TBL teams are already starting to host workouts, tryouts, mini-camps, and even some exhibition games mixed in as organizations prepare for the long run in a short season.

Regardless if you are just learning about TBL or if you have followed the action over the past five years as the league has grown and expanded across North America — or have become a faithful reader of ATBL — this league remains highly competitive and always unpredictable. That is just two of the certainties. Here are some more facts, figures, and headlines to consider, debate, and discuss this 2024 TBL season…

Fire Ready To Blaze Another Trail To TBL Title?

Repeating won’t be easy. Not by a long shot. But if there is a TBL team over the last few years poised to run-it-back as champions, look no further than Potawatomi Fire. While the roster has turned over some with Tevin Fostermoving to run the point with expansion Frederick Flying Cows and center Paul Harrison already making some big noise in the Basketball Super League with the Windsor Express, it’s hard to argue with the true talent that Chuck Guy and Deshawn Munson bring to the floor. MVP’s don’t come along that often. Neither do All-Stars. So when you possess two of them on your roster, you hold on tight to hope and buckle-up for another banner season. Speaking of which, a title run isn’t possible with all the supporting cast and staff surrounding this talented group of players. Shoutout to Mental Performance Coach, Emmanuel “Eman” Toney, for getting the pros ready to approach the season in Shawnee. They’ll have to be mentally strong to repeat. This past week, the Fire officially closed the chapter on their storybook 2023 season by hosting their championship ring ceremony and dinner at Fire Lake Arena, where the organization raised their TBL championship banner.

76 Players Will Come Away with TBL Team Contracts In Indianapolis

If you are a free agent or first-time “pro”, here’s a quick disclaimer: the TBL Combine Draft weekend will not be easy. It will be a grind and a chance to shine. Those two days at The Factory in Indianapolis is the first step in what could be a life-changing moment. This is not an attempt to overplay the situation and opportunities that await. That’s simply the reality of what the future could hold with 76 players ultimately being selected by TBL teams when all is said in done with the Draft.

As one TBL assistant coach and Assistant GM suggested to guys: Come ready to work.

“There are a few things players need to understand when coming to an event like this. The first thing is to treat it like a job interview…the next piece of advice is how will players stand out,” said Brad Zellner with Derby City.

“Please be in shape when you come to any combine…do not waste it away by not playing hard or taking it easy on another player. Players need to compete and play hard every minute of every game and drill.”

Expansion Teams Appear Eager To Get First Season Underway

The West Virginia Grind. Emerald City Jaguars. And the aforementioned Frederick Flying Cows. These are just a few of the expansion teams and markets where TBL has expanded to over the 2023 offseason. The Great Falls Electric are also part of the first-year organizations.

Great Falls Head Coach Johnny Clark recently shared some open thoughts and feelings in a statement about the upcoming season set to tip-off within the next couple of months. They speak volumes about how first-year organizations —like Clark and Great Falls — constantly strive to make a connection between the community and the court. When done correctly, it’s a clear and effective way to rack up a big “win” for everyone who is involved in shaping and growing the organization for the greater good. But before you get there with the Great Falls Electric, you have to start here.

The Third Team On The Court Every TBL Season

Respect goes a very long way in life. The same holds true for the game of basketball. That’s why each year when the TBL tips-off their season, they pay homage to the officials around the league. This goes further than former NBA players like Smush Parker and Tremaine Fowlkes officiating TBL games and extends all the way to refs like Jerry Middleton, Dan Beauchamp, and Joshua Koch. They may not be household names (yet), but around TBL circles, their names carry weight thanks to the respect that comes with it.

“The veteran leadership on the TBL staff want opportunities for our staff members who are prospective and current candidates for higher levels. We have numerous staff members in the NBA Program and have seen past members make it to the NBA and G-League. That legacy, those relationships, and the memories we all share is why we do this at the end of the day,” TBL Crew Chief, Joshua Koch, wrote in his article for ATBL.

“Players have teammates and their coaches. Coaches have their staff and their players. Referees only have each other and I would not want it any other way.”

Players To Watch Around TBL…Take Your Pick!

Make sure to stay locked to ATBL throughout the 2024 season as Player Spotlights begin to take shape with a number of guys being added to “the watch list” heading into TBL training camps. A host of returning TBL players look poised to once again make some noise, perhaps even louder than 2023 which saw Cameron Mitchell (Kentucky) lead the league in scoring with 38.9 points per game and Deshawn Munson pull down a league-high 12.5 rebounds per game.

The Reading Rebels bolstered their backcourt by re-signing guard Anthony Lee, (averaged 14.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists last season), Travis Wyche and Derrick Rowland Jr. are both returning to the Albany Patroons, and the Lebanon Leprechauns have extended an invite to 2023 TBL Combine Draft selection (Coastal Georgia), Michael Hood, to attend their 2024 Training Camp in Indiana. Guard Gabe Porter, fresh off his tryout in the NBA GLeague with the Portland Remix, will join the expansion Emerald City Jaguars. Former Shenandoah University Hornet Trammell Anthony will be back with the Virginia Valley Vipers, while Potawatomi announced the signing of PF/C Jon Cathey-Macklin (pictured above), the former college teammate of Chuck Guy’s at Tarleton State who played last season in Australia and Mexico.

Then there’s former NBA and BIG 3 big man Donté Greene (Frederick) who brings with him veteran experience, size, mobility, and the ability to make guys around him better. Much better. This year, however, Greene is the new kid on the block entering his first season in TBL and is happy for the chance to continue his playing career.

“I’ve heard a lot about TBL through my guy Aquille Carr who plays for the team in Redding. I’m looking to stay local but still play in a competitive league. I think the TBL gives me the best option,” Donté said in an interview with Around The Basketball League.

“I know that the league has a lot of guys looking to make a name for themselves so it makes for good competition.”


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 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. This 2024 season, Wendell will also be a featured writer with the Basketball Super League.






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