ProBasketball-10-31-17-01: David Magley, President and COO of the North American Premier Basketball league, announced Tuesday that Mesquite will be home to a professional basketball team with play set to begin shortly after Jan. 1. The Rising Star Sports Ranch barn will host 16 games through the end of the league season in April. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

Who would have ever thought that they would see professional basketball in Mesquite! Well it is the Holiday Season when special things do happen.

It’s been two months since Dave Magley, President of the newly formed North American Premier Basketball League announced that the league was placing a team in Mesquite. The announcement came at a meet and greet hosted by the Rising Star Sports Ranch Resort on Oct. 31.

Shortly thereafter, a name was chosen using local community input. The Nevada Desert Dogs were born and Mesquite had a professional basketball team.

But names do not make any business venture successful, it takes for sight and vision. It seems Magley has covered all his bases to insure that dreams can happen.

In a recent interview with Mesquite Local News, Magley said,” We are just beginning. We have two teams added for next season plus a possibility of two teams in Mexico. We are an international league and will bring great basketball to the communities we serve.”

League play will begin on Dec. 31 when the Albany (New York) Patroons face tipoff against the Rochester (New York) RazorSharks. Following the initial opening, games will follow almost daily, when teams called the Kansas City Tornados, Kentucky Thoroughbreds, Yakima Sunkings (Washington), Vancouver Knights (Canada), Ohio Cardinals and finally, on Jan. 13, the Nevada Desert Dogs tip off against the Knights.

Nevada Desert Dogs has a kind of local ring to it. “We chose Mesquite as their home because of the great input and effort by the Rising Star,” Magley said. “The Desert Dogs are a league-owned team, but we are not in the business of owning teams and hope to rectify that as soon as possible.” The Desert Dogs will be coached by Paul Mokeski, a 12-year NBA veteran with the Cleveland Cavaliers and at the University of Kansas.

He has invited 21 players for tryouts currently under way in St. George.

“I’m positive his final roster of 10-12 players will bring an exciting brand of basketball to Mesquite and Nevada,” Magley said.

The league had 18 combines in Canada and throughout the United States and held a draft in Chicago to select two players for each team. The Dogs selected Luke Cochran, 6-foot-10 out of Sonoma State (California), and Anthony Strickland, who played for the Western New York team in the Premier Basketball League.

The players trying out come from colleges throughout the country and include some with international experience. The team recently announced on its Facebook page (North American Premier Basketball) that Slim McGee, a 6-foot-11 player from Missouri Southern has joined the squad.

Let’s hope that Magley’s flight time, miles equal to flying around the world 3.5 times and 75,000 miles driven, are fruitful here in Mesquite. Initial ticket prices will run $15 to $50 for first row seats with season tickets available at a discount.

It should be a great avenue for a night out for families and seniors in our community. MLN will do a preview of the opening game and announce the team’s roster after the first of the year.