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Premier Basketball League

Premier Basketball League (PBL)
Sport Basketball
Founded 2007
CEO Tom McGinn
Inaugural season 2008
No. of teams 12
Country  United States
Continent FIBA Americas (Americas)
Most recent champion(s) Rochester Razorsharks (2014)
Most titles Rochester Razorsharks (4)
Official website PBL

The Premier Basketball League, often abbreviated to the PBL, is an American professional men's basketball minor league that began play in January 2008. In the past, there have been teams also in Canada and Puerto Rico. The league season typically operates from January to April.


  • History 1
    • 2008 season 1.1
    • 2009 season 1.2
      • Franchise troubles 1.2.1
      • 2009 Playoffs 1.2.2
    • 2010 season 1.3
    • 2011 season 1.4
    • 2012 season 1.5
    • 2013 season 1.6
    • 2014 season 1.7
    • 2015 season 1.8
  • Teams 2
    • History of Teams 2.1
  • Champions 3
  • Awards 4
    • MVP 4.1
    • Playoffs MVP 4.2
    • Coach of the Year 4.3
    • Sixth Man of the Year 4.4
    • Defensive Player of the Year 4.5
    • Rookie of the Year 4.6
    • Newcomer of the Year 4.7
  • References 5
  • External links 6


2008 season

The PBL was formed after a number of disagreements between several former member teams of the modern American Basketball Association (ABA) and ABA CEO Joe Newman.[1] Eight of the initial ten PBL teams either played in or were slated to play in the ABA.

In early 2007, Newman was voted out of his position as CEO of the ABA by the board of directors, which included Maryland Nighthawks owner and then-ABA COO Tom Doyle (who was later a commissioner of the PBL), citing dissatisfaction with how Newman executed his duties as CEO. Newman responded by using his and other shares that formed a controlling interest to remove the entire board of directors.[2]

Newman then refused to reschedule a weather-delayed playoff game between the Rochester Razorsharks and Wilmington Sea Dawgs although the two teams agreed to a make up date, wanting instead to force Rochester to accept a forfeit.[3] It was on the heels of these two incidents that the Nighthawks and Razorsharks ownership groups decided to found the PBL.[1]

Former Houston Rockets point guard and current NBA on TNT analyst Kenny Smith was the league's first commissioner.[1]

2009 season

During the 2008 off season, six more former ABA teams decided to move to the PBL. First, on May 9, the Manchester Millrats and the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 ABA champion Vermont Frost Heaves moved.[4] Then on May 20, the inactive Detroit Panthers re-activated and joined the league.[5] And on May 21, the Quebec Kebs joined.[6] On June 5 another team with an ABA history, the Augusta Groove, joined the league, but from the Continental Basketball Association.[7] On June 23, the Halifax Rainmen, an ABA team the previous year, announced they were also joining the PBL after a bid to join the NBA Development League fell short.[8] The first International Basketball League defection came on July 31 when the Battle Creek Knights joined the league.[9] The Rochester Razorsharks went on to win their second straight PBL title after beating the Battle Creek Knights.

Franchise troubles

On February 5, 2009, the league removed the original ownership of the Montreal Sasquatch for non-payment of players and removed the team from the league.[10] Montreal's four best players were drafted by other teams and all of the other players were given unconditional releases.[11] However, on February 11, the league announced new ownership for the team and the team was reinstated for the remainder of the year.[12]

Two thirds of the way through their inaugural season, there was a split among the members of the ownership group of the Mid-Michigan Destroyers and the team suspended operations for the remainder of 2009.[13] The league also said the remaining Mid-Michigan games on the schedule would be filled by the remaining teams in the league.[13]

2009 Playoffs

The Rochester Razorsharks had to delay the third game of their semi-final series. By the time the finals would have taken place, there were concerns about date availability at Kellogg Arena (home of the Battle Creek Knights)[14] and the ability of the league to honor a commitment to broadcast the games overseas due to limited broadcast capability from Kellogg Arena. Rather than the scheduled best-of three finals series a single game final was played at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.[15][16]

2010 season

The Battle Creek Knights, the Wilmington Sea Dawgs and the Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry would not return for the 2010 season.[17] The Maryland Nighthawks changed the name of their franchise to the Maryland GreenHawks.[18] The Puerto Rico Capitanes joined the league, performing concurrently in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional.

