The Central Basketball Association, on the eve of commencing its 7th year of competition, has announced its league schedule for the upcoming 2019 season.
Featuring all but one of the teams from last year, the CBA will continue to have eight regular season games per team in March and April, followed by the top four squads advancing to the postseason knockout tournament in May.
The regular season will begin on Saturday, March 16, 2019 and conclude on Sunday, April 28, 2019. The semifinals and championship game will be held in Indianapolis during the weekend of May 4-5, 2019.
Several teams will be utilizing a new home court this upcoming season, while others will remain at their traditional sites. The three-time defending league champions, Fort Wayne Flite, will play their home games at a new venue this year: Concordia Seminary (6600 N. Clinton Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana). The two-time defending regular season champions, Indianapolis Blaze, who last year became the second team in league history to finish with an undefeated regular season record (8-0) will also compete at a new high school this year: Riverside High School (3010 N White River Parkway E Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana). The Jackson Eagles, who will look to bounce back from their 1-7 record last year, will be playing at the Bolivar Municipal Center (211 N Washington Street, Bolivar, Tennessee). Finally, the Bowling Green Hornets will return back to Russellville High School (1101 W 9th Street, Russellville, Kentucky), where they last played during the 2013 and 2014 league seasons, which were also the same seasons the team participated in the championship game in back-to-back years, including winning the title in 2014.
The Middle Tennessee Storm, who finished the 2018 season with a 7-1 record after a dismal 1-7 finish in 2017, will play their sixth consecutive season at Fisk University (1000 17th Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee), and join Bowling Green as the only two teams that have played all seven years in the CBA. The Baltimore Shuckers, looking for their first playoff berth since they joined the CBA in 2017, will play their home schedule at Annapolis Area Christian School for a second consecutive year (109 Burns Crossing, Severn, Maryland), while the Memphis Rail Runners will also play at their home venue for a second straight year at the Jiff Center (254 S Lauderdale Street, Memphis, Tennessee).
Registration for players shall begin on February 13, 2019 with the registration deadline for the first weekend of games set for March 13, 2019. Prospective athletes and rostered players can register at http://www.playcba.com/registration
2019 CBA REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
SATURDAY, MARCH 16
Fort Wayne at Indianapolis (6:00 P.M. ET)
Memphis at Baltimore (8:00 P.M. ET)
Bowling Green at Middle Tennessee (8:00 P.M. CT)
SUNDAY, MARCH 17
Middle Tennessee at Jackson (3:00 P.M. CT)
SATURDAY, MARCH 30
Baltimore at Fort Wayne (7:00 P.M. ET)
Jackson at Memphis (8:00 P.M. ET)
SUNDAY, MARCH 31
Baltimore at Indianapolis (3:00 P.M. ET)
Bowling Green at Memphis (3:00 P.M. ET)
Middle Tennessee at Jackson (3:00 P.M. CT)
SATURDAY, APRIL 6
Memphis at Fort Wayne (7:00 P.M. ET)
Middle Tennessee at Baltimore (8:00 P.M. ET)
SUNDAY, APRIL 7
Memphis at Indianapolis (3:00 P.M. ET)
Bowling Green at Jackson (3:00 P.M. CT)
SATURDAY, APRIL 13
Fort Wayne at Bowling Green (7:00 P.M. CT)
Indianapolis at Middle Tennessee (8:00 P.M. CT)
SUNDAY, APRIL 14
Fort Wayne at Middle Tennessee (3:00 P.M. CT)
Indianapolis at Bowling Green (3:00 P.M. CT)
Memphis at Jackson (3:00 P.M. CT)
FRIDAY, APRIL 19
Baltimore at Fort Wayne (7:00 P.M. ET)
SATURDAY, APRIL 20
Baltimore at Indianapolis (6:00 P.M. ET)
Jackson at Bowling Green (7:00 P.M. CT)
FRIDAY, APRIL 26
Indianapolis at Fort Wayne (7:00 P.M. ET)
Jackson at Baltimore (8:00 P.M. ET)
SATURDAY, APRIL 27
Fort Wayne at Bowling Green (7:00 P.M. CT)
Jackson at Baltimore (8:00 P.M. ET)
Middle Tennessee at Memphis (8:00 P.M. CT)
SUNDAY, APRIL 28
Indianapolis at Middle Tennessee (3:00 P.M. CT)
Bowling Green at Memphis (3:00 P.M. CT)
SATURDAY, MAY 4
Semifinals Game #1 (6:00 P.M. ET)
Semifinals Game #2 (8:00 P.M. ET)
SUNDAY, MAY 5
Championship (3:00 P.M. ET)
With the 2019 CBA season schedule set to be released this week, it presents a good opportunity to reflect on the 2018-2019 CBA offseason, as the fruits of the league's labor has put on display as CBA players continue their efforts in advancing their respective basketball careers.
