By Wendell Maxey
When it was announced this past April in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada that the Basketball Super League (BSL) was being formed and would hold their inaugural season starting in December 2023, the nine month waiting game was full of anticipation from organizations, coaching staffs, and local fan bases alike.
There were also a number of players from around The Basketball League (TBL) who were paying very close attention to the news about the BSL starting-up and the opportunities that could present itself in professional basketball. For these novice pros, BSL is not only the chance to take their talents to the next level, but also speaks volumes about how TBL is becoming a proving ground for reaching the BSL.
As it stands, 32% of the BSL training camp rosters for London, Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo, Montreal, Sudbury, and Newfoundland came from TBL and provides a glimpse into how TBL is developing guys who may have some staying power in BSL.
Take Brandon Beloti for example.
Last February, Beloti jumped out of the gym in Indianapolis, Indiana and used his on-court energy and electric personality at the 2023 TBL Combine Draft to secure a contract with the Lehigh Valley Legends, where the former Elizabeth City State University (NCAA D2) 6’4 swingman blossomed into an All-Star by averaging 14.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game, while shooting 65% FG, 38% 3-pt, and 89.9% FT during his rookie season.
This month, Beloti was all smiles at media day in Montreal with the Queens, New York native donning a cool blue Toundra jersey to officially mark his arrival in the Basketball Super League.
Could Brandon’s future be bright in Canada after a breakout season in Pennsylvania?
If it’s anything like the impression Ja’Myrin Jackson made last season in Windsor, the trajectory from the TBL to BSL will help exceed some expectations. After shining in TBL with the Lansing Pharaohs in 2022, Jackson signed with the Windsor Express where the tough-minded guard took home Sixth Man of the Year honors last season.
Not bad for a guy who started the year as a training camp invite and proved his worth time and again in Windsor by leading the team all the way to the championship against London.
Express head coach Bill Jones summed it up perfectly.
“It has been fun to watch Ja’Myrin turn a training camp opportunity into becoming the best sixth man in the league. Every time this young man enters the gym, he enters with a lot of energy. During the game, he watches carefully, sees what the team needs in a given moment, then, when he gets his opportunity, comes in to support the team with a big shot and even bigger energy. All the credit goes to this hard working kid for this award,” Jones said of Jackson, who averaged 16.5 points, 4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists, along with shooting 48% FG and 38.9% 3-point for the Express.
Jackson’s journey from TBL to BSL with Windsor wasn’t walked alone, as another former Lansing player – Latin Davis – has shown his immense value in the backcourt for the Express. Windsor welcomed Davis back to the mix this offseason by re-signing the point guard out of Wayne State University (NCAA D2). Much like Jackson, Davis packed a punch on the court by posting 16.5 points, 5.5 assists, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game.
This season, Windsor will also be anchored in the middle by 6’9 center and back-to-back TBL champion with Shreveport and Potowatomi, Paul Harrison who brings experience, size, and a championship mentality to the Express.
Along with another Michigan native – and TBL product – guard-forward Orlando Little (Kalamazoo Galaxy) joined the Sudbury FIVE in his second-year as a pro, followed by Landon Kirkland who spent last season split between the TBL’s Enid Outlaws and Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA G-League. Little and Kirkland are now both TBL alums blazing a new trail in BSL much like their new teammate, Lance Adams. Adams made his pro debut in 2021-22 for the Lansing Pharaohs and is now entering his third pro season with the FIVE after spending last season with NBLC champion, London Lightning. Sudbury also boasts a big time contributor to TBL and the Albany Patroons with AJ Mosby returning to the FIVE with his “Newcomer of the Year” hardware from the 2023 season. Appearing in 31 games, the 6-foot-3 guard finished the year averaging 20 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game.
That’s what makes the jump from TBL to BSL such a profound leap.
BSL organizations have clearly shown that they are willing to scout and track players who are developing from around The Basketball League and why TBL players are keeping a watchful eye on the first season of the Basketball Super League.
From seeing former TBL players win championships, receive postseason awards, and achieve success across Canada, they simply want to show that they belong in BSL and are here to stay.
Making The Jump From TBL to BSL
Here’s a closer team-by-team look at players with TBL experience who are in training camp with BSL teams this month:
Alonzo Murphy (Albany)
Freddie McSwain Jr. (Jamestown)
Myles Thompson (Syracuse)
Ja’Myrin Jackson (Lansing)
Latin Davis (Lansing)
Sam Muldrow (Lansing)
Paul Harrison (Potawatomi)
Dre Dentmon (Enid)
Misi Boye Jeanneau-Mubiala (Montreal)
Mason Jones (Tri-State)
Nervens Demosthenes (Montreal)
Mambi Diawara (Montreal)
Brandon Beloti (Lehigh Valley)
Levi Londole (Fayetteville)
Narcisse Kalamba (Montreal)
Xavier Jones (Derby City)
Tafari Beckford (Jamestown)
Christopher Chaney (Virginia Valley)
Diago Quinn (Syracuse)
Philip Flory (Albany)
Antonio Davis (Lebanon)
Lance Adams (London)
AJ Mosby (Sudbury)
Michael Bruce (Flint)
Orlando Little (Kalamazoo)
Marquise Collins (Newfoundland)
Robert Hobson (Raleigh/Medora)
Brandon Johnson (Newfoundland)
Tonzell Handy (Newfoundland)
Armani Chaney (Newfoundland)
Anthony Ottley (Flint)
Omega Harris (Medora)
Daniel Foo (Newfoundland)
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