Two local players and a pro veteran join Elkhart EXPRESS
Published 1:33 am Saturday, March 18, 2006
ELKHART, Ind. - Two men with extensive local ties and a veteran player with five years professional experience are the latest to join the Elkhart EXPRESS, the local franchise of the International Basketball League.
The addition of Antiony Hardin, Ric Adams and Alvin Robinson brings to 10 the number of players on the EXPRESS roster. Perhaps the most well known of the trio is Hardin, who played high school ball for Elkhart Memorial in the early 1990s.
Hardin, 6-feet-3 200 pounds, is looking forward to this season because: “It's a privilege to be able to play professional basketball at home.”
After graduating from Memorial, Hardin spent two years at Glen Oaks Community College. As a sophomore he led the nation in scoring in the National Junior College Athletic Association by averaging 38 points a game.
From 1998 to 2000, Hardin played for Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Mich., where he averaged 21 points a game, eight rebounds and five assists.
His professional career includes seasons with the Fort Wayne Fury in the Continental Basketball Association; the Dodge City Legends in the U.S. Basketball Association, and most recently with the Indiana Alley Cats in the American Basketball Association.
Adams, 6-feet-1 200 lbs., was born in South Bend and moved from the area with his family when he was in seventh grade. He relocated to Waterford, Mich., in 1993. Adams' story is one of a basketball player who wouldn't give up.
He said he was cut from the Waterford High School team in his junior year. But, he persisted and earned his way onto the team the following season. “I kept trying. I never gave up my dream. I think it made me better,” said Adams.
After graduating high school in 1996, Adams earned a certificate as a heating and cooling technician from Northwestern Technical Institute, Southfield, Mich., (with a 4.0 GPA). Adams said he honed his basketball skills and kept in shape by playing pickup games and with local leagues. He also played Pro-Am basketball in Pontiac, Mich., where he averaged 15 points a game, five rebounds and six assists.
Adams has been living in the South Bend for some time now and was one of the players to try out for the EXPRESS. His play impressed Beathea. Adams said this opportunity is a real blessing. “I get to be around my family again and play professional basketball,” he said.
Robinson, 6-feet-9 258 pounds, has played professional basketball around the world, most recently in Mexico, where he was averaging 12 points per game, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Robinson played from 1995 to 1997 for the University of Iowa and then transferred for his final two years to Loyola University Chicago, where he was aveaging three points a game and four rebounds. In 1999 he was named to the California All-Stars College Exhibition Team.
He began his professional career in 2000 with the Saskatoon Hawks of the International Basketball Association. He averaged nine points a game, seven rebounds and two blocked shots. He has since played for a variety of teams both in the states and abroad.
Robinson said this season will be exciting. “We're playing for a great coach who has a lot of history here,” he said. “And, the people of Elkhart seemed to have embraced us already.”
The Elkhart EXPRESS will play a schedule of 22 games from March 31 to June 30, 2006, including 12 home games at Elkhart's North Side Gym. The league's All-Star Game and Championship Tournament will also be played in Elkhart July 13 to 16.
Season tickets are now available on-line at www.elkhartexpress.com. Tickets prices are $110 (adult 18 and older, courtside), $60 (adult 18 and older, lower reserved) and $36 (17 and under, lower reserved). Single game tickets for the same categories are $10, $7 and $4 respectively. People may call 574-522-9911 or write Elkhart EXPRESS, 127 S. Main St., Elkhart, Ind., 46516 (email: email@example.com) for tickets or more information.
The IBL favors an up-tempo style of play that has resulted in a league scoring average of 127 points per game. Only one timeout is allowed per 12-minute quarter and the league has an “immediate inbound” rule that allows players to inbound the ball without checking it with the referee. There is also a 22-second shot clock with just eight seconds allowed to cross mid-court.