Plans for proposed basketball team in Mitchell area remain light on details

Not much is known about the legitimacy of the team, which says it will start play in March 2023.

The logo of the Dakota Blizzard, a team that is supposed to begin playing in Mitchell in a newly formed Central Basketball League in March.
Photo courtesy of CBL
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MITCHELL — If a Kansas man's plans are to be believed, semi-pro basketball in the Mitchell area is getting another shot.

So far, though, there's not much to show for Alpha Sports Group's plans for the Dakota Blizzard, which says it's planning to play in March 2023 in the Central Basketball League.

A press release from Alpha Sports Group's Shawn Smith on July 6 said the Central Basketball League will be forming in 2023 and the Dakota Blizzard will play in the "Mitchell and Sioux Falls region."

“We are excited to lay the ground work in the CBL and announce our first expansion club.” said Smith, of Topeka, Kansas, in the announcement.

The statement said the league is looking into other Midwest markets such as Aberdeen; Topeka, Kansas; Sioux City, Iowa; Wichita, Kansas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.


The announcement said the Blizzard are looking for a general manager, coaches and players to compete in the upcoming season and said there will be a tryout, but didn’t list a date.

Corn Palace Director Doug Greenway said there have been no finalized plans for the Dakota Blizzard to play there come March, although he has had some limited contact with the league and with the Alpha Sports Group.

Mitchell is the second South Dakota city that Smith had flirted with for creating a basketball franchise. Alpha Sports Group said in June 2021 there will be two teams in Aberdeen — the Dakota Armada men's team and the South Dakota Flight women's team — according to the Aberdeen American News. To date, neither of those teams have played or have been formed.

There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the league, but Smith said via email that he plans to have both a men's and women's league and have both teams play the same night in an event where fans pay for one ticket and get to watch both games. However, the details of pricing and feasibility are unknown at this point.

Smith did not make himself available for an interview regarding the basketball leagues prior to the publication of this story.

The Armada were reportedly supposed to play in the Impact Professional Basketball League, not the Central Basketball League that the release claims the Blizzard would be a part of. The report did mention that Mitchell would be home to a team in the IPBL, but Alpha Sports Group has not mentioned what that team would be or if the CBL and IPBL are a part of the same overarching league.

An online profile indicates Smith's experience with amateur or semi-pro sports appears to be mostly with football. He's listed as coach of the Topeka Twisters and has been involved with the Lawrence Yard Dawgz, who have two games scheduled for later this summer.

Should Smith's plans for the Blizzard get realized, it would not be the first effort for a semi-pro basketball team in Mitchell. The Dakota Magic played for a season in 2016-17 at the Corn Palace as part of the National Basketball League of America, which went defunct in 2017. The South Dakota Gold played in Mitchell from 2000-01 in the International Basketball Association after moving from Rapid City but Mitchell's team only lasted one season before the IBA merged with the Continental Basketball Association.

Zech Lambert is a sports reporter for the Mitchell Republic. He graduated from Penn State University in May 2022 and began at the Mitchell Republic in July 2022. He can be reached at or on Twitter @Zech_Lambert.
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