Starting this season, Grand Rapids will once again have semi-professional basketball.
A region that has been home of the likes of the Grand Rapids Hoops (CBA), Grand Rapids Flight (IBL) and Holland Blast (IBL) will now welcome the ABA’s Grand Rapids Cyclones, although as a travel team, the Cyclones will not play home games during their first season.
Adam Chrisco, the team’s director of marketing, said fans who follow the team can expect an entertaining, frenetic style.
“The ABA has the fastest pace, even to a fault, out of any pro league,” he said. “Teams consistently average over 100 points due to a few factors. The shot clock is shorter, a steal in the backcourt results in an extra point scenario and the substitution rules allow for a more rapid game pace. Combine that with the fact that big men in this league are usually about 6-foot-9, so its a run and gun style of basketball and we use that as a plus to earn fans because its just high octane. Lots of dunks and threes and exciting plays. Very similar to the old ABA Denver Nuggets coached by Doug Moe.”
ABA basketball resembles the league of the same name that once rivaled the NBA — they use the famous red, white and blue ball, and there is a high value placed on entertainment and fan experience.
The Cyclones are currently lining up games against teams in the Chicago area, Northern Indiana and Detroit. The team is still in the process of hiring coaches and filling out the roster, but expect a heavy local influence on the team. They already held a tryout in the area that attracted some prominent area players.
“Grand Rapids is a hotbed for talented athletes across the board, especially basketball,” Chrisco said. “Over 100 players both men and women from the Grand Rapids area have played professionally at one point. The Calvin-Hope rivalry (Note: read more on the Calvin-Hope rivalry here) goes back 100 years. Grand Valley is a top program in the D2 community. Add Aquinas, Cornerstone, Grand Rapids Community College and you start to see a pattern. The high school coaches, players and fans are loyal to the game and can’t help but follow their sons and daughters even more if they end up close to home with the Cyclones.”
The team was recently featured on the West Michigan ESPN Radio affiliate and you can follow all of the team’s news by becoming a fan of their Facebook page.