SHAWNEE, OK – The 2023 TBL champion Potawatomi Fire are excited to announce the signing of Jachai Simmons for the upcoming 2024 TBL season.
“I’m excited to have Jachai on board for the upcoming season,” said Fire general manager David Qualls. “Every time I watched him last year, he seemed to come up with big plays and big shots and I’m glad we don’t have to play him four times this year. I also appreciate the way he carries himself on and off the court. He is a high-character young man, and I am positive he will fit in well with the players we have on board and the other players we will bring in. He will be a big piece for us on our journey to become the first back-to-back champs in TBL history.”
Simmons, a 6-7 forward originally from Plainfield, New Jersey, averaged 13.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game last season for the Wichita Sky Kings. He shot 52.1% from the field, 43.1% from behind the three-point line, and 82.1% from the free throw line. Simmons finished second on the Sky Kings in scoring and third in rebounds. He led Wichita in three-point percentage among players that appeared in at least 20 games. Simmons efforts in 2023 earned him All-Central Conference 3rd Team honors.
“Jachai is a very talented player that we believe will play a major role in our success this season, which will allow us to compete for this year’s TBL championship,” said Fire head coach and 2023 TBL Coach of the Year Mark Dannhoff. “His defensive versatility and ability to play in multiple spots on offense will help us maintain that fluidity we strive for. I am excited to get Jachai to Shawnee and begin collaborating with him and the other players we have under contract.”
A TBL veteran, this will be Simmons’ third year in The Basketball League (TBL). He played for the Atlantic City Gambits in 2022, earning a TBL player of the Week honor, before playing for Wichita in 2023. Prior to his time in TBL, Simmons played college basketball for the University of New Mexico and Midland College.
With the signing of Simmons, the defending champion Fire now have six players officially under contract for the 2024 TBL season. Prior to Simmons signing, the Fire resigned Chris Brand, Daylon “Chuck” Guy, Terry “T.J.” Maston, Kierre “K.D.” Moore, and Deshawn Munson from last year’s championship squad.
The Fire will begin their 2024 TBL season in March. Season tickets for the upcoming 2024 season are set to go on sale soon.
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.