SHAWNEE, OK – The Potawatomi Fire are happy to announce the re-signing of Ruston Hayward for the upcoming 2024 TBL season.
Hayward, a 6-5 forward, from Houston, Texas is re-signing with the Fire after playing in 14 games for The Basketball League (TBL) Champions in 2023. In 14 games, Hayward averaged 9.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.1 steals. Prior to joining the Fire, Hayward played in 11 games for the Enid Outlaws. Over the course of the 2023 season, Hayward averaged 11.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.4 steals in 25 total games.
Hayward is a seasoned professional that has also played for the now-defunct Waco Royals and Houston Push in TBL. He has also played professionally in Mexico.
“I am pleased to have Ruston back for this season,” said Fire head coach, and 2023 TBL Coach of the Year, Mark Dannhoff. “We only had a few games with Ruston last year but saw the impact he can make on the court. I’m excited to have him for a full season so we can best utilize his unique skill set. He is a versatile offensive player that can get to the basket. He is also a hard worker and solid presence on the defensive end and does a lot of the little things that might not always show up in the box score.”
“The Fire organization is excited to bring Ruston back for this season,” said Fire general manager David Qualls. “As we have learned over the last couple of seasons, continuity is a big reason for success in TBL. Bringing back someone like Ruston, who is familiar with our culture and expectations, will only help our chances as we aim to become the first team to repeat as TBL champions. Like all of our players, we not only value Ruston for what he brings on the court but for the way he represents the Fire and Citizen Potawatomi Nation off the court.”
Hayward is the seventh player to re-sign with the Fire following the championship in 2023. He joins fellow returners Daylon “Chuck” Guy, Deshawn Munson, Kierre “K.D.” Moore, Terry “T.J.” Maston, Chris Brand, and Ricardo Artis II. The Fire have also signed newcomers Jachai Simmons and Myron McGowan. Their roster now officially sits at nine players with just over a month before the beginning of training camp.
The Fire will begin their 2024 TBL season on March 1st. Season tickets for the upcoming season are on sale now. To purchase tickets, visit potawatomifire.com/tickets.
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, with roughly 40 teams across the United States. Along with winning the TBL championship in 2023, the Fire organization was the winner of the 2022 Jim Koch Award as TBL’s Best Ran Business. The dance team of the Fire, the Fire Girls, were named TBL’s Best Dance Team in 2022 and the Central Conference Best Dance Team in 2023.
The TBL season begins in March 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.