Looking back at the draft, your first pick, at 13th overall, was Josh Verburg. How valuable has he been to your franchise in the past year?
Josh has been extremely valuable. I personally think he’s the most underrated CBA player. He works hard and consistently produces at a high level. He’s played in the PL, SL, and BL and has never complained. He was our first pick and our best.
We’ve gone through six amateur drafts thus far. What has been your favorite moment in any one of them?
I don’t really have a favorite moment, but I really enjoyed the uniqueness of the very first draft. There were massive trades and stark differences in philosophy. I doubt we will ever see a draft that was that action packed or that controversial. Everyone was moving up or down.
What are your memories looking back on the inaugural draft?
That draft was so exciting. This league had been in development for a long time and teams were anxious to go. Having the Inaugural Draft followed by the first amateur draft really increased the strategic depth available. We tried to build the best team that could compete right away but several teams didn’t. It felt like chaos. In the end, I think the Inaugural Draft foretold the crazy market that is the CBA. This isn’t your traditional league, and the way that draft went showed it.
What trade do you remember the most, and why?
The Tim Hooper trade. We gave up a lot to get him, and it never worked out. His skills dropped off, and he never filled the key role we thought he would. It was a last ditch effort to stay in the PL, and ultimately, it failed.
Being the first team to go from the Premier League to the Bronze League, what has been the difference you’ve seen between the competitiveness of the teams? The difference between the ways the teams are built?
Because the league is so new, there’s a massive difference in talent from Bronze to Premier. It’ll be interesting to see if the parity level increases in the next decade. BL teams are also more likely to be rebuilding than the other two leagues. It really doesn’t help financially to sell all of your players in PL because you need to compete in SL the next year. In BL, you’re already at the bottom. Lots of PL buyers. That league is win now for everyone, all the time.
What is the moment you best remember in the group chat?
All of the BAP bashing during those first two seasons. That team was terrible, but they had a plan and it’s starting to come to fruition. Not many people thought it would.
What do you see for the future of your team?
Immediately, we hope to make SL in two seasons or so. We needed a rebuild and time to get younger. We had one of the most veteran teams when this league started, and now we need to build a farm that can replace those guys. We are off to a good start this year, so who knows! Cleveland is a city in desperate need of a winner. Hopefully we can claw our way back to the PL.