785-580-3987 Shawn Smith
MIAMI — Miami will be the home of a team in the minor league Central States Basketball League, which is in the planning stages.
Precision Sports of Topeka, Kansas, will operate the league.
“I have been a part of another league that didn’t sit well with a lot of people,” said CSBL director of operations Shawn Smith. “We came to the decision that it doesn’t have to be the only league here in the Midwest. We wanted to develop our own league with our own unique rules, so we’re going to develop our own rules and develop our league as we go along this year.
“I want to try to have everything wrapped up by the end of April.”
The CSBL will have four to eight teams and will play a 16-game schedule plus NBA-style playoffs.
The season will tip off in November, Smith said.
Miami would be the only Oklahoma-based team in the league.
The others tentatively will be located at Lawrence, Kansas; St. Joseph, Missouri; Dodge City, Kansas; Junction City, Kansas, and Hutchinson, Kansas.
Smith said he’s been talking to the City of Miami about playing home games at the Civic Center.
“We’ve been in communication with them for the last few months,” Smith said.
If plans come to fruition, this would be Miami’s first professional basketball team since the Oklahoma Cougars played in the Women’s Basketball Association in 1993 and 1994.
That team played its games at the Civic Center before moving to Tulsa in 1995.
The Cougars, (Beatrice) Nebraska Express and (Kansas City) Missouri Mustangs were part of the American Conference with the (Kansas City) Kansas Crusaders, (Cedar Rapids) Iowa Unicorns and (Quincy) Illinois Knights making up the World Conference during the inaugural first season.
“Lightning” Ned Mitchell founded the WBA.
The Cougars finished third in the American Conference in their first season with a 3-12 record.
Kansas eliminated them in back-to-back playoff blowouts, 92-77 and 114-64, on its way to a league title.
In its second season, Miami was by far the smallest team in a league that had been reshuffled to include the Kansas City Mustangs, Memphis Blues, St. Louis River Queens, (Wichita) Kansas Marauders, (Omaha) Nebraska Express, (Hammond) Indiana Stars and (Davenport) Iowa Twisters.
Things didn’t get much better on the court for the Cougars in ’94 as they went 3-12, then lost to the Stars 107-91 and 103-91 in the first round of the playoffs.
Smith is looking for local ownership of teams in the CSBL.
The only teams that will be initially be owned by the league are those at Lawrence and Junction City.
Smith wants to have a fan vote to select the name of the team. The winner will receive season tickets.
“We are currently looking for office staff, players and coaches,” he said.
Resumes should be emailed to email@example.com.
“We are super excited to have an Oklahoma based team and we are even more excited about our expansion,” Smith said.