The New York Wizards began the season with the intention of promoting EBA minor league basketball in and around the NYC area for the purpose of league expansion and to promote their players for overseas play. And they are doing just that.
In the Wizards first EBA game of the season against the Westchester Flying Dutchmen on Saturday 2/16 the Wizards virtually led from wire to wire finishing the game with an impressive 115-90 victory!
The Wizards were without 3 of their top players in this game, all former Division I stars. 6’9” Tim Zephyr (Norfolk State) who averaged a double/double in points and rebounds for the Wizards last season had a broken toe, Eric Ferguson (Arkansas) was one of the league’s best defenders last season, leading the EBA in steals, and among the top 3-pt shooters had the flu, and Sai’Quon Stone (Southern Mississippi) 6’6” who has averaged 13 PPG and 5 SPG in two contests this season was out with a calf injury. The Dutchmen were without Aaron Williams and Joe Dorsette.
“Depth is vital in minor league basketball” Stated Wizards Head Coach Greg Cerillo “The Dutchmen are a quality club and were great hosts for this contest. As a first year club in any league they are in great shape, and should do great things come playoff time.”
“We were embarrassed in our last contest against one of the best teams we have faced (The ABA New Jersey Express), and wanted to come out strong here on both ends of the floor for this contest” Continued Cerillo “And we did just that”
The Wizards are a suffocating defense man to man club (even without 3 of their best defensive players), and even with the Jersey loss where they gave up 105 points, hold clubs to 93 points per contest.
Jamal Webb paced the Dutchmen with 21 points. The Wizards had 7 of their 10 players in uniform score in double digits paced by former Iona guard Trinity Fileds with 21 points (3 of 4 from the 3pt line and 3 assists). Jason Romer (LIU) added 2o points and 2-time league MVP Aubin Scott (LIU) had 11 points and 6 assists. Gerald Colds (Drexel) scored 12 points in 20 minutes of play, and Florida Atlantic’s Shavar Richardson added 11 points inclusive of 2 long range bombs to increase the Wizards consistent double digit lead.
“We are relatively surprised that many teams we face this season drop into a zone against us” Stated Wizards Head Coach Greg Cerillo “It may be match up concerns on our opponents part, and truly it is a complement to our depth if teams feel they have difficulty matching up man to man against us. This has left some shooting lanes open for us and contributed to our increased amount of 3 point makes this year (8 in this contest alone). Our ability to take people inside and dominate the glass has opened up some opportunities for our guards who scored 75 points in this contest.”
The inside play Coach Cerillo was referring to was evident in this contest with 6’9” Ant Cox (Farmingdale) scoring 17 points and grabbing 7 rebounds, 6’7” Brandon Lawley (Mansfield and the EBA’s 2012 Rebounding Champion) scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 boards, 6’6” Khalil McDonald grabbing 6 rebounds (3 offensive) to go along with 4 points. 6’8” Chris Abney (Glenville State) came off the bench to contribute 8 points (4 of 4 from the free throw line) and 5 boards.
Up next for the Wizards is a Friday night contest at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Bethpage on 2/22 at 7 PM, as a fundraising effort for the Challenger Basketball program, against a team looking for EBA entry in the 2013/2014 season from the Boston area called the Metro West Balla’s!