With 32 CBA players receiving opportunities to play overseas in the summer and fall, coupled with 11 players in Antigua & Barbuda last month as part of the CBA partnership with the Caribbean, an additional 10 more players have now received opportunities during the winter to push the total of 53 players competing at the international level this 2018-2019 CBA offseason.
The list below features the 10 athletes earning a chance to play abroad, including three former league most valuable players and a league alum from its inaugural season, further demonstrating that the CBA boasts players that can earn international opportunities at any age and from any institution.
Notables from the above list include:
Wade, a 6-foot-3 guard from the University of Arkansas, who was picked up the NBA G-League's Greensboro Swarm this year, earned 2015 CBA Most Valuable Player honors with the Mississippi Eagles (now Jackson Eagles), where he was second in the CBA in total points scored (178), second in the league in total steals (23), sixth in the league in total assists (30), and scored the most points in a regular season game (40). He finished the 2015 season averaging 22.2 points per game, 3.8 assists per game, 3.1 rebounds per game, and 2.9 steals per game. After playing in the CBA, Wade received international opportunities in Taiwan and Germany, while also playing two seasons in the NBA G-League with the Iowa Energy and the aforementioned Greensboro Swarm.
Criswell, a 6-foot-4 guard from the University of Nevada, who received an opportunity with NBL-Canada's Kitchener-Waterloo this winter, earned 2017 CBA Most Valuable Player honors with the Illinois Coal Miners, where he averaged 21.6 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game, 2.5 assists per game, and 1.8 steals per game. For players that played in at least five regular season games that year, Criswell led the league in points per game, and was in the top-10 in rebounds per game and assists per game. He also led the league in free throw shooting percentage, for players attempting at least forty free throws this season, shooting 83.6% from the free throw line. Criswell, who was drafted by the NBA G-League, Reno Bighorns, earned his first international opportunity in Israel after the 2017 CBA season.
Best, a 6-foot-9 center, who played football at Ole Miss University and Mississippi Valley State University, received his first international opportunity in El Salvador this winter, after earning 2018 CBA Most Valuable Player honors with the Memphis Rail Runners last season. In eight regular season games and one playoff game last season, Best shot 56.4% from the field, averaged 18.8 points per game, and scored in double-digits in each game including four games featuring 20+ point scoring totals. He posted double-digit rebounds in every game, averaging 15.4 rebounds per contest, including a league-record 59 offensive rebounds this season, and finishing second in the CBA with 139 total rebounds. Some of Best's top performances in 2018 included: 20 points (9-for-15 from the field) and 20 rebounds (9 offensive) in an overtime victory versus Bowling Green; 24 points (9-for-14 from the field) and 16 rebounds (7 offensive) in handing Middle Tennessee its only regular season loss of the season; and 27 points (11-for-18 from the field) and 17 rebounds (8 offensive) in the playoff defeat against Indianapolis.
Taylor, a 6-foot-3 guard from Tennessee Tech University, earned his first international contract in six years with NBL-Canada's Cape Breton Highlanders, after playing in the CBA in its inaugural season in 2013 with the Bowling Green Hornets. Taylor averaged 19.3 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game, 3.4 assists per game, and 2.4 steals per game as he led Bowling Green to its first ever championship game appearance.
Carter, a 6-foot-8 forward from the University of Massachusetts, who signed with the Island Storm of NBL-Canada, was the first CBA player to receive a contract in the National Basketball Association, signing with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2015 immediately after the CBA season. Carter, who played in the CBA with the Mississippi Eagles (now Jackson Eagles) averaged 21.7 points per game and 7.7 points per game. After his stint in the NBA, Carter went on to play in Dubai, as part of the CBA Global Opportunities program, as well as the Philippines, before receiving this latest opportunity north of the border.
With approximately 250 players receiving opportunities overseas and nearly a dozen in the NBA & NBA G-League, the Central Basketball Association has continued to be the top of the class in advancing the careers of aspiring basketball athletes across the nation. With the CBA set to begin its 7th season next month, a new class of players will seek to make a name for themselves just like their predecessors in the league.
After a successful first-year partnership last year between the Central Basketball Association and the Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association, where eight league players made the rosters of various 2018 ABBA teams, Baltimore Shuckers’ Torey Fassett culminated the newly-formed relationship by leading his Flyers club to a championship trophy and earning MVP honors for the 2018 ABBA season.
This month, as an extension of the alliance between the CBA and the ABBA in its second year working together, a combination of familiar talents and fresh faces received opportunities for the 2019 ABBA season, which is set to begin its regular season campaign this evening in Antigua.
