SHAWNEE, OKLA. — Many Potawatomi Fire fans may recognize a pair of faces that are set to join the team. Harrison Stoddart and Brantly Thompson, who starred together for the Oklahoma Baptist University Bison, signed contracts with the Fire on Wednesday and will join the club as the Fire began their debut season’s second half.

Harrison Stoddart, 6-7 forward from Edmond, Okla., recorded his second consecutive second team All-Great American Conference selection after averaging 11.5 points per game, paired with a 45.5 field-goal percentage. With 75 field goals in 18 games, he finished his standout Bison career with 501 career field goals made. He totaled 1,440 career points and sits one spot above Thompson on the all-time Bison charts at ninth. Stoddart’s best game came this past season against Arkansas Tech where he scored a career-high 36 points, including six three-pointers. In fact, he single-handedly outscored the Wonderboys 20-19 in the contest’s first half.

Brantly Thompson, a 6-3 guard from Tuttle, Okla., earned unanimous first team All-GAC honors in 2020-21 and second team honors this past season. Thompson was named to the 2020-21 NABC South Central Region second team after helping OBU to their second straight NCAA D-II Tournament. He averaged 11.7 points per game in 2021-22 and led OBU in assists (104), which ranked third in the conference. His assist total is a career high, while his 49 three-pointers nearly matched his career-best of 56 threes in a season. Thompson had 1436 points for his Bison career, good for tenth in the program’s history. He is also finished with 245 career three-pointers made.

Stoddart and Thompson join several Fire teammates as players with local ties to the area. Center Anthony Allen played collegiately at Oklahoma State while guard/forward David Godbold played for the Oklahoma Sooners. Guard Tevin Foster is originally from Lawton, Okla., while Godbold and forward Drelan Tripplett hail from Oklahoma City.

“This was a unique and wonderful opportunity to bring in two local athletes to help our team,” said Fire general manager David Qualls. “Harrison and Brantly are talented players with great character. We’re really looking forward to seeing what they can do with the Fire. We encourage fans to come out to FireLake Arena and see the exciting action as we have five home games in a row starting this Friday.”

The Fire will be in action this Friday night, April 22 at 7 p.m at FireLake Arena in Shawnee, when they host the Rockwall 7ers. The Fire open the second half of the season with five straight home games. Eight of their 12 remaining regular season games are also at home. The Fire are 9-3 overall, tied for second place in the TBL’s Central Conference, trailing first place Shreveport by a half game.

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 new men’s professional basketball league with 44 teams in over 20 different states across the country. The TBL season began in March and runs through June, concluding with a championship tournament. The players that make up the rosters of the TBL teams are former NCAA (Division I to III) or NAIA athletes. Many have played in the NBA or NBA’s G-League as well as professionally overseas for several years and are continuing their careers closer to home.

Story by Justin Wollard