Let the Magic begin: Pro league to debut in Mitchell
Starting today, the National Basketball League of America and its Mitchell-based team, the Dakota Magic, will cease to be a concept. Instead, the real thing, with players and snazzy uniforms on the Corn Palace floor, will be in action. The Magic ...
Starting today, the National Basketball League of America and its Mitchell-based team, the Dakota Magic, will cease to be a concept.
Instead, the real thing, with players and snazzy uniforms on the Corn Palace floor, will be in action.
The Magic - in the league's inaugural game - will take on the Sioux City Hornets at 7 p.m. tonight.
Ten players practiced on Wednesday night in the historic arena to get a feel of how playing at the Palace would go, as league and team founder Darryl Greene broke out the team's new uniforms, a dark blue and gold look with pinstripes.
"It's been exciting and (tonight), we do it for real," he said. "There's a lot that goes into putting a team on the court and I think people will like coming out and seeing what we have."
Greene stressed that he's not worried about attendance at the first game or over the course of the eight home games that are scheduled for the Corn Palace this fall. He said the franchise remains an opportunity to allow Dakota Wesleyan University sports management students to get real-life experience before graduating.
"The focus is on getting these students experience and then getting the exposure for the players on the court, so that maybe they go play somewhere else," he said. "The turnout, the crowds, that will come with time. We know there's a great following around here. Whatever crowd we get here, we will be happy with it."
The roster will be fluid, as Greene put it. He said it's likely that there will be different guys on the team at the end of the year compared to who's on the squad now. But for the time being, former DWU standout Terrell Newton is likely the most familiar to area fans after just wrapping up a successful run with the Tigers. The team includes former area college players, including Dakota State University's Miguel Sansavour and Cameron Krump, who played at Tri-Valley High School. Former Mount Marty College guard Bud Smith scored more than 1,000 points for the Lancers. Marquealis Edwards (University of Mary) and Winston Williams (Minot State University) are familiar Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference names.
The team includes hopefuls from all across the region and the country. A native of Pennsylvania, Luke Moyer played for Division I schools Richmond and Campbell University in North Carolina before finishing his career at John Brown University, an NAIA school in Arkansas. He caught the eye of an scout earlier this summer and when he talked to Greene, Moyer told him he was in.
"It's a chance," he said. "This is a great opportunity to keep playing while I'm waiting on a contract. He told me to come out to South Dakota and get going."
He admitted Mitchell, South Dakota, was basically foreign to him before a week ago when the players settled in for a short training camp. Wednesday was the first time on the Corn Palace floor for many of the players and the team's coach, Kasib Powell.
"Even coming into the arena for the first time like this, it makes you excited to get going," Powell said. "I never played here, so it's still cool for me and this is one of the great venues in South Dakota basketball."
He said it's important for him to lay down a foundation of plays for the team to be able to run, regardless of personnel, hoping to build continuity as quickly as possible for a team that just met each other.
"We're going to have some things that we're going to be able to run, regardless of who's on the team," Powell said. "But at the same time, you just want talent to take over and you want guys to shine as much as they can on this team."
As far as rules go, the NBLA will look much like the professional league that shares many of the letters: the NBA. They will play four, 12-minute quarters, use a 24-second shot clock, play to six personal fouls and use an NBA 3-point range. Team fouls will follow the men's college rules: 1-and-1 shooting after seven team fouls in a half, with two-shot fouls after 10 in a half. Team rosters are limited to 12 players.
Newton, of course, won't be in an unfamiliar gym. A Huron native, he was among the first to be on board with the team and he said it should be a fun time.
"It's going to be a good experience," Newton said. "We have a lot of guys that have potential and it's going to be good to see basketball during this time of year and going on in the Corn Palace, because it is usually a quieter time for athletics in the Palace."
The Magic will play plenty in the month of September at home, hosting Kansas City on Sept. 6 and Omaha Nation on Sept. 8, followed by games on Sept. 15 and Sept. 22.