Diverging from the open tryout selection that was performed last year, ABBA teams underwent a draft system for the 2019 ABBA season, where each team received two selections from the incoming class of CBA players. If a team selected a CBA player(s) from the previous year’s roster, they would forfeit their draft selection(s). In 2018, eight CBA players had the opportunity to tryout in Antigua, while this year, 11 CBA players received that opportunity.
The defending champions, Flyers, elected to bring back last year’s Most Valuable Player, Torey Fassett. The 6-foot-6 forward played in the CBA in 2017, and had played internationally in Canada and the Dominican Republic before earning the chance to play in Antigua last year. Fassett, who led the Flyers to their first championship since 2014, finished in the top-10 of the 2018 ABBA season in most statistical categories: 2nd in total points (521), 7th in rebounds (203), 1st in steals (74), and 8th in blocks (18). He finished 3rd in points per game (22.7), 1st in steals per game (3.2), 1st in made two-point field goals (169), and 6th in made three-point field goals (35).
The league runners’ up, Oval Ojays, elected to bring back Baltimore Shuckers’ Jermaine Bolden. The 5-foot-11 point guard played in the CBA with Fassett in 2017, and earned his first international opportunity through the CBA with his selection in Antigua last year. Bolden, who led the Ojays to the best record during the 2018 ABBA regular season, finished 1st in total assists (126), and 4th in total steals (62), while averaging a league-leading 5.1 assists per game and in the defensive top-10 with 2.5 steals per game.
The Oval Ojays also brought on board Joshua Minner, who played for the Potters Steelers in 2018. Minner played two seasons in the CBA in 2014 and 2015 with the Springfield Sentinels, in which he earned a contract in Brazil in 2016 through the CBA Global Opportunities Program, before showcasing his talents in the Caribbean last year. Minner finished the 2018 ABBA season as the league’s best scorer with 568 total points, 2nd in points per game (24.7), 2nd in made two-point field goals (168), 4th in made three-point field goals (42), 6th in total rebounds (204), 7th in total assists (71), 6th in total steals (49) and 9th in total blocks (17).
The 2019 ABBA-CBA Draft featured the following selections: The Office Depot Rebels, who had been promoted this year from Division II, selected Memphis Rail Runners guard, Dontarion Wright, with the first overall pick in the draft. Wright, who played in the CBA last year, was coming off his first international contract in El Salvador, before taking advantage of the opportunity in Antigua. During the 2018 CBA season, the 23-year old Wright averaged 23.7 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game, and 2.1 steals per game, leading Memphis to their first playoff berth since 2016.
The Full Throttle Ottos, who had three CBA players last year, selected Baltimore Shuckers’ Troy Vasco, who played in the CBA the last two years, became the fourth Baltimore player to play in the ABBA, joining Fassett (Flyers, 2018-2019), Bolden (Ojays, 2018-2019), and Benny Iko (Steelers, 2018). The 27-year old, 6-foot-5 forward averaged 7.3 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game for Baltimore during the 2018 CBA season.
The Baldwin Braves selected Fort Wayne Flite’s, Ronald Lucas III, who spent four seasons in the CBA, and played internationally in Australia and Canada. The 6-foot-3, 24-year old guard, averaged 8.3 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game, and 1.5 steals per game during the 2018 CBA season, while helping Fort Wayne earn their third consecutive league title.
The Potters Steelers selected Bowling Green Hornets’, Jacob Lloyd, who earned his first international basketball opportunity after playing in the CBA for the first time last year. The 25-year old, 6-foot-1 guard, averaged 12.4 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game, 3.8 assists per game, and 2.0 steals per game during the 2018 CBA season.
The Stingerz selected Bowling Green Hornets guard, Isaac Bragg, who played in the ABBA last year with the Ottos. Bragg was the team's leading scorer and led his club to a berth in the quarterfinals of the 2018 postseason tournament. Additionally, Bragg played in Taiwan in 2016 as a non-CBA invitee through the CBA Global Opportunities Program, before playing with Bowling Green Hornets during the 2017 CBA season.
21-year old, Darius Daniels, who was a non-CBA invitee, was not selected through the draft process; however, the 5-foot-11 guard was retained by the Potters Steelers as an undrafted roster selection. Yashua Perez, a non-CBA invitee who earned a spot with the Ottos last year, and James McCombs, who played for the Jackson Eagles in the CBA in 2018, were the other tryout participants who were not selected through the inaugural draft process.
The nine CBA players who earned roster spots in the Caribbean this year will have an opportunity to showcase their talents with their new clubs beginning this evening, as the 2019 ABBA regular season gets underway and will last until May
The Central Basketball Association, which is set to begin its 2019 domestic season in less than 6 weeks, has helped approximately 250 players receive international opportunities over its seven seasons of existence, including 20 players in the Caribbean in the last 12 months.
When the CBA season concluded its sixth year of operations five months ago, it may have culminated eight weeks of domestic league competition, but it also marked the beginning of the offseason international calendar.
