Dakota Wizards

The Dakota Wizards are an American basketball team in the NBA Development League, and the current defending champions. The team was originally formed in 1995 as a member of the International Basketball Association, a basketball circuit based in the northern United States and western Canada. In the IBA's final year of operation, the 2000-01 season, the Wizards took the IBA title.

After that season, the IBA merged with several teams from the CBA. While conventional wisdom held that the smaller, regional IBA franchises would not survive against the stronger CBA squads, the Wizards held their own with a regular season record of 26-14, and a single-elimination 116-109 win over the Rockford Lightning in the CBA's championship game. In the 2002-03 season, they were the favorites to win the title, but they lost in the semi-finals to the eventual champion, the Yakama Sun Kings. Their third season in the CBA was their best yet. The Wizards rolled to a 34-14 regular season finish, proving themselves as the top team in the league. The Wizards beat the Rockford Lightning 3-1 in the best-of-five semi-finals of the playoffs, and in the winner-take-all championship game, they beat the Idaho Stampede 132-129.

After the 2003-2004 season, coach Dave Joerger left the Wizards for a coaching opportunity with the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The Wizards announced that former assistant coach Casey Owens would become the head coach and Brian Walsh would become the assistant. The Wizards lost their opening two games versus the Skyforce, but then cruised to a 12 game winning streak before losing to Sioux Falls on New Year's Eve, 2004. The Wizards also lost two potential all-stars, Billy Keys and Dickey Simpkins, left the team in mid-season to play overseas.

In the end, the Wizards clinched home court advantage throughout the 2005 playoffs with a league-best 32-16 record. Dakota split their first four playoff games with their first-round opponents, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, until Sioux Falls won game five with a 102-97 victory.

After the 2004-05 season, head coach Casey Owens was replaced by former Baylor University head coach Dave Bliss. The Wizards ownership never made it clear why Owens was not offered a new contract after coaching the team to the best record in the CBA in 2004-05. Hiring Bliss caused some controversy among basketball fans, as Bliss was previously involved in a basketball scandal involving the death of one of his Baylor University players, Patrick Dennehy. Dave Bliss then resigned after the 2005-2006 season, in which the Wizards finished 19-29 and missed the playoffs.

It was widely speculated that they were going to fold, but on April 1, the team announced a three-year lease agreement with their arena. Five days later, on April 6, they announced they were switching to the NBA Development League.

On May 25, 2006, the Wizards announced that Dave Joerger would be returning as the team's Head Coach for the 2006-2007 NBA Development League season. He was signed to a two year deal. A few weeks later it was announced that the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards would be the team's NBA affiliates. The number of affiliates varied from team to team. Some had three affiliates, some had two, and the Los Angeles D-Fenders had one. As former CBA teams, the Wizards, the Sioux Falls Skyforce and the Idaho Stampede ad more experience in signing players, so they were given two affiliates each. The less experienced teams were given three.

On April 29, 2007, the Wizards won the D-League championship, defeating the Colorado 14ers 129-121 in overtime On June 22, 2007, the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA hired Wizards coach Dave Joerger as an assistant coach along with Johnny Davis and Gordon Chiesa.

Year-by-year record

International Basketball Association
Year GP W L Pct. Finish Playoffs
1995-96 24 7 17 .292 5th, IBA Out of Playoffs
1996-97 30 17 13 .567 2nd, IBA Won Semifinals (Magic City, 2-1) Lost in IBA Finals (Black Hills, 2-1)
1997-98 34 14 20 .412 3rd, West Out of Playoffs
1998-99 36 12 22 .353 5th, West Out of Playoffs
1999-00 36 30 6 .833 1st, West Won Divisional (Winnipeg, 2-0)
Lost in Semifinals (Magic City, 3-1)
2000-01 40 30 10 .750 1st, West Won Round 1 (Magic City, 2-0)
Won Semifinals (Saskatchwan, 2-0)
Won Championship (Des Moines, 3-2)

Continental Basketball Association

Year GP W L Pct. Finish Playoffs
2001-02 40 26 14 .650 1st, National Won Semifinals (Fargo-Moorhead)
Won Championship (Rockford)
2002-03 48 31 17 .646 1st, National Lost in Semifinals (Yakima)
2003-04 48 34 14 .708 1st, CBA Won Semifinals (Rockford)
Won Championship (Idaho)
2004-05 48 32 16 .667 1st, Western Lost in Semifinals (Sioux Falls)
2005-06 48 19 29 .396 4th, Western Out of Playoffs

NBA D-League

Year GP W L Pct. Finish Playoffs
2006-07 50 33 17 .667 1st, Eastern Won Semifinals (Sioux Falls)
Won Championship (Colorado)
2007-08 50 29 21 .580 1st, Central Lost in First Round (Sioux Falls)
2008-09 -- -- -- -- -- --

Current roster

Dakota Wizards
Current Roster
Head Coach: Duane Ticknor
Assistant Coach: None
PF 10 Rod Benson (California)
SG 14 Perrin Johnson (Louisville)
SF 15 Carlos Powell (South Carolina)
PF 21 Kibwe Trim (Sacred Heart)
SF 22 David Palmer (Southern Utah)
PG 24 Tony Gipson (LSU)
PF 34 Will Frisby (Miami (FL))
C 42 Kevin Lyde (Temple)
Dakota Wizards

External links

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