LDC Superior League reveals Ignite as new team for future prospects

by Jo Fabian Jr.

The LDC Superior League announced Sunday the formation of its new team for future prospects, named the LDC Ignite. Inspired by the NBA's focus on developing young talent, this team is set to blaze a trail for emerging basketball stars.

“We are thrilled to officially announce LDC 'DL Ignite' as the name of our new team for future prospects,” said founder Jermaine Barnes in a statement. “It’s a fitting moniker for young players taking the first step in their promising professional careers in FIBA or the NCAA. These players have a passion for the game and a desire to develop their skills for the next level. We take immense pride in seeing them blaze trails as inaugural members of LDC DL Ignite.”

The team will feature post-graduate athletes with NCAA eligibility, alongside college graduates aiming to play professionally in Europe the following season. An exemplary model from last season is the GIE Cibao Immortals, which featured Tay Hall (20 years old) and Mark Hall (college graduate). Tay Hall is now signed with Columbus State University, while Mark Hall is playing alongside Dwight Howard in Taiwan. The objective for the club is to help players progress to FIBA or the NCAA, and former LDC Commissioner and LNB Coach Guillermo Reyes will manage it.

"I take a lot of pride in helping these young men get their education in the NCAA or sign their first contract overseas," said Barnes. "This is why we created a brand for these specific players. All athletes in the LDC are paid players, but we want to ensure these young men maintain their amateur status with the NCAA. With the new wave of NIL and the transfer portal, I felt it necessary to help these kids develop in a first-of-its-kind team. They will compete against pros while continuing to grow as young men. The older players on the team will serve as mentors, preparing them for their future roles as imports within leagues such as Europe, Asia, or Latin America."

The LDC Superior League also partnered with the ABASACA Federation to help Dominican players receive opportunities to play college basketball in the United States, enhancing the scope and reach of the LDC Superior League program. This partnership underscores the league's commitment to developing young talent and providing pathways for players to advance their careers.

The LDC Ignite has recently started signing players for the 2024-25 season. So far, the players added include Kam O'Bannon, D'Angelo Elliott, Sterling Benjamin, Khalil O'Bannon, and Pascal Volz Jr.

The team will be dedicated to developing young players through a comprehensive one-year program, focusing on athletic and personal growth, and preparing them for successful futures in basketball.