Area semi-pro basketball team aims for successful season

The Wolves get in a practice session in preparation for their upcoming game this weekend.

Area semi-pro basketball team aims for successful season
March 16
10:03 2023

The Winston-Salem Wolves are a minor league basketball team that plays in the East Coast Basketball League (ECBL). Founded in 2018, after rebranding from Winston Certified, the Wolves are trying to raise their following in the area by bringing in hometown talent to represent them on the court.

The Wolves are 2-1 on the season and second year head coach Antonio Robinson feels they have the talent to win the ECBL championship this season. They play their home games at The Bond Center, which is on the campus of Shekinah Glory Christian Church, 5095 Lansing Dr.

“I think we have some of the best guards in the entire league in Mike Chambers, out of North Forsyth, and Mike Hughes, out of Prep, that add to our veteran Anthony Thomas who also went to Prep,” said Robinson about his guards. “I tried to keep it local, you know, Greensboro, Winston and High Point, because we have so much talent but nowhere to show it. We have Winston written across our jerseys, why not get the players from Winston because I know we got them.”

There are only two returning players from last season’s team. Robinson took the reins only two weeks before the season last year and didn’t really get the chance to fully implement his system and style of play until later in the season.

“My GM (general manager) Marcus Shockley ended up getting very sick due to COVID and asked me to take over, so I stopped playing and took over,” Robinson said about how he became head coach last year. “So, I had to scramble in two weeks to find some players. Some games were tough where I couldn’t get players to come in, so I didn’t know who I was going to have.  

“This year, I sat down and relaxed and told myself to figure out what I need. So, I pretty much got my point guard, some shooters, defenders and bigs. I just sat down and went to the drawing board and I think we are going to have a really good year.”

So far this season, Robinson says he has noticed the elite talent level and IQ of the players on the team. He says the first game of the season, which they lost by a point, was a game where they were still figuring each other out and now that they have a rhythm, he expects it to remain for the rest of the season.  

“When you have five players on the court that know how to play basketball, it can be a little tough, but when you know where each other is at, it becomes a lot easier,” Robinson said about his team. “I think sometimes we overpass because we try to be unselfish but other than that, I think we are rolling right now.”

Robinson is also the head coach for the JV team at Parkland High School and this was also his second season there. He says there are a lot of differences with how he approaches coaching both teams. One of the biggest differences is that he still has to hammer in the fundamentals with his high school players, whereas with the Wolves’ players, he focuses more on individual game plans and slight adjustments.

Chambers is in his second season with the Wolves. He says they had a rough season last year, only winning four or five games, but feels with the influx of talent on this year’s team, the outcome is going to be different.

“We have a good team this year and I am expecting a lot from us this year,” said Chambers. “I have high expectations this year because we brought in a lot of new faces, so I am looking forward to doing a lot of big things this year.”

Chambers says it was Robinson who got him to initially come out last year. Because he respects Robinson so much, he felt he could showcase his talents with the Wolves. He says he loves the camaraderie of the team and feels the sky’s the limit for the team.

For Hughes, he had been playing basketball in the summer and spring but recently took a break while coaching. He says when the opportunity came to play with the Wolves, he jumped at it.

“I am happy I did it because I love the guys and there are some real ball players over here and it’s like a family over here,” said Hughes. “Playing NBA professional rules and going through this grind has been good. We mesh pretty well, and we click on and off the court so, so far, so good.

“This experience is going to help me learn about myself, my teammates, but also basketball on a different level. Luckily, I was blessed to play after high school and college, so just coming back out here and getting out here with the guys and just learning a lot of things that I didn’t know.”

For more information about the Winston-Salem Wolves, please visit the ECBL website at and click on the Wolves tab.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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