At the end of the season, the league officially severed ties with the Buffalo Stampede, citing a failure by the team to adhere to league standards.[19] The Maryland GreenHawks were also dropped from the league.[20] The Bluegrass Stallions, another ABA team, joined.[21] The league also added the expansion Dayton Air Strikers.[22]

2011 season

In January, the Vermont Frost Heaves abruptly announced the cessation of operations and their players were dispersed via a draft.[23] The Rochester Razorsharks won the league championship after several controversial games where the impartiality of officiating was called into question by other league members.[24] In addition, the Lawton Constitution reported that Micheal Ray Richardson, the coach of the Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry, stated they will not return to the PBL.

On 24 May 2011, the league filed a lawsuit against the Our Sports Central website and one poster over posts on the message boards claiming some of the league games were fixed.[25]

2012 season

The league approved expansion teams in Chicago and Scranton, PA for the 2012 PBL season. Also, Chattanooga, TN, Hershey, PA, and Madison, WI were named as cities pending approval for expansion teams.[26]

On 18 July 2011, the PBL announced the Dayton Air Strikers were returning to the league for the 2012 season.[27] In addition, the Northwestern Illinois-based Sauk Valley Predators began their inaugural season in the PBL for 2012.[28] On August 22, 2011, it was announced the Charleston Gunners would be the PBL's sixth team for the 2012 season.[29] On September 15, 2011, it was announced the Northwest Indiana Stars were leaving the ABA to be the PBL's seventh team for the 2012 season.[30] On 21 September 2011 it was announced the Lake Michigan Admirals were also leaving the ABA to be the PBL's eighth team for the 2012 season.[31] On 23 September 2011 it was announced that the PBL's ninth team for the 2012 season would be the Central Illinois Drive based in Bloomington, Illinois.[32] On October 12, 2011, it was announced that the Indiana Diesels were also leaving the ABA to be the PBL's tenth team for the 2012 season.[33] On October 14, 2011, it was announced that the St. Louis Pioneers were also leaving the ABA to join the PBL, changing their name to the St. Louis Phoenix.[34]

The Central Illinois Drive won the PBL championship for 2012, defeating the Rochester RazorSharks, 101-80. The Drive was 18-1 in regular season and 22-1 total.

2013 season

The 2013 season began in March 2013. During the off season the league announced it would be merging with the Independent Basketball Association to form the IBA-PBL.[35] Prior to the start of the season, the defending champions, the Central Illinois Drive, ceased operations, but were then rebooted as the Bloomington Flex.

On 24 May 2013, the six PBL teams announced that the two leagues would cease interleague play, and that the leagues would hold separate playoffs.[36] In the first round of the PBL playoffs, the Bloomington Flex beat the Indiana Diesels two games to none, and the Rochester Razorsharks beat the Sauk Valley Predators two games to none. In the finals, the Flex beat the RazorSharks two games to none to win their second consecutive title.

On 21 September 2013, the PBL announced the first of what is expected to be up to six expansion teams, with the Lima Express signing to play for the 2014 season, which will begin in January.

On 12 November 2013, the PBL announced the addition of the Pee Dee Vipers, an expansion team based in Florence, SC. Three days later, the league announced that the Lake Michigan Admirals would return for 2014. On November 25, the PBL announced the addition of the Buffalo 716ers and the Erie Hurricane. In late November the Chicago Tide joined the league.

