NCBBA Men's Update: A Few More Than Before
The National Club Basketball Association (NCBBA) is expanding for the 2022-2023 season. Be sure to keep an eye out for some of the new clubs.
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
The University of Southern California has added not only one but two teams to the NCBBA. The coach of the USC men’s club basketball program wanted to compete in a league that prioritized club competition and gave the athletes the opportunity to play on a national stage.
“Not only do we believe that the NCBBA has the most talented and competitive teams in the nation, but we also appreciated the professionalism we experienced during this transition from both league representatives and other club presidents. After research, we reached out to Alex Verhoff [NCBBA Director of Team Development], who has seamlessly facilitated our entry to the NCBBA,” said Head Coach Alex Grossman. Grossman transitioned into coaching both teams for the past four years after his senior season as a player-coach.
“With two teams entering the league this season, our leadership is actively looking forward to giving more of our players an opportunity to grow and excel against quality competition,” Grossman said.
“USC has been a big addition to the NCBBA and a great help in building a conference out west,” said Verhoff.
The Trojans formerly competed in the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) league.
“We appreciated our time in the NIRSA, but in the ever-changing club landscape we thought it would be best for our student athletes if we moved to the NCBBA,” said Fredy Rivera, a team representative. “We want driven and passionate student athletes from USC to have the opportunity to compete at the highest level of basketball available to them,” Rivera said. “For many students this is their last chance to represent their school and be a part of a strong team culture.”
“We’re excited to see some of our veteran leaders return including Nico Bricker, a former Division III guard and versatile player and Chris Kress, a former junior college marksman who shot 50% from deep last season,” said Grossman. USC also welcomes Kola Bamgbose, a transfer guard from Seton Hall’s Division I team.
Dickinson, a member of the NCBBA until 2020, shut down its club for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and some financial issues. The club makes its return this year.
President Brandon Lane recently restarted the club. Due to growing demand on campus, Lane thought it would be a benefit to the college to recognize the players who have a passion for the sport.
“As president, I’m looking forward to seeing the community grow on our campus and begin to become a dominant force in the league,” Lane said.
This is just the beginning for the committed and passionate team. “I’m hoping over the next two years we can establish a set group of travel players who will be committed for their tenure at Dickinson and compete at a high level with top schools in our conference,” Lane said.
Cortland was previously part of the NCBBA and was a ranked team selected to complete in the national championship tournament when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The team’s return to the NCBBA will allow it to pick up where the prior players left off.
According to the President Tyler Pitner, after 2020 many of Cortland’s former players continued to play basketball. While pickup games were the norm, when they played together as a team, they showed their potential and how well they worked together.
Last semester, a new group played a few scrimmages, and they enjoyed practicing together. Rejoining the NCBBA has given the team a chance to play for something bigger than themselves.
“I expect us to come out strong [in the 2022-2023 season] and be ready to play hard from the start. Since we are a completely new team and never played with each other prior to last season, I want us to learn how to play as a unit as well as bring out the best in each player,” said Kai Mercado, a returning player.
“As a team we have a lot of individual talent. We all know how to play high level basketball individually,” said Pitner. “As the president I just can’t wait to see the hard work that everyone has put in during practices and scrimmages paying off,” he said. “I hope and expect us to come into the league and be very competitive.”
“Many kids in college think that the collegiate level is the most competitive, but playing against other club teams can be just as competitive. For us to join the NCBBA, it would show people how competitive club teams can really be,” said Mercado.
After seeing the women’s club team play at Nationals in 2021, the new Cortland men’s team is inspired to make the most of their opportunities in 2022-2023.
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