Jacksonville selected to host Midwest Professional Basketball franchise

By Ryne Turke on July 20 at 8:36pm

The Midwest Professional Basketball Association is expanding to Jacksonville.

MPBA Associate Commissioner Craig Fata says the Jacksonville Generals are the first of multiple teams set to join the league in 2017.

“We started in 2015 with six teams and played with seven teams last year. The announcement of the Jacksonville Generals on Wednesday is the first of a series of franchise related announcements over the next three to four weeks,” says Fata.

Fata says selling out arenas is only part of what the MPBA brings to the table.

“The way we gauge success is the way our teams and players interact in the community. We also look at the players we send on to more advanced leagues and contracts. We have sent 41 players to legitimate oversea contracts or in the NBA D-League. The players we have in our leagues have been excellent in our communities and been great representatives of the kind of people we want to bring in our league and send on,” says Fata.

You can expect to see the Jacksonville General roster at after school programs, basketball camps, libraries and outreach programs throughout the year, notes Fata.

Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard feels the Generals will bring a tremendous source of energy to the city.

“This is a really positive step for Jacksonville, our community and our youth. The MPBA want to do a lot of things with our students, youth and local businesses. When quality people come to you with a good product, we are more than happy to help out,” says Ezard.

The Generals will play their home games at MacMurray College’s Bill Wall Gymnasium. MacMurray Athletic Director Justin Fuhler says the school has discussed hosting a franchise with the MPBA for over a year.

Fuhler explains how the Generals can have a big impact on the students of MacMurray.

“We have a large sports management department here and this is going to give our students a chance to interact and work with a professional organization on campus. From that standpoint it was very win-win for us.”

The league consisted of seven teams: Champaign Swarm, Pontiac 66ers, Lima Express, Windy City Groove, St. Louis RiverSharks, Gateway Steam and champion Chicago Blues in 2016.

To learn more about the MPBA, click here.