MEDORA — The Medora Timberjacks have joined The Basketball League.
David Magley announced during a press conference at Medora High School last week that the Timberjacks would be a part of the 48-team nationwide league.
“This is a big deal in Medora because you’ll have something you haven’t had before,” said Magley, president of TBL. “We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t have the response we had last year. The league is about family.”
Medora will be in a division with teams in Kokomo, Lebanon, Owensboro, Kentucky, and Dayton, Ohio. Magley said there may be another Indiana team added to the lineup that will begin play in March.
It will be a spring league, beginning in March and continuing through May.
A news release from the league says, “TBL is dedicated to delivering a world class professional basketball experience to our community, our fans and business partners.”
Magley said that 11 of the top 12 players in the TBL last year are playing professionally this year.
“We want to bring new life to the community. We’re excited to be here,” said Joey Sichting, general manager of the Timberjacks.
Medora was a member of the Hoosier Hardwood Basketball Association last spring. Other league franchises were in New Castle, Terre Haute and Pendleton, and the Medora team was known as the Southern Indiana Timberjacks.
“Originally, we were going to play in a bigger market, like Bedford, but with COVID, we were having a hard time getting a gym, so we got this one (Medora) and it worked out so much better,” said Mark Morin, who is the boys basketball coach at Medora and also coached the Timberjacks last season.
That league played a 20-game schedule, plus a tournament.
“This is a whole different league. TBL will play a 24-game schedule with 12 home and 12 away. The two leagues are not connected in any way,” Morin said.
“We want our guys to entertain,” Magley added. “We want to draw from the entire county and the area.”
Magley was Indiana’s Mr. Basketball at LaSalle High School in South Bend in 1978. He went on to play basketball at Kansas, where he was an academic All-American. Prior to becoming president of TBL, he served as commissioner of the National Basketball League of Canada.
His wife, Evelyn, is chief executive officer of the league, and Carlnel Wiley Jr. is the league commissioner.
“We’ll have tryouts,” Morin said. “I’m hoping we’ll get three or four of the players we had on last year’s team.”
Morin said he was pleased when the season came to an end after coaching the Hornets November through March and then continuing on with the Timberjacks.
“Looking back, it was an experience that I never thought I would have,” he said. “It was just a different level of basketball to get the opportunity to coach and meet different, great guys. The thing that impressed me the most was how the town and the players connected because we had six players living right across the street (from the school), and they just kind of became part of the community.”
Some of the players on the high school team would come help out with practice, which Morin thought was a good experience for them.
“They went to some away games,” Morin said. “The kids here, if you give them time, that is just huge, and it just kind of gave them some confidence. That’s the main reason my dad (Larry) wanted to do it again. This is the only place we would have done it.”
Larry Morin is principal owner of the Timberjacks. He is a former boys basketball head coach at Martinsville. Land of Indiana is the Morins’ company.
Mark said going from the high school team to the Timberjacks takes an adjustment because it’s a whole different skill level.
“It’s fun,” Mark said. “We try to put a good product on the floor and win some games at the same time. It helps the community, and it helps the kids here at school. I think it’s a win-win.”
Magley said the goal is to have all of the franchises in place soon and to announce a schedule in November. He said the league will follow NBA rules with 48-minute games and a 24-second shot clock.
“Tickets will be available on our website,” Sichting said. “We’re looking for sponsors. Anyone interested can contact us. We’re planning on having a dance team, and we will have youth clinics in the area.”