In July, the Jamestown Jackals played for a North American Basketball League national championship.
A month later, they’ve decided to take their game up yet another notch.
On Tuesday, Jackals’ ownership announced in a press conference at the Physical Education Complex at Jamestown Community College that the 3-year-old franchise will be moving to The Basketball League for the 2019 season.
The TBL is a minor professional league that began play in 2018 as the North American Premier Basketball League. The 2019 season, which will begin in January, will feature teams as close as Rochester and Albany, while others reach every corner of the United States.
“We had the opportunity to travel to Dallas, Texas and play in the national championship tournament, and that was a true blessing to have the players play on that platform,” said Kayla Crosby, president of #IntegrityFirst and Jackals manager. “But it was also eye-opening (to know) that we have quality players that deserve a bigger platform.”
Enter Dave Magley, TBL owner.
The league launched its inaugural 2018 season with eight teams: the Albany Patroons, Kansas City Tornadoes, Kentucky Thoroughbreds, Nevada Desert Dogs, Ohio Cardinals, Rochester Razorsharks, Vancouver Knights, and the Yakima SunKings. The Ohio Cardinals were replaced midseason by the Ohio Bootleggers, a team operated by the former ownership of the Vancouver Knights. By February, four more approved franchises were added in Bellevue, Washington, Raleigh, North Carolina, Tampa, Florida, and San Diego, California, with the goal of 16 total well-funded teams for 2019.
“The level of play you’ll see in this gym is unlike anything you’ve seen so far,” Magley said.
Magley certainly has the basketball pedigree.
A retired NBA player and coach, he previously served as the commissioner of the National Basketball League of Canada. In his earlier years, he was an academic All-American at Kansas University and, in 1978, was Indiana’s “Mr. Basketball.”
Crosby believes that the move to the pro ranks will work.
“The vision is so much bigger,” she said. “The impact we’ve already had is so extraordinary, but yet it’s only just beginning.”
The 32-game season will start in January and run through April with playoffs to follow. While the teams are scattered throughout the United States, Magley said the Jackals will play within their “pod,” which includes Rochester and Albany, for the balance of their schedule. A fourth “pod” team is expected to be announced shortly.
“I believe I can put together a team of 10 to 12 of our minimum-wage guys and compete with anyone in North American,” Magley said.
In the immediate future, Crosby said there will an owners’ meeting in Las Vegas.
“We’ll be working with our attorney to make sure the setup and everything we’ve been doing the past three years can be raised to the professional level,” she said.
Added Magley: “We have no doubt that it will work here.”
The team will be coached by Mark Anderson, who guided the Jackals through the NABL championship run.
“I think you’ll like the product we put out there,” he said.