”Ladies and gentlemen, introducing your New Castle NightHawks!”
Kent Benson’s dream of a semi-pro basketball league will become a reality Saturday afternoon, when the New Castle entry in the inaugural four-team Hoosier Hardwood Basketball Association takes the floor at New Castle Middle School’s Jake Pasman Gym for an inter-squad game.
The game starts at 2 p.m. and will include a slam dunk competition, with pre-game experiences beginning at 1:30 p.m. A 3-Point shooting contest will be held at halftime with an autograph session after the game.
To purchase tickets, go online @ www.MVPresults.com/NewCastle. Tickets are $10 per person, which includes watching both the Dunk Contest and 3-Point Competition. New Castle NightHawks apparel is also available online at www.MVPresults.com/NewCastle.
Fans are asked to enter the gym using door No. 13.
The NightHawks will have a distinctive Henry County-area flavor. The team includes Logan Hinton, a 6’5” small forward, and Branton Payne, a 6’0” point guard, both graduates of Hagerstown High School.
The New Castle team also features: Joseph English 6’0 Point Guard of Indianapolis Washington High School, Missouri St-Louis University and NBA G-League Workouts; Sean Sellers 6’7 Shooting Guard of Greensburg High School where he won the IHSAA State Championship, Ball State University and played professionally in Ireland; Chrishawn Hopkins 6’2 Shooting Guard of Indianapolis Manuel, Wright State and overseas; Andre Jones, a 6-6 power forward of Muncie Central and Arizona Western University; .
John Benson, who played for Indiana Wesleyan University, will coach the NightHawks.
The majority owner of the New Castle team, Scott Brumfiel, also has Cambridge City ties.
“We are very excited to have Scott Brumfiel as the owner of our New Castle NightHawks team,” said Bob Petty, Hardwood Basketball Association League President. “Scott brings 20 years of knowledge and expertise to our New Castle team, specifically with sponsorships and season tickets. Kent and I had a few conversations with people interested in being the New Castle NightHawks owners, but after we met with Scott for lunch, he was the obvious choice because of his passion for sports, his love for players and his extensive experience in the industry.”
Brumfiel, who lives in Cambridge City and attended Lincoln High School, has also shown an interest in purchasing the Richmond team for the 2022 season.
New Castle combine a big success
A combine held at the New Castle Middle School gym recently drew almost 40 players.
Almost 40 players attended the Jan. 3 combine in New Castle, all of whom were vying for one of 32 positions.
The most recent New Castle combine was decisive in another way. The Hoosier Hardwood staff selected the three most dominant players to receive cash on the spot. Joseph English of Indianapolis and Missouri St-Louis was selected as the #1 player, earning $500 cash, while Kellen Dunham of Pendleton and Butler University earned $250 cash and Aaron Larson of Chicago and Olivet University earned $100 cash.
The Hoosier Hardwood has a few unique ways to compensate players including the Cash Draft to the top three players, their Bonus Compensation Structure and their Jersey Deal.
“We are excited for the unique opportunity of fans being able to purchase our player’s jerseys,” Benson said. “As a Professional Basketball League, we want to help our players generate a nice income, both with basketball and through our Jersey Deal. Fans can purchase their favorite players jersey – just like in the NBA. Our player’s love that fans can purchase their jerseys and they receive a nice percentage back in their pockets. Plus, who wouldn’t want to play in a packed gym full of fans wearing your jersey!”
The new league is signing players with a compensation package ranging from $500-$2,500 per month, based upon experience and skill-level.
Benson, an Indiana basketball legend and New Castle’s 1973 Indiana Mr. Basketball, is the chairman and co-founder of the new league.
The former No. 1 NBA Draft Pick and 1976 NCAA Champion at Indiana University is excited about the progress made by the Hoosier Hardwood Basketball Association in such a short period of time.
In addition to New Castle, the three other teams participating in the inaugural Hoosier Hardwood season include the Pendleton Legends, Terre Haute Sharp-Shooters and the Bedford TimberJacks. Play is anticipated to begin in the spring.
New league but familiar names
While it’s a new league, there’s nothing rookie about the Hoosier Hardwood Basketball Association. The league includes five former NBA G-League players, 21 NCAA Division 1 players and 11 Indiana All-Stars featuring:
Kellen Dunham 6’6 Shooting Guard of Pendleton Heights High School, Butler University and NBA G-League;
Asauhn Tatum 7’0 Center of Anderson Highland High School, Auburn University and NBA G-League; and
Troy Taylor of Anderson High School, Evansville University and Overseas as well as numerous other Indiana Basketball stand-outs.
The Hoosier Hardwood will be adding a minimum of four new teams in 2022. Benson indicated that several potential owners have contacted them about bringing a a team to their city including Richmond, Marion, Evansville, Jeffersonville, Layafette, Fort Wayne, Columbus, Bloomington and several others.
“We are being very selective on our team owners,” Benson said. “It’s more to us than just having an owner write a check. We want an owner with the same passion to help players reach the next level as we do and be involved in providing a fun, family-friendly basketball experience for their communities.”
Benson says they are still looking for the right owner for their Terre Haute Sharp-Shooters team.
Benson shares these words to anyone interested in becoming the Terre Haute Owner or ownership group, “If you love sports, love your Community and want to develop something special and unique for your Community of fans, we are interested in speaking with you. Contact me personally at kentbenson firstname.lastname@example.org.”