ST. LOUIS - A new Midwest Professional Basketball Association champion will be crowned on Saturday, but first, four teams that have never before experienced playoff basketball must prevail in Friday's semi-final games.
The 2016 MPBA Championship Tournament will get under way Friday as the Windy City Groove and Chicago Blues, a combined 8-32 in 2015, tangle in the first semi-final, while the Lima Express, which narrowly missed the playoffs in another league in 2015, take on the expansion Pontiac 66ers in the second semi-final. The championship game will take place Saturday, as all three games will be held at historic Pontiac High School, in Pontiac, Illinois, home to the nation's oldest holiday basketball tournament.
The first semi-final tips off at 5:05 p.m. C.D.T. Friday, and features two teams that are very familiar with each other. The #2 seed Windy City Groove (9-5) and the #3 seed Chicago Blues (8-6) have shared a home court at the Kroc Center in Chicago the past two seasons and each boast a number of players that grew up playing against each other locally.
MVP candidate Dion Vance Cooksey (6'0''-PG-87, college: Pikeville) leads Windy City at 23.1 points and 4.9 assists per game. While Cooksey's assist average is second in the league, his .908 (109 of 120) free-throw percentage not only led the MPBA, but set a new league record as well. C.J. Hampton (6'4''-G, college: William Penn) averages 16.3 points per game off the bench, while Isiah Martin (6'8''-F-89, college: Indiana St.) tallies 11.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. And Ray Miller (6'8''-F/C, college: CS Fullerton), who joined the team halfway through the season, has averaged 9.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.
Chicago, meanwhile, doesn't have a single 20-point-per-game scorer-but what they do have is an offense that is possibly the league's most versatile. The Blues can bang inside, shoot from outside, or drive to the bucket with equal ease. Tremell Adams (6'1''-G, college: Robert Morris), one of the most dangerous three-point shooters in the league, leads the Blues from the bench, averaging 14.7 points per game. Alexandre Rapier (6'7''-F-89, college: Stony Brook, agency: Dynamics Global Management) pitches in 13.3 points per game and pulls down a team-leading 7.6 rebounds per game. Defensively, Jakeem Hill (6'5''-F-89, college: Webber Intern.) and Shakir Johnson (6'9''-C-87, college: Metro St.) are the league's best shot-blockers, as the two combined for 42 blocks on the season.
Lima might seem to be the heavy underdog based on its record, but the Express encountered a string of bad luck in 2016 that was nothing short of astonishing. The Express, at one point, lost seven of eight games with none of the losses by more than nine points. In that stretch, which featured two one-point losses, the average margin of defeat was just 4.4 points. And on March 13, Lima led the 66ers 118-116 with 2.3 seconds left when Pontiac's Kyle Anderson (6'3''-G, college: Delaware), with two defenders in his face, hit a 30-foot miracle to win the game.
Relentless forward Kyle Meyer (6'6''-F-88, college: Ohio Northern) leads the Express with 21.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Cordaryl Ballard (6'5''-G-87, college: USC Aiken) adds 19.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and a league-record 5.3 assists per game. Jody Hill (6'2''-G-91, college: Livingstone), who re-joined the team after playing in Iraq, averaged 28.7 points per game over six games, and shot 23 of 47 (.489) from three-point range.
Despite losing four players to foreign contracts, the Pontiac 66ers still managed to finish with the league's top record. Pontiac is led by MVP candidate and league-leading scorer Alfonzo Houston (6'3''-G-92, college: N.C.Central) at 27.7 points per game, and top overall rebounder Marcus Hammonds (6'5''-F/G-87, college: Texas A&M-CC). Alex Marzette (6'5''-G, college: Robert Morris) and Khion Sankey (6'5''-G, college: Lipscomb), who joined the team mid-season, have also had a huge impact. Marzette averages 19.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, while Sankey, a stout defender, averages 13.9 points and 6.3 boards per contest. Hammonds, Trent Thomas (6'4''-G) and Kyle Anderson all average double figures in scoring.
Both semi-final games, as well as the 1:05 p.m. Championship Game on Saturday, can be seen live and free of charge on the league's high-definition broadcast portal, MPBA.tv. Craig Fata will handle play-by-play, while Tim Scott will provide color commentary, and Ted Rutan will cover the sidelines.
January 9, 2017 ST. LOUIS - The Midwest Professional Basketball Association has decided to move its upcoming season from a traditional winter start to the summer of 2017, in an effort to determine whether playing closer to the autumn overseas signing period will result in more foreign advancements for MPBA players. The MPBA, which began play in January of 2015, has sent 60 players to overseas teams or the NBA D-League. "Doing a summer league has been in the works since our inception in... [read more]
January 9, 2017
ST. LOUIS - The Midwest Professional Basketball Association has decided to move its upcoming season from a traditional winter start to the summer of 2017, in an effort to determine whether playing closer to the autumn overseas signing period will result in more foreign advancements for MPBA players.
