For aspiring and tenured pros who want a shot at playing in The Basketball League, the road to reach the court starts with the 2004 TBL Combine Draft.

If last year’s TBL Combine Draft in Indianapolis is any indication of how this February’s workouts, scrimmages, interviews, and draft selections will go, there are a fair number of young men who have a whole adventure waiting for them this year.

76 young men exactly.

That is the number to highlight with all 38 TBL teams on-hand to evaluate talent on February 3-4 and make their picks to attend a respective training camp in anticipation of the 2024 TBL season that tips off in March. The skills and drills at the Combine are part of it. So is the way that guys carry themselves on and off of the court prior to the Draft. But do the coaches, scouts, and front office personnel who are evaluating each player feel a particular player is the right fit for their team? And when that time comes, will players be ready to take the next logical step in their career?

The answer to that question is a process, a procedure that gradually takes place over a two to three day span at The Factory D1 Training. If the collection of framed NBA jerseys that populate the walls around the gym don’t inspire guys to go to work and chase their dream, what will?

Last February at the Combine Draft, TBL hopefuls were treated to a rapid fire Q&A simply dubbed “The Interview”, with featured players and teams getting the chance to know each other better. It was a time for players to do their homework on TBL teams and vice versa. Some may think that on-court abilities will get a guy a job. But truth be told, it’s the off-to-the side conversations and genuine talks about life and basketball between teams and players that truly make draft decisions a lot easier for a coach, GM, and organization to make.

A word of advice for guys who do attend the TBL Combine Draft at The Factory: work the room. And do your share of talking, listening, and note taking. It will help you in the long run.

“When I speak to these young men I am trying to find out about their character. What kind of a person are they? That matters. And (at the Combine), that’s where the skill comes into play,” Shreveport Mavericks head coach and General Manager, Steve Tucker told ATBL prior to last year’s TBL Combine Draft.

“This is their chance. This is their time to shine.”

Team Market Owner, David Qualls, of the Potawatomi Fire said it best well before combine players stepped on the court to warm-up and compete.

“You can tell which of these guys are hungry, just by looking in their eyes,” Qualls began.

“This is a job…a basketball job. That’s why you are here. So go hard and have fun today.”

Coaches and Team Market Owners weren’t the only ones keeping tabs on players and encouraging them to “be themselves” during the whole interview process. In fact, when looking back — the entire TBL Combine Draft weekend in Indianapolis can be considered an interview.

“I lost track of the teams who came up and talked to me…”, began guard Michael Hood, who shined at the Combine and was selected by the Coastal Carolina Buccaneers in the First Round.

“I felt like I did some good things out there. I know what I am capable of. The way I look at it, if I can get my team communicating and on the same page, that only increases our chances of all getting selected in the draft.”

That’s part of the adventure.

The adventure of the unknown. The adventure of navigating an interview. The adventure of going further than just Indianapolis. The adventure of being signed to a TBL team and attending training camp.

The adventure of suiting-up on opening night when the 2024 TBL season officially tips-off.


Wendell Maxey is the author of Around The Basketball League and has written about professional basketball and sports for 20 years. He’s been featured on,, 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. This 2024 season, Wendell will also be a featured writer with the Basketball Super League.


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