Whether one is a player for a club that went undefeated in the regular season (Indianapolis) or a team that only won once this year (Baltimore, Illinois, Jackson); whether one hoisted a championship trophy for the third consecutive year (Fort Wayne) or a player that has never participated in CBA competition - the goal is the same for all athletes in the minor league basketball industry: how to advance their individual careers in a positive direction.
It is allowing players the opportunity to achieve this personal aspiration that has been the focal point of the CBA's mission objective since its inception. And this is why the offseason marks the most important and critical time period for the league as, through its networking, marketing, and promotion, a handful of players see lifelong dreams come to fruition.
With three still months still remaining in the 2018 calendar, over 30 CBA current players and alumni have received offers from international clubs and/or have had the opportunity to play on foreign soil:
As players have been receiving opportunities around the globe, the CBA has continued to solidify its relationship in the Caribbean. Earlier this year, the CBA sent nine players to the islands of Antigua & Barbuda and St. Kitts & Nevis, where all of the players helped their respective teams advance to the postseason, with Baltimore's Torey Fassett leading his Flyers Basketball Club to a championship trophy in June and earned himself league MVP honors.
This summer, Illinois Coal Miners head coach, John Spezia, who was named as the Antigua & Barbuda national team head coach as part of the league's partnership with the Caribbean island, led the national team to a silver medal second-place showing in Suriname in the Caribbean Basketball Championship.
The CBA served as the official title sponsor for the Antigua & Barbuda national team, providing all the uniforms and apparel for the players, coaches, and administrative staff, as well receiving the primary and secondary sponsor logo designation on all FIBA-approved game-day uniforms, warm-up apparel, and staff apparel.
With the success of the relationship between the CBA from January to June in the domestic ABBA season, coupled with Antigua's national team success in July through CBA coaches, the CBA and the Caribbean island are looking forward to the next phase of advancing the partnership between the two parties.
In three months (January 2019), the CBA will return back to the Caribbean, as part of the CBA Global Opportunities Program, and bring a new class of CBA players to the island to try out for each of the region's Division-I teams. This year, eight players from the CBA were selected by teams in Antigua and one player from St. Kitts. Next year, potentially up to 20 players could be selected. For prospective players interested in registering for this tryout opportunity, visit http://www.playcba.com/global or http://www.playcba.com/registration
Since 2013, the Central Basketball Association has helped over 210 players receive opportunities to play on international soil and has expanded its unprecedented influence, network, and relationship across the globe. With the CBA Global Opportunities Program scheduled to take players overseas in January 2019 and the 2019 CBA season set to begin in approximately five months, the short-term and long-term future of the league appears better than ever.
(Photo courtesy of: Gemma Hazelwood)
One month after the 2018 Central Basketball Association season concluded its sixth season, the Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association completed its 50th season last night.
And in the golden jubilee season that started the first year of partnership between the CBA and the ABBA, it resulted in a massive success for all parties involved.
Baltimore's Torey Fassett, who led his Flyers club to a 3-0 sweep last night in the 2018 ABBA Finals, was named Most Valuable Player for the league with his dominating play throughout the season. Fassett, who scored 21 points in the final game, scored critical field goals for his club during the 6-month campaign, not only leading his team to a 13-4 regular season record and 2-seed in the playoffs, but their first championship title since 2014.
The 6-foor-7 forward, who played collegiate basketball at Saint Mary's University in Canada and with the Baltimore Shuckers during the 2017 CBA season, Fassett finished in the top-10 of the ABBA season in most statistical categories: 2nd in total points (521), 7th in rebounds (203), 1st in steals (74), and 8th in blocks (18). He also finished 3rd in points per game (22.7), 1st in steals per game (3.2), 1st in 2-point field goals (169), and 6th in 3-point field goals (35).
The season was also a success for the other CBA players participating in this pilot project in the Caribbean, as Baltimore's Jermaine Bolden led his Oval Ojays squad to the regular season championship and top-seed with a 15-2 record. Bolden led the league in total assists (128), assists per game (5.1), as well as finishing 4th in total steals (62) and 9th in steals per game (2.5).
The third member of the Baltimore roster that played in Antigua, 6-foot-7 forward Benny Iko, also had a successful season in his first year of playing overseas, leading his first-year Steelers team to a 11-6 record and the 4th-seed in the playoffs, where he finished 2nd in total rebounds (294), 2nd in blocked shots (45), 7th in total points (366), and 10th in total steals (43).
Iko's Steelers teammate, Joshua Minner, who played in the CBA in 2015 and played for one year in 2016 in Brazil as part of the CBA Global Opportunities Program in South America, also dominated play this year, as he finished the league 1st in total points (568), 2nd in points per game (24.7), 2nd in 2-point field goals (168), 4th in 3-point field goals (42), 6th in total rebounds (204), 7th in total assists (71), 6th in total steals (49), and 9th in total blocks (17).