The MPBA, which began play in January of 2015, has sent 60 players to overseas teams or the NBA D-League.
"Doing a summer league has been in the works since our inception in 2014," said C. Edward 'Ed' Schumer, commissioner and chief executive officer for the MPBA. "We feel like we've had a lot of early success moving players up, and we're eager to try the summer league model. But as such a young league, we don't have the resources yet to be able to do our regular winter/spring season as well as a summer league."
Approximately 30% of all players accumulating statistics in the MPBA's two seasons of play have signed contracts to play in Europe, South America or the D-League.
"Playing in the summer will have a couple major benefits," said Craig Fata, associate commissioner for the MPBA. "It will be closer to when foreign leagues sign players, so the guys in our league will have the freshest film and be in the best shape. It will also allow us to bring in college players who have just completed their final seasons."
The MPBA expects to play both a winter/spring league and a summer league in 2018, Schumer said. Details about schedules, locations and teams for the summer league will be released in the coming weeks.
The Midwest Professional Basketball Association 2017 player combine, scheduled for November 20 in suburban Chicago, has been canceled. 'We didn't have enough players sign up that we thought would be able to go overseas,' said Ed Schumer , commissioner and chief executive officer of the MPBA. 'We don't want to just take money from kids, knowing they didn't have a chance to move up. It's not fair to them. Our combine process is not designed to just be a revenue stream for us.' The MPBA has... [read more]
The Midwest Professional Basketball Association 2017 player combine, scheduled for November 20 in suburban Chicago, has been canceled. 'We didn't have enough players sign up that we thought would be able to go overseas,' said Ed Schumer , commissioner and chief executive officer of the MPBA. 'We don't want to just take money from kids, knowing they didn't have a chance to move up. It's not fair to them. Our combine process is not designed to just be a revenue stream for us.' The MPBA has sent nearly 60 players overseas since beginning play in January 2015. 'This isn't a rec league, or a league for somebody over 30 who still can play at a high level,' Ed Schumer said. 'We want young aspiring professionals who want to go to the next level.' All players who registered and paid the combine fee will have their money refunded in full, Ed Schumer said. 'We encourage players to still register in our free online database so that our coaches and personnel people can look at their resumes and films. And if, based on their credentials, we feel they have a shot to advance, we'll reach out to them over the next month or so,' Ed Schumer said. Courtesy of: thempba.com
November 1, 2016 ST. LOUIS - A player who led Peoria Manual High School to four straight state championships and the University of Illinois to an Elite 8 appearance has been named the head coach of the Midwest Professional Basketball Association's Champaign Swarm. Sergio McClain (6'4''-F-78, college: Illinois) has agreed to helm the Swarm for the 2017 season, set to begin in January. "I'm looking forward to working with a credible league, the Champaign Swarm organization, and my suppor... [read more]
Sergio McClain (6'4''-F-78, college: Illinois) has agreed to helm the Swarm for the 2017 season, set to begin in January.
"I'm looking forward to working with a credible league, the Champaign Swarm organization, and my supporters in the Champaign community," said McClain. "This is a great opportunity and fit as far as pursuing my career goals. But I'm most excited about teaching the tools and work ethic these athletes will need both on the court and in the community with kids and other service groups to help make them successful."
"Sergio will bring toughness and grit, I have no doubt," said fellow Peoria legend A.J. Guyton , director of basketball personnel and associate commissioner for the MPBA. "He will bring a competitive team to Champaign, and because he's already coached in the minor leagues, the transition should be seamless. I believe he will take full opportunity to be a head coach at this level once again."
McClain led Manual to an unprecedented four straight Illinois state basketball titles from 1994-1997 playing for his venerable father Wayne, earning prestigious Illinois 'Mr. Basketball' honors as a senior in 1997, when he averaged 18.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
McClain then started 80 games over the next four years under Lon Kruger and Bill Self in Champaign, helping his team to a pair of Big Ten championships, and an Elite Eight appearance as a senior in 2001. Following his career at Illinois, McClain played in the NBA Development League and at the semi-pro level. He then stepped into coaching, directing Parkland College in Champaign for one year in 2008.
Four years later, McClain became an assistant under his father at Champaign Central, and then took over the program on an interim basis after his father's sudden death in 2014.
Copyright (c) 1998-2017 Eurobasket Inc. Disclaimer
Do not copy, redistribute, publish or otherwise exploit information that you download from the site !
Do not encumber, license, modify, publish, sell, transfer or transmit, or in any way exploit, any of the
content of the site, nor will you attempt to do so.