Buffalo 716ers Sign NBA D-League Veteran and Former UConn Star
Buffalo, NY (November 24, 2014) – Former University of Connecticut star center Charles Okwandu signed a one year contract to play for the Buffalo 716ers of the Premier Basketball League (PBL) for the 2014–15 season. Okwandu is an NBA Development League (NBA-D League) veteran as well as an NCAA national championship as a member of the University of Connecticut Huskies 2010–11 team. This will be Okwandu's third season playing professional basketball since graduating from college.
Okwandu, a 7'0 center, played in 81 games for the Huskies, finishing his collegiate career with 153 points, 173 total rebounds and 66 blocked shots. Following graduation he went undrafted by the NBA and became an unrestricted free agent.
For the 2011-2012 professional season he played for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA-D League, appearing in 13 games. That year he scored 28 points, had 44 total rebounds and 13 blocked shots. The Vipers are the development team for the NBA's Houston Rockets.
“Charles brings with him length, experience, and size to our roster. He has gained valuable experience playing professional basketball for the last three seasons," stated head coach Tawan Slaughter.
Okwandu's first appearance for the 716ers will be during the pre-season Thanksgiving Weekend Tournament. Okwandu's first regular season game for the 716ers will be on December 6th when they host the Lynchburg Titans at 2 pm at Tapestry Charter School.
Chicago, IL- The Premier Basketball League (PBL) and Tobacco Road Basketball League (TRBL) made history today as they announced a new affiliation. Effective immediately, the Tobacco Road Basketball League will now be the official ‘AA’ farm system of the ‘AAA’ Premier Basketball League.
“We are very excited about the relationship and future we are building between the PBL and the TRBL,” stated PBL league vice-president Dominic Turcotte.
Founded in 2011, the TRBL is a league based primarily in the southeast region of the United States and brings a similar mission statement as the PBL. Teams are to be positive role models and outstanding citizens in their local communities and bring quality family-fun entertainment for fans of all ages.
"We look forward to this new relationship with the PBL. We believe it will create great opportunities for both TRBL and PBL players. The more we can work with leagues like the PBL that are doing things the right way, the better it is for our players, owners, and fans,” said Pete Gratale, TRBL founding member.
The new affiliation will give players a chance to showcase their talents and move up or down in a professional farm system to continue their goal of reaching the next level of professional basketball.
The Premier Basketball League is set to kick off their season in less than a month with the first game starting on December 6th at 1:00pm when the defending champion Rochester RazorSharks host the Carolina Pee Dee Vipers.
Rochester NY, November 17th, 2014— The defending PBL championship Rochester RazorSharks open training camp with returning veterans 6’3 shooting guard Darren Moore, 6’9 center Ayodele Coker, and 6’0 guard and MVP Jerice Crouch.
The RazorSharks returning three stars will be leaders on and off the court while using their experience from last year’s success to help set the example for the upcoming rookies heading into training camp.
Jerice Crouch, returning Championship MVP of the RazorSharks said, “I am excited for training camp and our upcoming season. Our coaching staff knows what they are doing and they are constantly helping us improve our game.”
Corey Allmond, one of the recent additions to the RazorSharks roster, was selected in the 2010 NBA D-League by the Fort Wayne Red Ants and is expected to play a major role for the RazorSharks this season.
Head Coach Robert Spon said, “I knew that tryout camp was going to be a long and stressful week. Every player coming in is talented but camp is what separates talent from hard work. We are able to see who comes prepared and who is willing to work the hardest for a starting spot.”
The RazorSharks season kicks off at home on Saturday, December 6th at 1:00pm starting with their 2014 PBL championship banner raising ceremony. Tickets can be purchased at razorsharks.com or by calling the RazorSharks front office at (585) 232-9190. For every ticket purchased to the home opener the RazorSharks will donate $1 to the Wease Cares children’s fund.
The RazorSharks training camp roster includes:
#2 Corey Allmond, #4 Jerice Crouch, #5 Raheem Singleton, #10 Robert Singleton, #11 James Helton, #12 Casey Sheehan, #15 Fred Durr, #20 LaPhonso Ellis Jr., #23 Rob Curtis, #25 Gabe Freeman, #33 Haakim Johnson, #35 Darren Moore, #44 Ayodele Coker.
The Rochester RazorSharks are a professional basketball team based in Rochester, New York. They are the 2014 defending champions of the Premier Basketball League and play their home games at the Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester. For more information on the Rochester RazorSharks visit www.RazorsSharks.com or contact the office at 585-232-9190.
The Premier Basketball League preseason will conclude with the 2014 PBL Thanksgiving Classic.
The Thanksgiving Classic is a two games series consisting of last year's PBL championship Rochester RazorSharks, an expansion team from the East (Philadelphia Flight) and Midwest (Grand Rapids Cyclones) divisions and the hosting Buffalo 716ers.
On November 29th the first set of games will be played with the Rochester RazorSharks playing against the Grand Rapids Cyclones at noon followed by the Buffalo 716ers playing against the Philadelphia Flight at 2pm.
The winners from game one will move on to the championship round the following day for a chance to win the first annual Thanksgiving Classic trophy at 2pm after the consolation game for third place at noon.
The games will be held at Tapestry Charter in Buffalo, New York. Tickets are only $10 or bring in a canned good for $1 off admission price. All proceeds will go to support Variety Children's Charity. There will also be fun prizes and giveaways.