthy said Blalock is being brought into Saint John to help run the offence.

“We have our sights set on a championship. Last year, we got our feet landed here, and we had injury issues but I think this year we're going to be excited to go for that championship,” he said.

McCarthy said the Mill Rats roster is nearly set. But he said with the NBA locked out, there may be another big name announcement in the near future.

The Mill Rats play first regular season home game Nov. 6.