Professional basketball is ready to give Middle Tennessee another try.
The Central Basketball League will begin its inaugural season when the Middle Tennessee Storm hosts the River City (Peoria, Ill.) Panthers, 8 p.m. Saturday at Welch College (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College).
League officials plan for each of five teams to play 12 games with the regular season to conclude on June 22. The other three franchises will be in Bowling Green, St. Louis and Dayton, Ohio.
“We have what all leagues need — organization and money,” John Guy, the league’s director of operations, said in a statement released Monday. “You can have one of those and still limp to the line, but to have both is remarkable in minor league basketball and that is something that we have pulled off. We are also doing things that other leagues can only dream about – cellphone apps, links overseas and the most complete stats in the industry.”
The league has a website (centralbasketballleague.com), which features schedules and news updates from recent days but does not include rosters or coaches for any of the franchises. Bowling Green, which does not play until April 26, has a tryout set for Friday.
Nashville and Middle Tennessee has seen minor league, professional franchises come and go often in recent years. Most notably, the American Basketball Association has failed multiple times, often before the completion of one season.
“This is the start of something revolutionary,” Guy said. “These teams are the pioneers and once the season has concluded, we’re going to be called by dozens of people wanting to jump aboard this express. This season is just the start.
“… This has been a long and well thought-out process and we’re all relieved to see it come to fruition.”