By Doug Halberstadt
Professional basketball returns to the Rockford area this weekend. The Rockford Riverdawgs tip off their third season at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19, when they welcome St. Louis onto their new home court at the Patriot’s Gateway Center, 615 S. Fifth St.
The Riverdawgs play a fast-paced, high-powered brand of basketball featuring some of the region’s top players. They are members of the Independent Basketball Association. The league uses a 22-second shot clock instead of the National Basketball Association’s 24-second clock.
Rockford Auburn High School Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach James Fisher will be the Riverdawgs’ bench boss for the second consecutive season. Fisher has more than 20 years of coaching experience.
“We are excited for this opportunity to continue to unite professional basketball within the community for our third year,” Fisher said. “Our coaches, players and staff value hard work, determination, discipline and respect. We look forward to working within the community to inspire area youth.”
If you’re unable to attend opening night, the Riverdawgs will suit up again at home the following afternoon (Sunday, Oct. 20) against Kankakee. Game time is 5 p.m.
Adult tickets are $6, students are $3 with an I.D., and children younger than 10 are admitted free.
Following is the opening-night roster for the Riverdawgs:
L.C. Robinson — Rockford Jefferson High School, Florida A&M
Kevin Haas — Rockford Boylan Catholic High School, Rock Valley College
Branden Fisher — Rockford Jefferson High School, Bluefield State
Geoff Wing — Oregon High School, Rockford University
Dewaun Neal — Rockford Auburn High School, Rock Valley College
Maurice Smith — Machesney Park Harlem High School, Rockford University
Brandon Parker — Rockford Jefferson High School, Bellevue University
Nick Trent — Hales Fransican High School, Kendall College
Robert Malone — Stephens High School, Rockford University
Deauntae Tatum — Rockford Auburn High School, Sauk Valley Community College
John Hodges — Clinton High School, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Darryl Watkins — Rockford Auburn High School, Rockford University
Kwan Waller — Rockford Auburn High School, Kentucky Wesleyan
Mike Church — Beloit Turner High School, St. Ambrose University
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Oct. 16-22, 2013, issue