Semi-pro basketball team holds open tryouts

The Winston-Salem Wolves will kick off their inaugural season March 2 against the Rowan County Bulls.

Semi-pro basketball team holds open tryouts
February 07
00:45 2019

The Winston-Salem Wolves are a semi-pro basketball team located right here in the heart of Winston-Salem. The team will kick off their inaugural season March 2 against the Rowan County Bulls.

The Wolves were formerly known as Winston-Salem Certified and decided to rebrand the franchise this season as they have a new ownership group. The team will play their home games at Forsyth Country Day School and their home opener is on March 9.

“Recently some revamping has been done with the East Coast Basketball League and they reached out to Marcus (Shockley) because he knew a lot of the teams and players and asked if he would be interested in taking over the team,” said team co-owner Kishon Bishop. “So, around the beginning of December, he decided that was something he wanted to do, and he reached out to me.

“With me having a pulse on basketball in the area and also organizing events, he wanted me to be involved to help him out. It was something that I definitely was interested in because I think this is something that the community is going to embrace.”

Bishop says both he and Shockley looked at other local teams such as the Dash and Thunderbirds and wanted to bring that same energy from a basketball perspective. Their goal is to have the Wolves fill a basketball void in the city, much like the Swarm did for Greensboro, but on a smaller level.

“We want to have a small community feel, in contrast to the big teams like the Hornets or Hurricanes, because you are one of many when you go to a big pro event,” Bishop continued. “We want to bring the entertainment with that too, because at the end of the day, we want to make sure that experience is great for every fan.”

The Wolves have several players that are holdovers from the previous Certified team. Bishop says there is so much talent in the area, they wanted to give as many players as possible a chance to enhance the team and give them a fresh start, so to speak.

“We have a really deep pool of talented individuals that have either played high school or college basketball in the Triad or elsewhere, that tried to play professional basketball overseas, but realized they did not want to live overseas,” he said. “Overseas doesn’t give them what they hoped to have, or the NBA or G-League avenue did not open up for them, but they still wanted to play basketball at high level and we thought this was the perfect situation for them to do that here.”

Shockley said their focus is obtaining the best players to fit the style of the league. He says the East Coast Basketball League is a running league, so they must find the right players to play in that manner.

“This league is very high paced with a lot of high scoring and defensively we have to get better also,” said Shockley. “We are looking for guys that can get in shape and are committed. It’s not really a big-man league, so we need guys who can run.”

The team has high expectations for their first season under the rebranding. The Certified were a playoff team a season ago, so Shockley and Bishop just want to build upon that success.

“We already had a strong base and we are hoping to challenge the top teams right away.”

Shockley went on to say. “Our expectations are to be a playoff team this year.

“Our goal is to represent the city of Winston-Salem the best we can. We want to be a part of the community and we have partnered with groups in the community like the YMCA. We feel like we can represent the city and the Triad in a way that maybe it wasn’t represented before.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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