The 2018 CBA partnership with Antigua has been deemed a success by the league's Caribbean partners, and brought attention and notoriety to the sport of basketball in the region that had not been witnessed in a long time.
The local players within Antigua gained valuable experience playing alongside the seven CBA players, which will help them as the national team heads to Suriname next week to participate in the 2018 FIBA Championships. The Antigua national team will be led by Illinois Coal Miners' head coach and general manager, John Spezia, where not only CBA players, but CBA coaches have received opportunities to boost basketball in the Caribbean as part of this partnership.
With the 2018-2019 CBA Global Opportunities set to begin registration on June 15, it will be exciting to see next year's class of CBA players participating in the 2019 Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association season. The registration link will be active at the end of the week at http://www.playcba.com/global and http://www.playcba.com/registration
Prior to the 2018 Central Basketball Association season, Memphis' Jameel Best had focused his entire life on the gridiron as a football player, playing tight end for NCAA Division-I Ole Miss University before transitioning to defensive end for NCAA Division-I Mississippi Valley State University.
Earlier this year, the 23-year-old Memphis-native decided to extend his athletic career in the post-graduate world by converting into a basketball player and use the CBA as a springboard for advancement in the sport.
The 6-foot-9 center certainly did not disappoint in his first full season of playing basketball, as he not only frustrated his opponents in attempting to defend against his large frame, but he also carried the Memphis Rail Runners to their first winning season in team history.
In eight regular season games and one playoff game this year, Best shot 56.4% from the field, averaged 18.8 points per game, and scored in double-digits in each game including four games featuring 20+ point scoring totals.
But it was on the glass where Best had the significant advantage and effect over his opponents, where he posted double-digit rebounds in every game, averaging 15.4 rebounds per contest. He further posted a league-record 59 offensive rebounds this season, and finished the year second in the CBA with 139 total rebounds.
Some of Best's top performances this year were also mind-boggling: 20 points (9-for-15 from the field) and 20 rebounds (9 offensive) in an overtime victory versus Bowling Green; 24 points (9-for-14 from the field) and 16 rebounds (7 offensive) in handing Middle Tennessee its only regular season loss of the season; and 27 points (11-for-18 from the field) and 17 rebounds (8 offensive) in the playoff defeat against Indianapolis.
As a result of being one of only four players this year to average a double-double, where through his performances that mesmerized scouts with his raw talent, in which he also carried his team multiple times to victory and a playoff berth, Best has been named as the 2018 CBA Most Valuable Player.
Prior winners of the award include: Illinois guard, Tyron Criswell (2017, University of Nevada) who was a former NBA D-League draft pick and earned a contract in Israel after the 2017 CBA season; Columbus forward, Brett McKnight (2016, University of Akron), who was also a former NBA D-League player and played in Taiwan through the CBA Global Opportunities Program after the 2016 CBA season; Mississippi guard, Mardracus Wade (2015, University of Arkansas), who earned three NBA D-League contracts in the last three years after playing in the 2015 CBA season and playing in Taiwan as part of the CBA Global Opportunities Program; and Fort Wayne guard, Antonio Cannon (2014, Indiana Tech University) who has played internationally in Brazil and Canada through the CBA Global Opportunities Program.
Although his team was not successful in the 2018 CBA Postseason Tournament, Middle Tennessee head coach, Nathan Willhite, turned around a club that suffered through its worst season in organization history in 2017.
One year after making it to the CBA title game in 2016, Middle Tennessee collapsed to a 1-7 record in 2017, leading to the return of Willhite for the 2018 CBA season, who had previously coached the team in the league from 2013-2015. During that time period, Willhite led Middle Tennessee to its first league championship title in 2014, and posted a 17-10 record in that span, including a 3-1 record in the playoffs.
This year, Willhite led Middle Tennessee to a 7-1 regular season record, including 4-0 at home, while guiding the team as the best defensive squad in the league, where they allowed a league-low 85.0 points per game. including allowing only 83.5 points per game on the road on their opponent's home court.
By taking essentially the same Middle Tennessee roster that went 1-7 last year and finished in last place in the league, and converting that to a 7-1 record this year and a second-seed in the playoffs, Willhite's accomplishments have earned him Coach of the Year honors for the 2018 CBA Season.
Despite the Illinois Coal Miners finishing the 2018 CBA season with a disappointing 1-7 record, their starting 6-foot-8 forward reached all sorts of positive milestones in his second year with the team.
