A new minor league basketball franchise is landing in Triad area in 2019, as the East Coast Basketball League announced this week that the team would
be active and playing in the 2019 season. The ECBL features teams primarily in the Southeastern United States. The ownership group of the new franchise is led by Marcus Shockley, who is the founder and Executive Director of Neptune Media Group, parent company of NetCast Sports Network, a publisher of sports related programming for broadcast television and live streaming. NetCast Sports Network is the primary broadcast partner of the ECBL.
Additionally, Shockley’s past experience has been in creating and managing national high school basketball showcases which have been featured in SLAM magazine, Dime magazine and on ESPN’s Top 10; Producing broadcasts for pre-NBA draft camps such as the Portsmouth Invitational, and financing various elite high school and pro basketball combine events. In 2018, Shockley was a financial backer for the national College Prospect Combine, launched last year in
partnership with BAM testing, the official tester for the NBA and ACC. Shockley will be serving as owner and interim GM.
“Minor league basketball is tough to get traction in, here in the U.S. Market,” said Shockley, “but I really like what the East Coast Basketball League has done and I didn’t want the Triad area to be left without a team. We bleed basketball in North Carolina and the Winston-Salem, Greensboro area is no different. Our goal is to be competitive in our first year and create a community environment for fans in the area.”
“Obviously, our first priority is getting our structure and management in place,” added Shockley, “one of our immediate tasks will be to name a head coach, and we are behind most of the other teams in the league in organizing for the season. There’s a mountain of work that has to be done before we ever tip for our first game. I feel confident that the staff we are putting together is capable of accomplishing it.”
Kishon Bishop of Blue Chip Basketball Academy has also been named as an ownership partner in the new organization and brings the experience of organizing the Triad All-Star Classic each year, which features the top players from the regional high schools, as well as running several events such as the Blue Chip fall league and the Triad First 48, an elite high school event. Bishop previously played for the national team for his birth country of St. Vincent & the Grenadines and organized the Triad Pro Am summer league for several years.
Winston-Salem will be playing in the Northeast Division of the Northern Conference this season, along with teams from Hickory, Rowan County and Raleigh. Hickory is the defending Northern Conference champion and was the runner up in the 2018 ECBL Championship. The Wolves expect their first game to be March 2nd of 2019.
“The league has some solid competition, ” said Shockley, “of course Hickory is the team to beat in our conference, but Prime Time (based in Rock Hill, SC) is the defending champion, and there were several teams with loaded rosters last season. Many of the players in the ECBL are in between overseas contracts or coming off of their contracts.”
The team expects to hold open tryouts in January, with one located in Winston-Salem and another in Greensboro.
For more information on the Winston-Salem Wolves, visit WSWolves.com.