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Dakota Wizards
Dakota Wizards logo
Founded 1995
History Dakota Wizards
IBA: 1995-2001
CBA: 2001-2006
NBA D-League: 2006-Present
Arena Bismarck Civic Center
City Bismarck, North Dakota
Team Colors Purple, Green, Black, Silver, White (2008-2009 through present)
Purple, Black, Silver, White (2006-2007 through 2007-2008)
Head Coach Rory White
Owner Steve McCormick
Championships (4) 2 CBA 1 IBA 1 D-League
Division Titles (8) 4 CBA 2 IBA 2 D-League
Affiliations Memphis Grizzlies
Washington Wizards

The Dakota Wizards are an American basketball team in the NBA Development League. The team was originally formed in 1995 as a member of the International Basketball Association, a basketball circuit based in the northern United States and western Canada. In the IBA's final year of operation, the 2000-01 season, the Wizards took the IBA title.

After that season, the IBA merged with several teams from the CBA. While conventional wisdom held that the smaller, regional IBA franchises would not survive against the stronger CBA squads, the Wizards held their own with a regular season record of 26-14, and a single-elimination 116-109 win over the Rockford Lightning in the CBA's championship game.

In the 2002-03 season, they were the favorites to win the title, but they lost in the semi-finals to the eventual champion, the Yakama Sun Kings. Their third season in the CBA was their best yet. The Wizards rolled to a 34-14 regular season finish, proving themselves as the top team in the league. The Wizards beat the Rockford Lightning 3-1 in the best-of-five semi-finals of the playoffs, and in the winner-take-all championship game, they beat the Idaho Stampede 132-129.

After the 2003-2004 season, coach Dave Joerger left the Wizards for a coaching opportunity with the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The Wizards announced that former assistant coach Casey Owens would become the head coach and Brian Walsh would become the assistant. The Wizards lost their opening two games versus the Skyforce, but then cruised to a 12 game winning streak before losing to Sioux Falls on New Year's Eve, 2004. The Wizards also lost two potential all-stars, Billy Keys and Dickey Simpkins, left the team in mid-season to play overseas.

In the end, the Wizards clinched home court advantage throughout the 2005 playoffs with a league-best 32-16 record. Dakota split their first four playoff games with their first-round opponents, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, until Sioux Falls won game five with a 102-97 victory.

After the 2004-05 season, head coach Casey Owens was replaced by former Baylor University head coach Dave Bliss. The Wizards ownership never made it clear why Owens was not offered a new contract after coaching the team to the best record in the CBA in 2004-05. Hiring Bliss caused some controversy among basketball fans, as Bliss was previously involved in a basketball scandal involving the death of one of his Baylor University players, Patrick Dennehy. Dave Bliss then resigned after the 2005-2006 season, in which the Wizards finished 19-29 and missed the playoffs.

It was widely speculated that they were going to fold, but on April 1, the team announced a three-year lease agreement with their arena. Five days later, on April 6, they announced they were switching to the NBA Development League.

On May 25, 2006, the Wizards announced that Dave Joerger would be returning as the team's Head Coach for the 2006-2007 NBA Development League season. He was signed to a two year deal. A few weeks later it was announced that the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards would be the team's NBA affiliates. The number of affiliates varied from team to team. Some had three affiliates, some had two, and the Los Angeles D-Fenders had one. As former CBA teams, the Wizards, the Sioux Falls Skyforce and the Idaho Stampede had more experience in signing players, so they were given two affiliates each. The less experienced teams were given three.

2007 D-League Championship trophy awarded to the Dakota Wizards

On April 29, 2007, the Wizards won the D-League championship, defeating the Colorado 14ers 129-121 in overtime [1]. On June 22, 2007, the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA hired Wizards coach Dave Joerger as an assistant coach along with Johnny Davis and Gordon Chiesa.


Season By Season

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, % = Win–Loss %

Season W L  % Playoffs Results
Dakota Wizards (IBA)
1995-96 7 17 .292
1996-97 17 13 .567 Won Semifinals
Lost IBA Finals
Dakota 2, Magic City 1
Black Hills 2, Dakota 1
1997-98 14 20 .412
1998-99 12 22 .353
1999-00 30 6 .833 Won Divisional
Lost Semifinals
Dakota 2, Winnipeg 0
Magic City 3, Dakota 1
2000-01 30 10 .750 Won Round 1
Won Semifinals
Won IBA Finals
Dakota 2 Magic City 0
Dakota 2, Saskatchwan 0
Dakota 3, Des Moines 2
Dakota Wizards (CBA)
2001-02 26 14 .650 Won Semifinals
Won CBA Finals
Dakota 3, Fargo-Moorhead 0
Dakota 116, Rockford 109
2002-03 31 17 .646 Lost Semifinals Yakima 3, Dakota 1
2003-04 34 14 .708 Won Semifinals
Won CBA Finals
Dakota 3, Rockford 1
Dakota 132, Idaho 129
2004-05 32 16 .667 Lost Semifinals Sioux Falls 3, Dakota 2
2005-06 19 29 .396
Dakota Wizards (D-League)
2006-07 33 17 .667 Won Semifinals
Won D-League Finals
Dakota 115, Sioux Falls 113
Dakota 129, Colorado 121 (OT)
2007-08 29 21 .580 Lost Round 1 Sioux Falls 101, Dakota 89
2008-09 27 23 .540 Won Round 1
Lost Semifinals
Dakota 114 Iowa 109
Utah 103, Dakota 93
2009-10 24 18 .571
Totals 346 232 .599

Current roster

Dakota Wizards
Current Roster
Head Coach: Rory White
Assistant Coach: Kevin Rice
Athletic Trainer: Jamal James
F/C 18 Connor Atchley (Texas)
G 23 Maurice Baker (Oklahoma State)
G 32 Romel Beck (UNLV)
G 22 David Bell (Montana)
G 15 Darren Cooper (Portland)
G 21 Cheyne Gadson (Oklahoma State)
G -- Lester Hudson (Tennessee-Martin)
F 34 James Jackson (Eastern Michigan)
F 7 Renaldo Major (Fresno State)
C 44 Hasheem Thabeet (Connecticut)
F 6 Curtis Withers (UNC-Charlotte)

Players assigned by NBA teams

Players recalled by NBA teams

Players called up by NBA teams

External links

International Basketball Association
Billings RimRockers | Black Hills Gold | Black Hills Posse | Dakota Wizards | Des Moines Dragons | Fargo-Moorhead Beez | Mansfield Hawks | Magic City Snowbears | Rapid City Thrillers | Rochester Skeeters | St. Cloud Rock'n Rollers | St. Paul Slam! | Salina Rattlers | Saskatchewan Hawks | Siouxland Bombers | South Dakota Gold | Winnipeg Cyclone | Wisconsin Blast


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