Wenatchee Bighorns Prepares To Tipoff 1st Season
Pro basketball makes it's debut in Wenatchee March 2nd at town Toyota Center when the Wenatchee Bighorns begin play. .
Don Sims, Head coach and director of basketball operations is beginning a training camp this week in preparation for the season opener. Sims has coached abroad in Canada, England, Portugal, New Zealand and Denmark. He has nearly 20 years head coaching experience at all levels and you can read his coaching resume here.
Sims goal with Wenatchee and the mission statement for The Basketball League (TBL) in which Wenatchee will compete are very similar "what we want to do is I always like to say, I want to help players become men first, you know, good character, all the little things. Get involved with the community. So they are successful. After the basketball, even if they don't quite reach overseas, or the G league or the NBA. They have the tools that they can be successful with in the community. So I'm really excited to be a part of the Bighorns because we're going to engage with the community and on the street and so that's one of the main focuses".
TBL's goal includes offering local individuals and groups an ownership opportunity at relatively low cost barrier. The local ownership is comprised of CEO Anthony Williams, Chase Larsen, COO and the club's chief marketing officer, Sterling Fournier.
For Williams, bringing pro basketball experience to Wenatchee is a dream realized. "TBL gave me that opportunity. We had lots of conversations about my management style, lots of conversations about the community and knowing that in order to have a professional team, we had to be superstars to the community. And if we could pull that off and then the other parts would take care of itself. But we were lucky enough to get players like Stanley and coaches like Don here, who could spearhead our journey and make things happen for us. So we're really excited that this opportunity in the TBL came to us".
The Bighorns will have 17 players in training camp according to Sims which opens today and the roster will be cut to 12 by the season opener. The roster will include Stanley Christian, 26 out of Abilene University in Columbia, South Carolina. "That's how I met coach and we got together and became a team ever since".
Sims describes Stanley as an excellent shooter who plays the whole game. "He's a great leader. And he does the one thing that I like in players, he listens, because to learn, you have to learn to listen. So he listens very well to what I'm trying to get across. And then he can transfer that information become a better player. So yeah, so he's one of the leaders on the team and a very good player".
Christian says he is just following his father's advice "My dad was telling me in order to be a great leader, you have to follow and right now he's (Sims) is leading and I'm following his lead and and we're getting ready to do some great things".
TBL stresses the importance of financial literacy with every player throughout the league and employs a VP of Financial Literacy and Personal Development in the league office. Each team operates the program and that is important to Sims "I think, to coach, you're not only helping them develop as players to get to the next level, but you're really making sure that you develop their financial literacy. Because that's, that appears to be very important to this, this organization this this whole league,. Hopefully when guys leave here, they can go to the NBA the G League and make a lot of money. So when you start making a lot of money, you have to know how to invest, how to spend it".
Christian has his eyes set on a lengthy career and transition into running a team. "Hopefully ending up being a team owner. I'll go into coaching and then become a team owner later on in life but I want to get like at least 10 to 11 good years of playing playing some great basketball". Christian patterns his game after his favorite player, Kobe Bryant but says he plays like LeBron (James). Stanley Christian is not lacking in confidence.
The Bighorns will play most of their home schedule at Town Toyota Center but Williams says some community outreach is planned with some games set for Eastmont High School and Lake Chelan High. Community outreach is planned involving the YMCA, Wenatchee and East Wenatchee Police Departments and Prestige Colonial Vista.
For Wenatchee Bighorns ticket information, click here
Wenatchee Bighorns games will be streamed on TBL.TV