On 6 February 2014, it was announced that the newly formed Grand Rapids Cyclones would join the PBL.[37]

2014 season

When league officials realized the championship series, as scheduled, would take place over Easter weekend, the league moved the playoff schedule up by one week at the request of Scott Henderson and the Bloomington Flex. The change in schedule resulted in the second-place team in the East Division, the Carolina Pee Dee Vipers having no available dates in its arena, the Florence Civic Center. The league immediately announced that the 2014 playoffs would then consist of a finals between the two division winners with a best two out of three championship series. The finals series would start Sunday, April 6 in Rochester. Bloomington, the two-time defending league champions, balked at having to play a game Friday, traveling Saturday, and then playing Sunday afternoon in Rochester siting previous venue obligation and not enough travel time between their scheduled game Friday and the first championship game Sunday. League officials offered numerous solutions for them to resolve the venue issue and make travel easy including by flight with the league absorbing the cost. Mr. Henderson refused saying he had a personal conflict on Saturday, and could not make the trip personally and therefore the team would not either. The league denied the request to change the date of game one that was also going to be televised on national television. The league then offered to have Mr. Henderson flown separately the day of the game Sunday so he could make his personal conflict and be in New York in plenty of time for Mr. Henderson to make the game.

Mr. Henderson again refused the league's offer and was subsequently suspended from the league for unwillingness to cooperate and inability to play the scheduled championship series. The Midwest Division's second place Indianapolis Diesels were then crowned the new division champions and would be scheduled to play against the RazorSharks in the 2014 PBL championship series.

The finals started Sunday, April 6, in Rochester as scheduled, with the RazorSharks coming away with a one-point win over the Diesels. Rochester won the game on a rebound tip-in after two missed free throws which were awarded on a blocking call against Indianapolis with :03 remaining in the game.

2015 season

The pre-season Thanksgiving tournament was marred by the Philadelphia Flight’s failure to appear. The host Buffalo 716ers were expected as close to the event as November 26 to play the Flight on November 29[38], but, according to a since-deleted Facebook post, Buffalo was informed on Nov. 28 that the Flight would not be attending the tournament. Philadelphia was replaced in the tournament by the Erie Hurricane. The Rochester RazorSharks ended up winning the tournament, defeating Erie 121-117 in the final on November 30. Grand Rapids defeated Buffalo in the consolation game, 107-104.

The league’s opening weekend saw further problems involving the Flight. Erie was supposed to open its season at Philadelphia on Saturday, Dec. 6, but arrived in Philadelphia for the game to “a locked gymnasium and no opponent,” according to an article on the Erie Times-News website[39]. The article said “Hurricane owner and president Tawan Slaughter said the league office is investigating the circumstances surrounding Saturday's game.” Erie’s official Facebook page confirmed Philadelphia’s failure to appear[40].

A second cancellation took place when the Grand Rapids Cyclones were scheduled to host the Indianapolis Diesels on Sunday, Dec. 7. A Dec. 6 Facebook post on the official Grand Rapids Cyclones page states the game will be rescheduled “due to facility issues” and that the game will be held “further into [the] season.” Indianapolis informed the Cyclones and the league that they would not play on the surface, reportedly a Sport Court synthetic court, at Grand Rapids’ home venue, Rivertown Sports in Grandville, Michigan, due to safety concerns about the surface. The PBL manual also states that teams must play on a wood floor.

The rest of the opening weekend’s games were played, with Rochester defeating Carolina Pee Dee 132-77, Buffalo defeating Lynchburg 127-87, and Lake Michigan defeating Racine 114-105 on Saturday. The Sunday games saw Carolina Pee Dee beating Erie 119-94 and Ohio Lima defeating Danville 125-113.


