Central Florida Force guard Martez Briggs focused on leading, TMO Jason Conrad builds Salem Capitals the right way, “Rookie Watch” with Jaydan Narcisse of the Cincinnati Warriors
Inside Training Camp presented by Around The Basketball League, a weekly report on the latest news, interviews, and insight from The Basketball League’s ‘23 Training Camp with Issue 1 featuring Central Florida Force guard Martez Briggs, Salem Capitals Team Market Owner Jason Conrad, and “Rookie Watch” with Jaydan Narcisse of the Cincinnati Warriors, and more…
Martez Briggs (Central Florida Force) Ready To Lead For Expansion Franchise
When last season ended for Martez Briggs with the Tallahassee Southern Kings he wasn’t exactly sure where his next step would lead. The Southern Kings came up short in the playoffs, the organization was unsure about returning for the ‘23 season, and Martez was left without a whole lot of options for this season. Back home in Memphis, the former LeMoyne-Owen College guard re-grouped mentally and stayed in game-shape by playing with the semi-pro Memphis Railrunners.
Thankfully, Martez made a strong impression last season in a tryout with the Central Florida Force while they prepared for the ‘23 season and he re-united with the Force to officially sign with the TBL expansion franchise. So how is the Memphis native approaching the start of training camp?
“My mindset heading into training camp is to be myself and be a leader. Being a leader and a hard worker, that will help me get better every day,” Martez told ATBL.
“I know want to do in life and I love the game basketball. I want to be a pro and play overseas or in the NBA G League. That is my goal. I’m just a hard body and when people doubt me I come back even harder and my friends and special people get me through it. Everyone loves a winner, so I want to win.”
What can Force fans expect from Martez this season and the rest of the team?
“I am very coachable and a hard work who can really shoot the ball and play defense. My areas to grow are to keep getting stronger and stay healthy and keep improving my counter moves and continue to take what the defense gives me,” Martez said, divulging his own scouting report.
“We are going to give it all we’ve got. I think we are going to have a pretty good team. We are going to make some noise this year for sure.”
Martez Briggs and the Central Florida Force open training camp on Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 19.
TMO Jason Conrad Building The Salem Capitals The Right Way
This past offseason, Team Market Owner, Jason Conrad had his work cut out for him.
Along with signing and supporting Kevin Johnson Jr. as he transitions from the basketball court to being named Head Coach of the Capitals, Jason was tasked with replacing Johnson’s production as one of the best bigs in TBL last season.
Now with TBL training camps opening up, Jason is offering up some words of wisdom and encouragement to Johnson and the guy’s he’s welcoming to Salem.
“Stick to your strengths. Basketball is a team sport and although you should train to be the best at everything, the reality is you won’t be. Don’t try to do too much. Coaches will complete the puzzle. Your job is to make sure you are a piece that fits,” Jason explained.
“In my opinion, a lot of guys coming in feel like they need to be able to do everything. They feel like they have to be more than one piece of the puzzle. Find your strengths within the group you are with. It may not be the same thing every time, but a good coach will see your ability to adapt for the betterment of the team. Stick to your strengths, play hard, and give it 100% every time you step on that court. I’m not sure who actually said it but they hit it on the nose. ‘Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.’ All we can ask for as an organization is your best.”
One of the big acquisitions for the Caps has been adding Oregon native, Isaiah Gentry, as the 6-foot-4 guard played a major role last TBL season with the SoCal Moguls playing under head coach Olden Polynice.
“Zay is amazing. He understands the goals of the organization on and off the court. He is a team player. He shares the values of the organization and is an all around great guy,” Jason added.
“I’m still getting to know him but from what I know and what I have seen, he will be a big part of our success on and off the court this season. It’s rare but sometimes you get the best piece and the right piece wrapped up in one.”
From the outside looking in, it’s apparent that Jason Conrad and the Capitals have a loyal fanbase behind them and are building the franchise the right way in a competitive TBL conference out West.
Rookie Watch: Jaydan Narcisse of the Cincinnati Warriors
One of the more popular series at ATBL of late has been the Rookie Watch. It helps to have a cool crop of young guys getting ready to make their TBL debuts this season, from Matt Cerruti of the Wichita Skykings to Trajuan Harris of Flint United. Next up on that Rookie Watch list: Jaydan Narcisse.
If you were fortunate enough to attend the TBL Draft Combine and watch Jaydan play basketball, you witnessed a tough guard who became more electrified after each charge he took, assist he made, steal he picked, and shot he made. It’s no wonder the Cincinnati Warriors selected Narcisse 16th overall in the First Round.
A major asset that helped Jaydan stand out from a guard-heavy combine was easily his toughness. Where does that come from for the guard out of Post University?
Football, with Jaydan playing on the Post University Football team as a wide receiver before COVID-19 altered his plans. That’s when he went back to playing basketball with the ABA
“I feel like football has helped me stay in shape and helped me get stronger when I take contact in basketball games. I love to attack the basket strong. It doesn’t matter who’s in front of me. I’m going to jump with anyone when I attack the basket, and the only thing the defender can do is foul me. If I bring the energy, then everyone else will feed off that energy. It also gets the crowd into it. I look forward to bringing that same energy to the TBL,” said Jaydan.
“I am beyond blessed and ready to show everyone what me and the Cincinnati Warriors will war as one.”
Training camp tips-off on Wednesday, the 15th and undoubtably Narcisse will be amped. Oozing a calmness and confidence, the rookie took it even a step further when contemplating the ‘23 TBL season.
“I am just a kid trying to prove that be belongs…Rookie of the Year. Watch the work I put in.”
Wendell Maxey is the author of Around The Basketball League and has written about professional basketball and sports for 19 years. He’s been featured on NBA.com, ESPN.com, USA Today, FOX Sports, and SLAM Magazine among other publications and media outlets. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or read through his archive on Linktree.