After three straight weeks of training camp the Cedar Valley CourtKings, Waterloo/Cedar Falls new minor league basketball team, is set to open up their inaugural season in the newly formed Midwest Basketball League! The CourtKings travel to Chicago this weekend to take on the Chicago Clovers.
Here is what we know about the Clovers. They are owned by Othell Mitchell, Jr who has his own clothing line in Chicago. He also runs all the Pro-Am basketball in the city of Chicago. Othell had wanted to get into the MBL this season and when Sioux City pulled out a month ago that opened the door for the Clovers to be in the league in year one instead of waiting until next year. Their roster is just getting finalized but their owner has told the MBL league president that he will have some former pro players on his team. This will be a tough opening opponent for the young CourtKings squad led by Head Coach Stan Hughes.
The Cedar Valley CourtKings are led by former UNI star guard Anthony James who has looked good in training camp after playing this past season in Portugal. Rashad Carrington and Lamar Wall will most likely share the point guard duties. Both Rashad and Lamar played at Mt. Mercy on their 2013 NAIA National Tournament team and bring solid leadership to the team.
Two other guards that are going to be important to the team are LaDon Singleton and Aundre Hicks. LaDon is a big guard at 6′ 4″ and shoots it well and can also go inside and score. Hicks is a tough defender who has the ability to score from all three levels also. Gage Heffernan from the University of Dubuque has done really exciting things too in the practices leading up to this Saturdays opener and will play a major role at both the guard and forward position. He is a great leaper and can score in around the basket against taller guys and score from the perimeter too.
The inside game will be anchored by 5 really quality players. Marvin Singleton, UNI, will not play in the first two games this year as he is on an exposure tour in China. He will return for the home opener on Sunday May 15. But the cupboard is not bare. Clay Cook from Wartburg College is as tough as they come inside. Cook not only crashes the boards but finds ways to score in a round the basket against taller guys as he plays much bigger than is 6′ 5″ height. The two Alex’s are outstanding players. Alex Houston at 6′ 5″, an NAIA All American this past season at Mt. Mercy has showed he can score from the outside along with a great inside game. Houston has the ability to create a shot at anytime anywhere on the floor and will be a big factor this season. Alex Coleman is an intense inside player who works as hard as anyone on team and does it all the time. Coleman has also shown his outside range along with his ability to score in the paint.
One of the most exciting players on the team is 6′ 7″ Andre Norris, a grad this year from University of Dubuque. Norris is the two time Iowa Conference MVP and a D-3 All American. His ability to shot the 3, score off the dribble and get to the basket and dunk with ease will make him a tough guard for anyone in the league.
The CourtKings 7′ 1″ center Jordan Eglseder will start the season on the DL. Eglseder is coming off his 8th knee surgery that was done just over 6 months ago. It was thought he would be cleared to play by April 1st but still needs more time to get to 100% healthy.
Under Coach Hughes the CourtKings will be a fun team to watch. They will defend and then look to run and score in transition but if it is not there the team has a number of options in their multiple offensive sets.
The CourtKings have one last workout this Friday night before heading to Chicago for their season opener!
The MBL will use the college rule book with NBA rule adaptions such as four 12 minute quarters, 6 fouls per player, jump ball on all held ball calls and a 24 second shot clock are the main ones.
“The commitment and effort that these guys have put in in training camp has been tremendous,” stated Owner/GM Gary Rima. “They are anxious to play against someone other than their teammates and that opportunity comes this Saturday against what looks to be a very good Chicago Clovers team.!”
The Cedar Valley CourtKings have their home opener Sunday night May 15th at 7:30 vs the Minnesota Broncos coached by former Iowa Hawkeye Jay Webb. CourtKings home games will be played in the new beautiful Cedar Valley SportsPlex at 300 Jefferson St. Waterloo.
You can buy season tickets and single game tickets this Sunday from 1 to 6pm a the Dan Gable museum 303 Jefferson St. Waterloo along with fan apparel including T-shirts, long sleeve T’s, Tie Dye T’s, polos, caps and more!