Division Team City Arena
Buffalo 716ers Buffalo, New York Tapestry Charter School
Erie Hurricane Erie, Pennsylvania East High School
Lynchburg Titans Lynchburg, Virginia Lynchburg City Armory
Pee Dee Vipers Florence, South Carolina Florence Civic Center
Philadelphia Flight Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Girard College
Rochester Razorsharks Rochester, New York Blue Cross Arena
Danville Riverhawks Danville, Illinois David S. Palmer Arena
Grand Rapids Cyclones Grand Rapids, Michigan DeltaPlex Arena
Indianapolis Diesels[33] Indianapolis, Indiana Indy South Sports Academy
Lake Michigan Admirals[31] St. Joseph, Michigan Lake Michigan Catholic High School
Lima Express Lima, Ohio Lima Central Catholic High School
Racine Storm Racine, Wisconsin Case High School

History of Teams


Year Champion Runner-up Result
2008 Rochester Razorsharks Arkansas Impact 142-112
2009 Rochester Razorsharks Battle Creek Knights 152-115
2010 Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry Rochester Razorsharks 2-1 (best-of 3)
2011 Rochester Razorsharks Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry 2-1 (best-of 3)
2012 Central Illinois Drive Rochester Razorsharks 2-0 (best-of 3)
2013 Bloomington Flex Rochester Razorsharks 2-0 (best-of 3)
2014 Rochester Razorsharks Indianapolis Diesels 2-1 (best-of 3)



Playoffs MVP

Coach of the Year

Sixth Man of the Year

  • 2009: Alex Harper, Wilmington Sea Dawgs
  • 2010: Melvin Council, Rochester Razorsharks
  • 2011: Eddie Smith, Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry
  • 2012: Rodney Edgerson, Central Illinois Drive
  • 2013: Darin Mency, Rochester Razorsharks
  • 2014: John Hart, Indianapolis Diesels

Defensive Player of the Year

  • 2009: Jonas Pierre, Quebec Kebs and Al Stewart, Manchester Millrats
  • 2010: Eric Crookshank, Halifax Rainmen
  • 2011: Eric Crookshank, Halifax Rainmen
  • 2012: Marcel Anderson, Chicago Muscle
  • 2013: Nate Fuqua, Bloomington Flex
  • 2014: Courtney Blackmore, Lake Michigan Admirals

Rookie of the Year

  • 2010: Eric Gilchrese, Manchester Millrats & Halifax Rainmen
  • 2011: Todd McCoy, Rochester Razorsharks
  • 2012:
  • 2013: Josiah Whitehead, Bloomington Flex
  • 2014: Jamaal Francis, Lynchburg Titans

Newcomer of the Year

  • 2009: A.J. Millien, Augusta Groove & Halifax Rainmen
  • 2010: Scooter Sherrill, Maryland GreenHawks
  • 2011: Kenny Jones, Kentucky Bluegrass Stallions


