The Kansas City Tornados, a first-year entry in the new North American Premier Basketball League, will open the inaugural season against the Kentucky Thoroughbreds at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Municipal Auditorium.
The game will tip off a schedule that will include 15 regular-season home games at Municipal. All home games are slated for 7 p.m. tipoffs. Tickets range from $8-$25 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.
The KC entry in the eight-team league, which will be coached by former KU forward Calvin Thompson, will include one former Jayhawks player (Kevin Young) and one from UMKC (Franklin Williams). Former KU forward Young averaged 3.4 points and 3.0 rebounds a game in 2011-12 and 7.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in 2012-13 for the Jayhawks. Williams, a 6-6 wing, is a graduate of Raytown High School.
Other players on the team: Charlton Jones, 6-1, Oklahoma City University; D.J. Cole, 6-2, Youngstown State University and Olathe South High School; Grant Greenberg, 6-2, University of St. Mary and Leavenworth High School; Jacob French, 6-5, MidAmerica Nazarene and Blue Valley West High School; Jordan Stotts, 6-8, University of Sioux Falls; Quantel Denson, 6-9, MidAmerica Nazarene and Grandview High School; Taveres Sledge, 6-9, Wright State University and Tyler Rambo, 6-5, University of Indianapolis and Grandview High School.
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Former KU guard Sherron Collins, who was to have played for the squad, is inactive because of a knee injury, league commissioner/COO David Magley indicated. There is no time frame set for Collins to join the team, he noted. Collins, who has been living in Lawrence since the summer, did not answer a text requesting comment on his current status.
Thompson, who played for KU’s 1986 Final Four team, will be assisted by Ed Corporal, Tom Hughes and Eric Stamps. Teams in the league: KC, plus Vancouver, B.C.; Yakima, Wash.; Mesquite, Nev.; Owensboro, Ky.; Akron, Ohio; Rochester, N.Y.; and Albany, N.Y. All eight teams will make the playoffs, which will be held in May.
The league is slated to have three salary scales for players: C players earning $1,500 per month, B players receiving $3,000 a month and A players earning $5,000 a month.
The NAPB, Magley says, has a motto of: “NAPB: Where the spirit of the game still lives.”
The goal, he indicated, is “to bring franchises to many of the 60 cities across the U.S. and Canada that once had pro basketball teams in either the NBA, ABA, CBA or NBA G-League, which has moved out of some markets the last few years. There are 100 leagues in Europe, multiple leagues in China, Japan, South America, Asia. We are the greatest place for basketball in the world. Nobody is better than NBA players. Americans dominate. The second-biggest country for basketball is Canada. More Canadians are playing basketball than hockey. The time is now. We have an opportunity to build a second-level division like no other country in the world. It’s a vast opportunity to give cities and hamlets who are proud of their city, to give them a chance.”
Magley is planning to announce the addition of several more cities and teams for the 2018-19 season.
Here is the KC Tornados schedule as announced by the team and league:
Home games (all 7 p.m. at Municipal Auditorium)
January: 3- Kentucky. 4-Kentucky. 10-Albany, N.Y. 24-Ohio. 25-Ohio.
February: 1-Albany, N.Y. 11-Kentucky. 22-Nevada. 23-Nevada. 25-Kentucky.
March: 6-Vancouver. 7-Vancouver. 28-Rochester, N.Y.
April: 14-Kentucky. 15-Kentucky.
January: 18-at Ohio, 7 p.m.; 20-at Ohio, 7 p.m.; 22-at Rochester, N.Y., 7:05 p.m.
February: 3-at Vancouver, 7 p.m. 4-at Vancouver, 3 p.m.; 14-at Kentucky, 11 a.m.
March: 16-at Albany, N.Y., 7:05 p.m. 18-at Albany, N.Y., 3 p.m. 23-at Ohio, 7 p.m. 24-at Ohio, 9:30 a.m.
April: 2-at Rochester, N.Y., 12 p.m. 3-at Rochester, N.Y., 12 p.m. 20-at Yakima, Wash., 7:11 p.m. 21-at Yakima, Wash, 7:11 p.m. 27-at Kentucky, 7 p.m. 28-at Kentucky, 7 p.m.