Ayron Worthington, who played collegiate basketball at Wayne State College, put up record numbers in the rebounding category, finishing with a league-record 140 total rebounds this season, including averaging a league-high 17.5 rebounds per game. He also put together the best three-game stretch in league history in terms of rebounds, breaking the league-record with 24 rebounds in a game at Fort Wayne, followed by tying his own record with 24 rebounds a week later at Indianapolis, and then shattering his own mark a week after that in the season finale against Indianapolis with 29 rebounds.
Worthington further complemented his rebounding numbers with outstanding play on offense, where he averaged 15.1 points per game and 4.1 assists per game - earning him 1st-Team CBA All-Star honors for the 2018 league season.
As a result of his sensational play, and within days following the recent conclusion of the 2018 CBA season, Worthington attracted the attention of many global scouts, and immediately earned his first career international opportunity by heading to the Caribbean island of St. Kitts & Nevis, where he makes his season debut this evening.
With the Central Basketball Association partnering with the Caribbean island of Antigua & Barbuda earlier this year, where the seven CBA players are set to conclude their 5-month stay on the island after the playoffs are completed at the end of this month, Worthington becomes the first of many CBA athletes who will now earn additional opportunities on a second Caribbean island, as St. Kitts & Nevis officially becomes the second island to partner with the CBA in an effort to attract CBA talent to promote youth basketball and development in the region.
Based on the performances during the 2018 CBA season, below are the individual recipients of various all-star awards. Players needed to have played in at least half of their respective team's games this year in order to be eligible. Four member teams (Illinois, Indianapolis, Memphis, and Middle Tennessee) had three players each represented on the all-star squads, followed by four teams that each had two players earning accolades (Baltimore, Bowling Green, Fort Wayne, and Jackson).
Antonio Cannon (Fort Wayne) earned his fifth consecutive all-star award, in which he earned 1st-Team All-Star achievements in 2014 and 2017, and 2nd-Team All-Star in 2015, 2016, and in 2018. Four players also earned all-star awards for the third time in their careers: Chrishawn Hopkins (Indianapolis), who was named as a 1st-Team All-Star in 2016 and 2017 and a 2nd-Team All-Star in 2018; Anthony White, Jr. (Indianapolis), who was named 1st-Team All-Star in 2016, and a 2nd-Team All-Star in 2017 and 2018; Roy McFadgon (Bowling Green), who became the first player to earn All-Star recognition for two different clubs, earning 2nd-Team All-Star honors in 2016 and 2017 as a member of Middle Tennessee and 3rd-Team All-Star in 2018 with Bowling Green; and Marquis Patton (Middle Tennessee) who was named 3rd-Team All-Star in 2016 and 2017, and 1st-Team All-Star in 2018.
2018 CBA 1st-Team All-Stars
Guard: Myles Thrash (Middle Tennessee Storm / Stillman College)
24.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.5 spg
41.5 fg%, 85.4 ft%, 31.5 3pt%
Guard: Marquis Patton (Middle Tennessee Storm / Fisk University)
15.7 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 6.9 apg, 3.6 spg
49.5 fg%, 83.3 ft%, 44.1 3pt%
Guard: Monte Burney (Bowling Green Hornets / Martin Methodist College)
20.6 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 4.4 apg, 3.2 spg
42.2 fg%, 75.7 ft%, 36.5 3pt%
Forward: Ayron Worthington (Illinois Coal Miners / Wayne State University)
15.1 ppg, 17.5 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.2 spg
43.1 fg%, 45.5 ft%
Forward: Jameel Best (Memphis Rail Runners / Mississippi Valley State University)
18.8 ppg, 15.4 rpg
56.4 fg%, 52.5 ft%
2018 CBA 2nd-Team All-Stars
Guard: Antonio Cannon (Fort Wayne Flite / Indiana Tech University)
21.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.3 spg
40.0 fg%, 72.1 ft%, 32.5 3pt%
Guard: Anthony White, Jr. (Indianapolis Blaze / Mercer University)
20.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.7 spg
50.9 fg%, 88.9 ft%, 49.2 3pt%
Guard: Chrishawn Hopkins (Indianapolis Blaze / Butler University)
13.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.7 apg, 2.3 spg
47.7 fg%, 71.1 ft%, 30.3 3pt%
Forward: Denzel Smith (Illinois Coal Miners / Tarleton State University)
22.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.3 spg, 1.5 bpg
48.6 fg%, 72.2 ft%, 31.0 3pt%
Forward: Kendrick Coleman (Jackson Eagles / Lambuth College)
15.8 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.5 apg, 2.4 spg
51.9 fg%, 45.8 ft%, 36.8 3pt%
2018 CBA 3rd-Team All-Stars
Guard: Dontarion Wright (Memphis Rail Runners / LeMoyne-Owen College)
23.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.1 spg
39.5 fg%, 71.7 ft%, 27.0 3pt%
Guard: Ervin Herron II (Jackson Eagles / University of West Florida)
20.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.9 spg
35.6 fg%, 76.9 ft%, 25.8 3pt%
Guard: Widgett Washington (Illinois Coal Miners / Central Missouri University)
18.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 5.0 apg, 1.7 spg
36.8 fg%, 72.7 ft%, 23.3 3pt%
