SHAWNEE, OK – The Potawatomi Fire announced the re-signing of five key players from last year’s TBL (The Basketball League) Championship team. Chris Brand, Daylon “Chuck” Guy, Terry “TJ” Maston, Kierre “KD” Moore, and Deshawn Munson have all signed TBL contracts for the upcoming 2024 season.
“I’m excited to have Chuck, Deshawn, KD, TJ, and Chris back on the Fire again,” said Fire general manager David Qualls. “They are all great players and were key pieces in our run to the championship last year. They have all embraced the Shawnee and Pottawatomie County area and share the values that this community holds. All five of these men are unselfish players who desire team success over individual accolades. That mindset is what we look for in Fire players and they embody way of thinking.”
“All five of these guys were instrumental in our success last year and will be relied heavily on this coming year,” said Fire head coach, and 2023 TBL Coach of the Year, Mark Dannhoff. “Chuck, Munson, KD, TJ, and Chris all embrace our culture, know what it takes to win, and prioritize winning over everything else. They know what is expected of them and are the foundation of our team. I fully expect them, and our team, to have a great season and compete for a championship in 2024.”
Chris Brand (6-10, Center, Alcorn State) appeared in 16 games in 2023. In a reserve role for the Fire, Brand averaged 4.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. Brand, originally from Starkville, Mississippi, scored a season high 12 points on April 25th against the Oklahoma Panthers. He also grabbed a season high 10 rebounds in the season opener on March 1st at Shreveport. The Fire finished 15-1 in games in which Brand appeared.
Chuck Guy (6-0, Guard, Tarleton State) was the on-court leader for the Fire last year. Statistically, Guy averaged 16.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 9.5 assists (2nd in TBL), and 2.9 steals (5th) per game. The Fire captain was named TBL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2023, Playoff Co-MVP (with Deshawn Munson), and was a 1st Team All-TBL and All-Central Conference selection. Guy was also a finalist for league MVP. He recorded 12 double-doubles last season and one triple-double in 2023. The 31-year-old Fort Worth, Texas native also proved to be the league’s iron man playing the entire game (48+ minutes) 12 times, including seven times in the playoffs. It is believed those 12 games of 48+ minutes are the most in TBL. Finally, Guy set the team record for steals in a game with seven on March 11th against the Little Rock Lightning.
T.J. Maston (6-8, Center, Baylor) was one of the best post players in TBL averaging 14.4 points while shooting 61.4% (top three in TBL). Maston also grabbed an average of 4.9 rebounds per game. The big man from DeSoto, Texas scored at least 20 points nine times in 2023 and save his best performances for the postseason. In Game 1 of the Conference Finals in Shreveport, Maston had 38 points and six rebounds. In the Regional Finals series finale against Seattle, Maston had 35 points and eight rebounds.
K.D. Moore (6-4, Forward, East Central) played in, and started, 33 of the Fire’s 34 games. The one game he did not play was due to illness. The Paris, Texas native was named 3rd Team All-Central Conference after averaging 17.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.0 steal per game. Moore also finished in the top ten of all TBL players in two-point field goal percentage (65.1%) and overall field goal percentage (59.1%). In 2023, Moore recorded five double-doubles. He scored a season high 36 points in the double overtime loss to Wichita on April 30th.
Deshawn Munson (6-4, Guard, Harris-Stowe State) backed up his MVP campaign in 2022 with another fantastic year in 2023. Munson was named 2nd Team All-TBL, 2nd Team All-Central Conference, and Playoff Co-MVP (with Chuck Guy). The third year pro from East Saint Louis, Illinois led TBL in rebounds per game (12.5) and finished sixth in TBL in assists per game (7.5). He finished the season with 22 double-doubles, including 15 straight double-doubles to the end season, and four triple-doubles. In 2023, Munson led the Fire in scoring at 20.2 points per game and set the team record for rebounds in a game (22) against the Rockwall 7ers on March 5th. Munson, who will be the only player to play for the Fire all three seasons of the team’s existence, is the team leader in total points (1,357), total rebounds (699), offensive rebounds (166), defensive rebounds (533), total assists (512), total steals (121), field goals made (550), and games played (60). He also holds Fire single game records for most points scored (48), total rebounds (22), assists (17), and field goals made (19).
ABOUT THE FIRE AND THE BASKETBALL LEAGUE
The Potawatomi Fire are the first professional basketball team owned by a Native American tribe (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) in Oklahoma. The Fire compete in the Central Conference of The Basketball League (TBL), a men’s professional basketball league, now with over 50 teams across the U.S. and Canada. Along with winning the TBL championship in 2023, the Fire organization was named the 2022 winner of the Jim Koch Award as TBL’s Best Ran Business. The dance team of the Fire, the Fire Girls, were named TBL’s 2022 Best Dance Team and Central Conference Best Dance Team in 2023.
The TBL season begins in February and runs through June, concluding with a championship playoff tournament. The players that make up the rosters of the TBL teams are former NCAA (Division I, II or III) or NAIA athletes. Many have played in the NBA’s developmental G-League and/or professionally overseas. As of late June, this is currently the highest level of basketball still active in the state of Oklahoma and just two steps below the NBA.
Story by Chris Cox