August 31, 2016
ST. LOUIS – Alfonzo Houston of the Pontiac 66ers has left the United States to play with Nuova Polisportiva Stabia in Italy, making his signing the 50th advancement to an overseas team or the National Basketball Development League from the Midwest Professional Basketball Association since the MPBA began play in January of 2015.
“Alfonzo is one of the best I have ever been around,” said Mark Myre, general manager of the 66ers. “If I were a general manager in the NBA, I’d keep an eye on him. He was the Meadowlark Lemon of the 66ers—he loves to make people happy. He can do it all.”
Houston led the 66ers and the league’s eligible players with an MPBA-record 27.7 points-per-game average. He scored his season-high 41 points, 24 of which came in the fourth quarter, in his team’s last game of the season, a come-from-behind win against the Chicago Blues. Houston scored 30 or more points in seven games this season. The 6’4” guard from the University of North Carolina-Central also averaged 5.3 rebounds per game.
As a result of reaching fifty player signings since beginning play just twenty months ago, the MPBA has revamped its mission statement.
“Our goal all along was to develop talent, whether it be players, coaches, or staff members,” said Craig Fata, associate commissioner and chief communications officer for the MPBA. “But we didn’t think we’d have this much success this quickly, as far as moving players up. And that success stems from the collective passion of our core staff to pursue dreams and create opportunities for others.”
The league’s previous mission statement read, “The mission of the MPBA is to attract the top minor league basketball players, coaches, owners and staff members from across the United States, and to provide that talent with the opportunity to develop their skills in a professional environment; the MPBA will also provide its fans and supporters with a fun, value-based entertainment experience, as well as incorporate community outreach programs into its members’ operations.”
“That mission statement still fit, and we still aspire to those goals,” said C. Edward “Ed” Schumer, commissioner and chief executive officer for the MPBA. “However, it didn’t reflect our core beliefs, which we feel set us apart from every other league in this space.”
The new mission statement reads, “The Midwest Professional Basketball Association believes in the pursuit of dreams and in the nurturing of passions--in life, in sports, and in business. The MPBA also believes when like-minded people come together to be a part of something bigger than themselves, not only can they accomplish great things, they can create for others meaningful, genuine opportunities to develop their talents and enrich their lives.”
The MPBA began play in January of 2015 with six teams, and has sent one player to training camp with the Chicago Bulls, two players to the NBA D-League, and another 47 overseas.