Forward: Joshua Sain (Middle Tennessee Storm / Middle Tennessee State University)
19.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.5 spg
42.5 fg%, 63.2 ft%, 35.1 3pt%
Forward: Roy McFadgon (Bowling Green Hornets / Lee University)
15.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.8 spg, 2.2 bpg
45.8 fg%, 56.2 ft%
2018 CBA 4th-Team All-Stars
Guard: Antonio Wright (Baltimore Shuckers / Essex CC)
20.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg
47.4 fg%, 60.6 ft%, 34.0 3pt%
Guard: Keith Barron (Memphis Rail Runners / Miles College)
16.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.1 spg
38.0 fg%, 68.4 ft%, 35.6 3pt%
Guard: Kendall Allison (Baltimore Shuckers / Ohio Valley University)
14.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.6 spg, 1.1 bpg
46.1 fg%, 76.2 ft%
Forward: Terrance Beasley (Fort Wayne Flite / University of West Florida)
14.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.1 spg
51.1 fg%, 90.0 ft%, 35.0 3pt%
Forward: William McClure (Indianapolis Blaze / Central Michigan University)
6.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.2 spg, 2.6 bpg
62.5 fg%, 40.7 ft%
2018 CBA CHAMPIONSHIP
(3) FORT WAYNE 98, (1) INDIANAPOLIS 95 (2OT): (Fort Wayne, Ind.) - In a battle between the regular season champion the last two years in Indianapolis, who entered the title game with an undefeated record, and the back-to-back defending league champions in Fort Wayne, the matchup on the court did not disappoint. In a back-and-forth affair, it appeared Indianapolis pulled away late in the game to seal victory as they went on a 13-5 run to take a 76-71 lead with under a minute remaining. But Fort Wayne's Elijah Wilson-Thomas was fouled on a three-point field goal with 23 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to one after a made free throw at 76-75. After Indianapolis' Chrishawn Hopkins hit one of two free throws to take the lead to 77-75 with five seconds remaining, the 2014 league MVP, Antonio Cannon, drove the lane and hit a layup at the buzzer to send the game into overtime at 77-77. In the first extra period, with seven seconds remaining and the game tied at 87-87, Wilson-Thomas attempted a floater to win the game only to be blocked by Indianapolis' William McClure. On the ensuing transition up the court after the blocked shot, Indianapolis' Anthony White, Jr. attempted a game-winning floater of his own, but was rejected as well on the other end by Fort Wayne's Antonio Wilson at the buzzer. In the second overtime though, Fort Wayne prevailed through as Antonio Cannon hit the game-winning jumper with 13 seconds remaining, while White, Jr. missed a game-tying three-pointer for Indianapolis with six seconds left - giving Fort Wayne the improbable 98-95 double-overtime victory and their third consecutive championship title. Fort Wayne, which lost two regular season games to Indianapolis earlier this year, were led by the 2018 CBA Postseason Tournament MVP, Antonio Cannon, with a game-high 33 points and Ronald Lucas III with 15 points. Indianapolis, which fell to Fort Wayne in the title game for the second year in a row, were led by Tyler Bibbs with 15 points and William McClure with 11 points.
With the Central Basketball Association completing its sixth season, the attention now shifts to the critical offseason programs, as players across the league look for international opportunities to advance their basketball careers in the global market. The CBA has helped over 200 athletes play on foreign soil after playing in the league, and looks to increase that number this offseason with numerous opportunities awaiting in Europe, South America, the Caribbean, and Australia. Be sure to keep up-to-date on all news and events related to the CBA this offseason by following the league on Instagram (@playCBA) and Twitter (@playCBA).
(1) INDIANAPOLIS 98, (4) MEMPHIS 80: (Fort Wayne, Ind.) - In their first meeting with each other in league history, Indianapolis and Memphis put together a competitive playoff game early on in the first semifinal game of the 2018 CBA Postseason Tournament. It appeared Indianapolis, who finished the regular season with an undefeated record, recieved a brief scare as Memphis jumped out to an early advantage, leading by as many as eight points in the first quarter. But those that have been following the back-to-back regular season champions were fully aware that Indianapolis has not had good opening periods all season, trailing in six out of the eight regular season games through the first frame of the game. It was much of the same script against Memphis last night, as despite the early deficit, Indianapolis regained the lead in the second quarter and blew upon the game in the second half to earn their second consecutive championship berth. Although Memphis' Jameel Best earned his ninth double-double of the season, Indianapolis' William McClure's unofficial nine blocks in the contest stifled Memphis offensively in the paint, forcing Memphis to unsuccessfully shoot from the outside, where they shot a league-worst 26.9% from the three-point line during the regular season. Indianapolis, who is seeking their first championship title Sunday afternoon, had five players in double-digits, led by Tyler Bibbs (17 points) and Anthony White, Jr. (15 points), while Memphis (5-4) were led by Best with 27 points.
