After spending his post collegiate career in various leagues, Zane Knowles will return to the US and enter the NBA pipeline.
Knowles was recently named to the training camp roster for the Salt Lake Stars of the NBA Development League.
The Stars are now an exclusive farm team of the Utah Jazz after the franchise which shifted from the Idaho Stampede, which was an affiliate of both the Jazz and the Trailblazers.
Knowles was one of 18 players named to the roster following the completion of last weekend’s D-League draft.
Other noteworthy players on the Stars roster former Philadelphia 76ers centre Henry Sims, D-League veteran Jermaine Taylor and rookie point guard Marcus Paige.
Knowles, the 6’10” 255 pound forward joins a list of other Bahamians to play in the D-League that includes Magnum Rolle, Bennet Davis and Mitch Johnson.
Knowles participated in the Star’s Open Tryouts presented by University of Utah Health Care back in September at the Lifetime Activities Center-Bruin Arena on the Taylorsville campus of Salt Lake Community College.
“I think our Open Tryouts were a big success, we had a great turnout,” said Stars General Manager Bart Sharp. “We had some good local talent show up that I’m sure is of interest to our coaching staff. We look forward to how it turns out.”
Around 50 aspiring basketball players came to show off their skills to the Stars coaching staff. The players had varying levels of experience, from amateur to collegiate to semi-professional, and came from both near and abroad.
Stars Head Coach Dean Cooper was happy with the talent and the turnout.
“I was really pleased,” said Cooper. “I think it really says a lot about the care factor of the Jazz organization in general has with the people being here and wanting to be a part of it. I thought the players participated well, I thought the coaches did a good job, it was great.”
The team will be known as the Salt Lake City Stars, paying tribute to its American Basketball Association roots from 1970-76 when the Utah Stars won the league championship in 1971, and to the Utah Starzz, the WNBA team based in Salt Lake City from 1997-2002. A new logo highlighting the navy and gold color scheme of the Utah Jazz with a nod to the community’s basketball history was also unveiled.
Knowles began his collegiate career at Grambling and ultimately graduated from Texas A and M Corpus Christi where he spent two years to the programme.
In his senior season with the Islanders, he averaged 6.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game on 59 percent shooting from the field.
He began his professional career with the Wakayama Trians of the National Basketball League in Japan. He got the opportunity following his performance at the Global Basketball Summer League in Las Vegas where he was selected to the All Big Man team and the All Tournament Team.
The Salt Lake City Stars will play their home games at Salt Lake Community College, located less than 10 miles from downtown Salt Lake City. The 5,000-seat Lifetime Activities Center-Bruin Arena on Redwood Road has been the previous site of the Rocky Mountain Revue NBA Summer League.
“We are thrilled to bring an NBA D-League team to Salt Lake City and in close proximity to the Utah Jazz,” said Steve Starks, president of Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment. “The Salt Lake City Stars will provide further opportunities to promote the game of basketball, extend the reach of the Jazz, and engage with our surrounding communities in new ways.
Launched in 2001, the NBA D-League has expanded from an eight-team league to a record 22 teams for the 2016-17 season. All 19 teams for the 2015-16 season are singly affiliated with an NBA parent club, a first for the NBA D-League, and the three teams joining the NBA D-League for 2016-17 are owned by the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls.