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Prime Time League enters 25th season

[ 0 ] June 10, 2011 |

The Prime Time League marks its 25th season this summer, and its founder isn’t surprised that the basketball league is still around after a quarter century.

“I figured it might be,” said Iowa City attorney and business owner Randy Larson, who started the PTL in 1987 with support from then Iowa coach Tom Davis. “You know I’m kind of nutty. I love basketball, and I enjoy doing it. It’s been a labor of love. So it’s a lot of fun.”

The fun for Larson will start again Saturday (Saturday) when the PTL and the Game Time League for women both hold tryouts at the University of Iowa Field House. The tryouts are intended for those who aren’t considered locks to be drafted.

Both leagues then will hold their drafts Tuesday in preparation for league play, which starts June 19 for the PTL and June 22 for the GTL.

The PTL will have games twice a week on Sunday and Tuesday, and the GTL will play just on Wednesdays.

The games will be held at the air-conditioned North Liberty Community Center, and there is no cost for admission.

Larson expects a member of the Iowa men’s basketball team to be taken first in the PTL draft, which is almost always the case. But he isn’t sure who it’ll be among the likes of current Iowa players Melsahn Basabe and Matt Gatens and incoming junior-college recruit Anthony Hubbard.

The 6-foot-7 Basabe led the PTL in scoring and rebounding last summer, and then he went on to make the Big Ten all-Freshman team last season.

However, it’s unclear how many PTL games Basabe will be around for this summer with being scheduled to try out for the U19 USA Basketball Team in a week. The training camp runs from June 17 to 24, and the finalists for the team will be announced June 19. The 12-player roster will be announced before the team leaves for Europe on June 24.

“This is a fairly up-in-the-air year because we won’t know Basabe’s availability (at the time of the draft),” Larson said. “I think Matt Gatens is always a strong contender to be No. 1.

“And someone might want to take somebody like Hubbard just because there is going to be so much interest in him and they want to coach him.”

Larson is eager to see if the 26-year-old Hubbard, who spent nearly four years in prison on a robbery charge, is as good as advertised.

Hubbard was ranked as the 14th-best junior-college player in the country after averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Frederick Community College in Maryland last season. He signed a letter of intent with Iowa in April.

“He’s one of those things (Iowa) needs,” Larson said of the 6-5 Hubbard, who is expected to play multiple positions for Iowa. “We don’t have a guy like that.

“We don’t have a creator, a breakdown guy and a big strong athlete at the perimeter position. There is such an obvious need for someone like him that it’ll be interesting to see if he fits the bill.”

Hubbard is among four players in Iowa’s incoming recruiting class. The other three — 6-5 shooting guard Josh Oglesby from Cedar Rapids, 6-8 forward Aaron White from Strongsville, Ohio and 6-10 Kansas prep school center Gabe Olaseni — also are expected to play in the PTL this summer.

The PTL also will have members of the Northern Iowa men’s basketball team participating along with former college players and current high school players.

Larson said he has enough volunteers and officials to help with both leagues, but he still needs more team sponsors.

“I could use a couple more sponsors,” Larson said. “We’re always short. We lost one of two this year just because of the economy or one thing or another.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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