(3) FORT WAYNE 94, (2) MIDDLE TENNESSEE 86: (Fort Wayne, Ind.) - In the 2014 CBA Postseason Tournament, the two teams met in Nashville and competed in a thrilling double-overtime semifinal game with Middle Tennessee prevailing, and ultimately winning their first league title against St. Louis in the finals. Two years later in the 2016 CBA Postseason Tournament, Fort Wayne, on their home court, knocked off Middle Tennessee by 27 points in the championship game, to not only have the largest margin of victory in a league playoff contest, but also earning them their first championship title and becoming the first team to finish the season with an undefeated record. The third playoff contest between the two teams last night appeared headed towards a repeat of the 2016 title game, as a back-and-forth first half turned into a third-quarter rout, as Fort Wayne led by as many as 17 points. But Middle Tennessee put together a sensational rally in the final quarter, to not only erase the double-digit deficit and stun the crowd, but taking their first lead at 86-85 with five minutes to play. But with a shorthanded roster, the second-seeded team from Nashville ran out of gas, as Fort Wayne used a 9-0 run in the final five minutes of the matchup, to pull away and clinch a spot in the CBA championship game for a league-record fourth consecutive year. Fort Wayne, who will look to earn their third straight league title Sunday afternoon, had five players in double-digits, including Terrance Beasley with 21 points and Antonio Cannon with 19 points. Middle Tennessee, which fell to 1-4 against Fort Wayne on the road, were led by Myles Thrash (25 points), Joshua Sain (22 points) and Torye Pelham (20 points).
2018 CBA CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (2:00 p.m. ET - Fort Wayne, Ind.)
(1) Indianapolis vs. (3) Fort Wayne
The two in-state rivals will face each other again for the second consecutive season, with top-seeded Indianapolis, who were the 1-seed last year as well, looking to exact revenge after their defeat to Fort Wayne in the 2017 CBA Championship game in Danville, Illinois.
Indianapolis will be striving for their first championship title and becoming the second team in league history with an undefeated record, while Fort Wayne, who will play in their fourth straight championship game, will be vying for their third consecutive league title.
Fort Wayne is 7-2 all-time in the postseason, including 4-1 at home, and 3-1 in championship games. Indianapolis is 3-2 all-time in the postseason, including 2-1 away from their home court, and 0-1 in championship games.
During their two regular season matchups this year, Indianapolis defeated Fort Wayne 95-94 on April 15th in Indianapolis, and then edged out Fort Wayne again in an overtime victory, 103-100, two weeks ago in Fort Wayne. The two teams have met twice in the playoffs, with Fort Wayne emerging out on top 103-89 in the semifinals of the 2016 CBA Postseason Tournament, and last year's 95-92 victory in the title game. Overall, Fort Wayne leads the series 5-3 over Indianapolis; however, Indianapolis has won three out of the last four games between the two clubs.
Statistically, both teams are quite competitive as demonstrated through the regular season figures below, with Indianapolis edging out Fort Wayne in most categories:
Field Goal Percentage: Indianapolis 46.3%, Fort Wayne 45.1%
Free Throw Percentage: Indianapolis 78.3%, Fort Wayne 69.4%
3-Point Percentage: Indianapolis 38.9%, Fort Wayne 35.0%
Rebounds Per Game: Fort Wayne 47.6, Indianapolis 47.4
Assists Per Game: Indianapolis 21.2, Fort Wayne 15.0
Steals Per Game: Indianapolis 13.0, Fort Wayne 7.6
Blocks Per Game: Indianapolis 4.8, Fort Wayne 2.6
Turnovers Per Game: Indianapolis 15.6, Fort Wayne 16.9
Forced Turnovers Per Game: Indianapolis 20.4, Fort Wayne 16.8
The following is the history of championship games in the CBA:
2013: (1) St. Louis 106, (2) Bowling Green 97
2014: (2) Middle Tennessee 106, (4) St. Louis 103
2015: (2) Bowling Green 97, (4) Fort Wayne 95
2016: (1) Fort Wayne 110, (2) Middle Tennessee 83
2017: (2) Fort Wayne 95, (1) Indianapolis 92
The 2018 CBA Championship game, which will conclude the Central Basketball Association's sixth year of competition, will be broadcast live this afternoon on multiple platforms this afternoon, as viewers can watch the contest on the CBA website, CBA Facebook page, and/or the CBA YouTube page.