Along the west coast of the Sunshine State, the St. Pete Tide play as one of the newest teams in the American Basketball Association as well as the Florida Basketball Association in St. Petersburg. In all the excitement of a town encapsulated in professional sports from baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays to hockey’s Tampa Bay Lightning, one CourtKing took advantage of an opportunity to play the game of basketball in southwest Florida and excelled in the process. David Stanley, the 5’ 10” guard from Little Canada, Minnesota who played at Concordia University in St. Paul, spent the Midwest Basketball League offseason continuing to play in Florida with the Tide. Once down in the warm, sunny weather, Stanley explained the change he saw in the style of play. “My experience playing in Florida was a lot different than in the Midwest,” he said. “ The game is a lot faster and you have to make quicker decisions.” Additional, Stanley described new sets of rules that he played under in the ABA. “The structure is different. If you get a steal in the back court and make a 3 pointer shot, it’s worth 4 points. It doesn’t happen a lot, but it is a rule.”
In his first season with the CourtKings in 2017, Stanley impressed opponents with his 27.5 points per game and rebounding skills, where he averaged nearly six defensive rebounds a game. Despite a difficult season in terms of team wins, Stanley used his opportunity in St. Petersburg to develop his game further. “There are bigger, more athletic guys in Florida,” Stanley explained. “I really had to rely on my shot and floater more than I did last season with the CourtKings.” Looking back at his time in Florida, Stanley recalls one of his favorite memories of draining a deep game winning basket in one of his final games with St. Pete. He remembers seeing the opposing team looking stunned in their faces after he had made the game winning shot.
In his first piece of action after returning from Florida, Stanley put up 13 points in the CourtKings 134-117 exhibition win against the Wisconsin Gamechangers on March 31 in Charles City. “I’m excited to be back with some of the guys from last year’s squad this year,” Stanley said. “We were all pretty cool outside of basketball, we established a brotherhood last year that was unlike any other team that I had been on before.” Looking forward to the 2018 campaign, Stanley sums up his team goals pretty easily. “Win every game, win the championship and provide an even larger impact on the organization than last year,” he says. “The journey is the one thing that I’m most excited about.”
CourtKing fans can see David and the rest of the squad on Sunday, April 8 as the North Minneapolis Eagles come to town for the season opener. Join us as we honor the 2017 Midwest Basketball League champions, hand out the rings, and unveil the new championship banner. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10 for adults, $5 for children 18 years old or younger, and five and younger are free. John Leo will also have the online radio broadcast with pregame beginning at about 7:15 pm at cvcourtkings.com.