Six teams. One league. Countless storylines and storied histories starting to unfold early and often as training camp gets underway this month for the respective organizations who will compete in the 2024 Basketball Super League. And for basketball fans across Canada, the start of the season can’t come soon enough after teams took part in the inaugural 2024 BSL Draft Combine. But first, let’s take a step back and get to know the Kitchener-Waterloo Titans, London Lightning, Montreal Toundra, Newfoundland Rogues, Sudbury Five, and the Windsor Express a little bit better.
The KW Titans are a community-owned professional basketball franchise that respects, reflects and inspires the citizens of Waterloo Region with exciting, family-friendly entertainment. The team was founded in 2016 by Ball Construction, local entrepreneurs Leon Martin, Jeff Berg and Brian Foster, with the original owners establishing a character-led team culture that’s respected throughout the league and remains an integral part of the KW Titans community.
The Titans organization is 50 percent owned by season ticket holders and operates under a not-for-profit structure that diverts profits into local minor sports. The remaining 50 percent of the team is retained by David and Kate Schooley, who pledged to make the franchise one-hundred percent community owned in the next 10 years or less.
Owned by Vito Frijia, a prosperous business owner in Southwestern Ontario and past President of the NBL of Canada, the Lightning play their home games at Budweiser Gardens where they brought home another championship banner in 2023. Not only was the title the sixth in franchise history after a victory over the Windsor Express, but it marked the last of the NBL.
Lightning forward Jermaine Haley was named NBL Canada Finals MVP after the Vancouver native led all scorers with 22.8 points per game, including a double-double performance with 41 points and 10 rebounds in the Championship game. Under the leadership of Coach of the Year, Doug Plumb the London Lightning and the Basketball Super League are putting basketball on the Canadian map and are gaining recognition from around the world as a premier team in a premier league.
Until a 2023-24 BSL championship is crowned, the title still runs through London.
Newly established in 2023, the Montreal Toundra’s mission is to prove itself on the hardwood and demonstrate to Montrealer’s that the city is not only a great basketball town but also a city that knows how to win.
What sets the organization apart is that they were the first Canadian team to join The Basketball League (TBL) last season with a roster composed exclusively of players from Quebec under the leadership of General Manager, Juan Mendez. A celebrated former professional basketball player and coach, Mendez is also the first Canadian to be inducted into the MAAC Naismith Hall of Fame, an honor reserved for the most accomplished players. As Montreal takes its first steps into the exciting world of professional basketball, they are also taking a monumental leap in 2024 by joining the newly formed Basketball Super League, marking a significant milestone in the team’s journey.
Based in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and Labrador, the Rogues turned a lot of heads during their inaugural season in The Basketball League last season thanks to the outstanding play of Armani Chaney, who was named Newcomer of the Year.
Now the Rogues are about to put BSL teams on notice in 2024. Established in 2021, the organization signed a five-year lease to play their home games at the Mary Brown’s Centre, which proved to be one of the toughest home courts in the league as the Rogues reached the TBL Playoffs in its first season by going 23-17 in 2023. The best part: the Rogues are ready to run it back in Canada. The organization is easily a community asset, while growing an incredible fan base through outreach, involvement, and participation as the Rogues announced that they would join the Basketball Super League.
When it comes to teams that play tough and play together, the Sudbury Five embody a winners mentality thanks to Head Coach and General Manager Logan Stutz who led the organization to a 24-12 record overall.
With players like guard AJ Mosby returning, and the additions of forward Jalen Hayes and 7-foot-1 centre, Andrew Whitsett anchoring the front line, Nickel City is set to cash-in on a big season in the Basketball Super League in 2024. Based in Sudbury, Ontario, the organization is owned by Sudbury Wolves Sports and call Sudbury Community Arena home. Sudbury’s season opener will be on their home court on Thursday, December 28 against the London Lightning. But that’s not the biggest date to keep in mind during the 2024 season: The Five will host the inaugural BSL All-Star Game on Saturday, March 9.
The Windsor Express has a new look as it streams its way into the new Basketball Super League, following a remarkable 2023 campaign that saw the Express reach the NBL Finals. From an expansion team in 2012 to back-to-back championships in 2014 and 2015, the Express nearly pulled off the upset of the London Lightning last season to capture their third title in franchise history.
So will this be the year the Express raise their third championship banner?
Last August Windsor Express President and CEO Dartis Willis announced the team would join the Basketball Super League after months of contemplation. Windsor has built something special, from their fanbase to a winning organization that now aims for a bright and sustainable future in BSL. The Express took the fast-track to solidifying their roster by re-signing guards Ja’Myrin Jackson (Sixth Man of the Year and All-Star) and Latin Davis, who made the jump from The Basketball League to NBL Canada last season. With the start of the 2024 Basketball Super League drawing near, Head Coach and VP of Basketball Operations, Bill Jones, has wasted no time in getting his squad back on track heading into training camp.
These six individual organizations, their coaching staffs, players in camp, and fans alike aren’t the only ones anxoious to get the 2024 BSL regular season underway this month. The league itself has been anticipating this moment after a very busy and productive offseason and has been pleasently suprised by the overall approach to training camps and teams preparing for the first year of the BSL.
“Watching these organizations systematically build great teams and then do the activities it takes to increase their incredible fan bases, is a ‘thing of beauty’,” said BSL President, David Magley.