Local basketball players take their shot for a spot on Delaware Blue Coats

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Sunday, October 3, 2021
Local athletes take their shot for a spot on Delaware Blue Coats
"It would be a blessing if I got a chance to do this for a living," said Mahir Johnson, who tried out for the Delaware Blue Coats this morning.

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- "It would be a blessing if I got a chance to do this for a living," said Mahir Johnson. "You know, do something that I love to do and also provide for myself and for my family."

Johnson was raised in Newark, Delaware and now hails from Chester, Pennsylvania. It seems like a longshot to step right into a professional basketball league, but he thinks he has what it takes.

"I just need an opportunity to go out there and showcase what I can do," he said. "Play my game and just have fun. That's the main thing."

Luckily for Johnson, the Delaware Blue Coats held open tryouts at Chase Fieldhouse in Wilmington today. The professional NBA G League team is an affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Between two sessions, more than 100 athletes had a chance to impress professional coaches in scrimmages on the court. It was also an opportunity to workshop their skills and network with other players.

Head coach Coby Karl says that between one and four players might be lucky enough to be invited to training camp.

"So, when we start up with the Blue Coats in a couple weeks, some of these guys will be there with us," he said. "If you're interested in coming to try out, next year, there will be an opportunity to get on this court and compete against some really good players."

Although tryouts have concluded for the season, they seem to have grabbed the attention of more than just local players.

"I was in the Adam Sandler movie this past month and I saw the open flyer for the tryout, and as we were on set, I decided to come to this also," said B.J. Young from St. Louis, Missouri.

Young has previous professional experience and is looking to get back into the game. In fact, he was once acquired by the Delaware team when they were known as the 87ers in 2014.

At the very least, he was glad to have an opportunity to connect with fellow fanatics of the sport.

"We don't know each other from a can of paint, But when you come together on the court, the ball talks for itself, we talk defense" he said. "And you just try to fight through the tightness, and you just try to have a good time."

Young also has experience playing basketball outside of the United States, which is a real possibility for any players who do not make the cut during Blue Coats tryouts.

"If they don't make the NBA, they have it on their resume, they go play overseas, and they get a lot of opportunities in other countries," said Isaiah Fox, Assistant Coach for the Delaware Blue Coats.

The Blue Coats season begins with a home game on Saturday, November 6 at 7:00pm. To learn more about the organization, visit their website.

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