  1. ^ a b c Rao, Chay (2008-01-02), Nighthawks prep for New Year, new league, Gazette.Net, retrieved 2008-01-15 
  2. ^ United States Securities And Exchange Commission Form 8-K, 2007-01-31, retrieved 2008-05-21 
  3. ^ George, Rachel (2007-03-24), Sea Dawgs are unlikely hosts, Wilmington Star News, retrieved 2008-05-21 
  4. ^ Premier Basketball League Welcomes Vermont Frost Heaves And Manchester Millrats, Our Sports Central, 2008-05-09, retrieved 2008-05-09 
  5. ^ Detroit Panthers Join Premier Basketball League, Our Sports Central, 2008-05-20, retrieved 2008-05-20 
  6. ^ Quebec Kebs Join Premier Basketball League, Our Sports Central, 2008-05-21, retrieved 2008-05-21 
  7. ^ Premier Basketball League Welcomes Augusta Groove, Our Sports Central, 2008-06-05, retrieved 2008-06-05 
  8. ^ Rainmen to join Premier Basketball League, Halifax Metro.Ca, 2008-06-23, retrieved 2008-06-23 
  9. ^ Premier Basketball League Welcomes Battle Creek Knights, Our Sports Central, 2008-07-31, retrieved 2008-07-31 
  10. ^ PBL Makes Decision to Remove Montreal, Our Sports Central, 2009-02-05, retrieved 2009-02-05 
  11. ^ Team Montreal (formerly Montreal Sasquat'ch), retrieved 2010-05-28 
  12. ^ Premier Basketball League Continues in Montreal this Season, Our Sports Central, 2009-02-11, retrieved 2009-02-12 
  13. ^ a b PBL Grants Mid-Michigan a Suspension of Operations, Our Sports Central, 2009-02-25, retrieved 2009-02-25 
  14. ^ Van Horn, Chris (2009-04-19), Rochester RazorSharks staying home to defend title, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, retrieved 2009-04-20 
  15. ^ PBL in China, 2009-05-14, retrieved 2010-05-28 
  16. ^ 2009 PBL Championship Game Announced,, 2009-04-15, retrieved 2010-05-28 
  17. ^ Krieger, Dan (2009-08-24), Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report, Our Sports Central, retrieved 2009-10-18 
  18. ^, 2009-10-26, retrieved 2009-10-26 
  19. ^ Premier Basketball League Reorganizes, Our Sports Central, 2010-05-24, retrieved 2010-05-24 
  20. ^ Freeman, Brian (2010-07-03), PBL looking to add Puerto Rican teams to league, Halifax Chronicle Herald, retrieved 2010-07-13 
  21. ^ Matthews, Bob (2010-08-10), Mike Ryba also an amazing Red Wing, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, retrieved 2010-08-10 
  22. ^ PBL Welcomes New Team, Our Sports Central, 2010-09-15, retrieved 2010-09-15 
  23. ^ Vermont Frost Heaves hoops team folds,  
  24. ^ Ducharme, Jeff (2011-04-13), Mill Rats to return next season - but in what league?, Saint John Telegraph Journal, retrieved 2011-04-19 
  25. ^ Premier Basketball League, Inc. v. Reeths et al,, 2011-05-25, retrieved 2011-05-25 
  26. ^ Mandelaro, Jim (2011-04-20), Razorsharks' league announces changes for 2012, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, retrieved 2011-04-23 
  27. ^ Foltz, Chris (2011-07-18), Dayton Air Strikers return for the Premier Basketball League’s 2012 Season, Premier Basketball League, retrieved 2011-09-16 
  28. ^ Foltz, Chris (2011-07-25), Premier Basketball League Welcomes the Sauk Valley Predators to the 2012 Season, Premier Basketball League, retrieved 2011-09-16 
  29. ^ Charleston Gunners Join Premier Basketball League for 2012 Season, Our Sports Central, 2011-08-23, retrieved 2011-09-16 
  30. ^ Northwest Indiana Stars Leave the American Basketball Association to Join the Premier Basketball League for Their Upcoming 2012 Season,  
  31. ^ a b Lake Michigan Admirals and Fans Excited About Joining the Premier Basketball League in 2012, Premier Basketball League, 2011-09-21, retrieved 2011-09-23 
  32. ^ The Premier Basketball League Adds Bloomington, Illinois Team for 2012, Premier Basketball League, 2011-09-23, retrieved 2011-09-23 
  33. ^ a b Indiana Diesels Join the Premier Basketball League (PBL) for Their Upcoming 2012 Season, Premier Basketball League, 2011-10-12, retrieved 2011-10-12 
  34. ^ The Premier Basketball League Welcomes the St. Louis Phoenix for the 2012 Season, Premier Basketball League, 2011-10-14, retrieved 2011-10-14 
  35. ^ [1]
  36. ^ "IBA-PBL Merger Has Ended". 2013-05-24. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  37. ^ ((cite web|url= |title=GR gets new professional basketball team |publisher=WOOD-TB |date=2013-02-06
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^¬if_t=photo_reply

External links

  • PBL official website
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