September 19, 2021

Minor League basketball team arrives at Norwalk, led by former New Haven coach

NORWALK – Starting next spring, the Norwalkers won’t need to travel for professional basketball games, with a minor league basketball team ready to call the city their home.

the Connecticut Cobras will be part of the Basketball League, a national minor league basketball organization, and plans to participate in the March 2022 season, said Anthony Hill, owner of Team Cobras’ market.

The team, founded and based in Norwalk, was officially announced on July 21 by the Basketball League in a social media posting. Norwalk was chosen because of its location and its short distance from major cities, including Albany, New York and Boston, the statement said.

“Having a team that is close to the others but is a self-sustaining market is key,” said league CEO Evelyn Magley. “We are confident that Anthony and his group understand our values ​​and will provide a dynamic partner to this vital market. “

The basketball league, founded in 2018, is a 29-team league with 16 additional teams expected to join the league in 2022.

Hill, a Norwalk native, said he has been a fan of the minor league basketball organization since its inception. So when she announced her plans to expand, Hill jumped at the chance to bring a professional basketball team to her hometown.

Hill first contacted the Basketball League around February and spent months planning the team’s logistics. Trials will begin in September and run throughout the fall, he said.

By becoming the owner of the team, Hill was able to bring his son, Aaron, on board as a co-owner. Aaron is a student at Hill Regional Career High School in New Haven.

“It made my son a part of it when he was a kid,” Hill said. “He’s 17. It got him a part of it, we kept having these conversations and the Connecticut Cobras were born.”

With the Connecticut Cobras, Hill aims to bring professional men’s basketball back to the state and encourage positive change in the community around the team, not only by providing an outlet for young athletes, but hopefully by partnering with local businesses and organizing charity events.

“I wanted to give back to the whole state, to be a part of this initiative,” Hill said. “One important thing is to build community initiatives with the team, back to school functions, Stop The Violence initiatives.”

As the team searches for a place to host home games, they will be training at the Vale Sports Club in Middletown, Hill said.

The players, although considered professional athletes, will play for the league as a side game, earning between $ 500 and $ 3,000 per month, Hill said. Coaches will also be paid for their work.

“The league is affiliated with the International Basketball Association,” Hill said. “There have been a lot of guys who played in this league in 2021 who get contracts to play overseas or in the NBA. The opportunity to pursue a professional career and earn more money than what we do is great.

By day Hill is the HR payroll manager for Stevens Ford Lincoln in Norwalk, but the Cobras are quickly overtaking his free time, he said. Previously, he coached Wilbur Cross High School boys’ basketball from 2009 to 2012 in New Haven.

“This is becoming a full time project as we speak,” Hill said. “It will coexist with regular daily work. I’m certainly not approaching it as a part-time project.

Until the team receives sponsorships, ideally from companies in Connecticut, the Cobras will be funded by the people involved in the team, Hill said.

So far the Cobras have added Doc Hardy as VP of Media Relations, Wendell Maxey as Director of Social Media, Martine Senecal as Director of Player Development and Brand Management , Jay Rogers as COO and Briana Brown as President of Business Operations.

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