Pro_Basketball Combine In Windsor

Released: October 22, 2017
By: Chris Lemieux

(WINDSOR, ON) - The National Basketball League of Canada held its annual Draft Combine in Windsor over the weekend. It marked the first time that a pro-basketball combine has been held in the city.


Professional players from around the world descended on Windsor, 142 in total from across the United States and Canada, as well as Brazil and Sweden.


“This is a remarkable opportunity for Windsor and a remarkable opportunity for the NBLC,” said the president and CEO of the Combine host Windsor Express, Dartis Willis. “the League and the Express are honoured to host this event in Windsor and entertain all the visitors.”


The Combine weekend commenced with a Media Day on Friday, followed by a reception for the NBLC teams, players, coaches, and agents, at Walkerville Brewery. Willis and Bille Jones, the Express VP of Basketball Operations who spearheaded the Combine planing, welcomed the visitors to the city.


A team of staff and volunteers got down to work Saturday morning at the SportsPlex, on the main campus of St Clair College, with medical testing, anatomical measurements, and then drills and skills analysis.


“We’re looking for the best available player who stands out of the 140 plus on the floor,” said Jones. “It’s hard to hone in on one or two players, those diamonds in the rough, who are ready to compete in the league.”


To make matters a little easier for the team scouts and other officials, in the afternoon, the players were divided into teams for full scrimmages which were conducted on the three courts in the main gym. Players were given every opportunity to showcase their round ball skills for those with a critical eye.


On Sunday the scrimmages were continued at St Clair College, during the morning hours. The Combine culminated with the League’s Entry Draft with all 10 teams represented and present, including the new entrants from Sudbury and St John’s.


The two draft rounds resulted in the pick of 20 players who will receive invites to their respective team training camps. It will be up to the teams and the agents to come to an agreement on contract terms otherwise the player will be free to seek employment elsewhere in the NBLC or another basketball league.


“There is a direct correlation between the draft and the combine,” said the NBLC’s deputy commissioner Audley Stephenson. “Every team is represented with coaches, assistant coaches, scouts, and even team owners. They’ll be vetting the players looking for the talent they need.”


However, if a player isn’t selected, the story doesn’t end there.


In the first years of the NBLC, Brandon Robinson attended the combine but wasn’t selected in the draft. He did get an invitation from the Oshawa Power to attend their own mini-combine where he out shone the other participants.


As a result, Robinson was signed by the Power and ended up being named the league’s Rookie of the Year, an all-star selection, and led the league in scoring.


Anything is possible in the NBLC.

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