BayHawks training camp begins

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 at 6:28 PM
BayHawks training camp begins by Mike Lantinen

Saturday, Nov. 12 will mark the start of the season for Erie’s own NBA developmental team, the BayHawks. Coming into their ninth season as an organization, owner Steve Demetriou and head coach Bill Peterson, a former Milwaukee Bucks assistant, have plenty to be excited for. The BayHawks have had their share of talent come through the arena, but some can be short lived given the nature of a season that a semi-pro organization like the Hawks have to live with.

“Anything can happen with the affiliate guys. Somebody like Anthony Brown, who’s already been in the NBA, could get plucked by an NBA team at any moment, but we hope he’s around for a while,” Iris Rayburn, current communications manager of the team said.

Brown, who was selected first overall in the NBA developmental draft, will bring with him experience at multiple levels of competition. A four year player at Stanford, Brown was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers this past season as well.

“Well, we’re really excited to have Anthony Brown. We just took him first overall in the D-League draft...he’s obviously got some good credentials behind him,” Rayburn added.

Brown isn’t the only member of the BayHawks who could be poised for a breakout season. Due to roster overload, one man’s problem becomes another man’s riches and the BayHawks are relishing in the opportunity to bring three players into their organization. Brandon Dawson, Ramon Gallaway and former top recruit Cliff Alexander all will be present in training camp during this week.

“Dawson, who played with Michigan State and the Clippers all of last year, Gallaway, who has been on various summer league teams and [in] D-League training camps, and Cliff Alexander, who was a top five recruit coming out of Kansas and spent last year with the Trailblazers will all be coming from Orlando,” Rayburn said.

Turnover in an organization like the BayHawks can be tumultuous, possibly leading to unhappy players and even demands for trades.

“It definitely keeps you on your toes; thankfully the majority of our team is made up of trial players and players we have acquired through the draft. So they are using this year as a developmental year and less trying to get called up (to an NBA organization).” Rayburn added.

Filling out a roster comes easy for the Hawks. An affiliate team offers a player more time to grow and work on skills that can be honed or altered to better suit life as an NBA player. Along with affiliate send downs, the draft and tryouts offer players

with no current opportunity a chance to prove they have what it takes to make an roster.

Once you land an opportunity on a team such as the BayHawks, the spotlight is on. From international scouts waiting for the opportunity to take those players left off the 10 man roster, to other NBA scouts searching for that hidden gem to add to their own team, there are no shortage of directions a player can go in a sport that has grown in popularity and reach.

Luckily for the BayHawks, the tryouts, a method usually producing the least amount of headline-seeking talent, has been their forte as of late, ending the season this past year with two of their players found in the tryouts on their starting lineup. Those two have remained on the roster.

“We had an open trial in Erie at Behrend, [and] then we had one in Orlando since the Orlando Magic are our affiliate team,” Rayburn continued.

“You can invite up to four guys from that tryout to training camp so we have those four guys invited, 16 guys on the training camp roster, [and we] obviously need to cut that down to 10, so we will see what happens.”

Recent moves on the trade market have set up the BayHawks as well.

In a recent article by John Dudley of The Erie Times-News, he elaborated on some of those moves, writing, “The BayHawks added guard T.J. Price and center Reggis Onwukamuche in a deal with Rio Grande Valley that sent second-round picks Markus Kennedy and Shane Richards to the Vipers.”

Tuesday, Nov. 1 is the opening day of training camp at the Erie Insurance Arena, and the BayHawks will begin their journey as they work towards a 10 man roster and the opening day of Nov. 12. 

Mike Lantinen is a sports editor for The Spectator. He can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com

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