A professional basketball team brought their combine to Poughkeepsie in hopes of finding more talent. The Basketball League’s (TBL) Syracuse Stallions, based out of Central, NY have been hosting combines over the entire state, and on Saturday, they finished a combine packed with players all around the Hudson Valley area. The three hour event showed off players agility, IQ and talent.
“I am fresh out of college, this was the hardest thing I did workout wise, and it was a lot of fun,”said Will Anderson, a college junior from New York City.
The Stallions are one of the founding franchises of TBL, a minor professional league which formed in 2018 with 24 teams. Syracuse finished their shortened 2019-20 season with a 19-2 record. As the Stallions leave their two year contract agreement in the American Basketball Association (ABA), they now find themselves in a new league full of more teams and talent. In their two years in TBL, the Stallions finished with an overall record of 43-4.
Nick Perioli, the head coach of the Stallions, said he looks for guys who have the right attitude, who can listen and encourage each other on and off the court, as well as a player who is simply dedicated to getting better and improving as a Stallion.
“After playing with the Stallions for my first year, the head coach at the time stepped down,” Perioli said. “Mike and I were looking for a new coach for the team, but Mike insisted I run the team. I wasn’t sure I wanted to take on the challenge and once I decided to go with it, the season went pretty good.”
Perioli coached men’s basketball previously at Oswego State, after coming back from playing in Germany. He also assisted coaching the Liverpool High School varsity basketball team.
As the Stallions look to make sure everyone is in the best condition possible for the season, Perioli focuses on the positives of a COVID-affected schedule.
Stallion tryouts will conclude at the end of the month, with training camp beginning in January and games resuming in February.
With six combines hosted by the Stallions in all parts of the state, making the team is a challenge in itself. Between 12 to 15 players will be promoted to a roster spot, along with three practice squad members.
When looking at possible tryout locations for the Stallions, strategy waskey. They held two in their hometown of Syracuse, along with ones in Buffalo, Rochester, Scranton and, of course, Poughkeepsie.
“We were wondering what the Poughkeepsie area has to offer,” Perioli said. “No other team tapped into this area. You have guys coming from Albany, players from around here, and some even from New York City. This allows more accessibility for these guys to just drive an hour or two instead of four or five for a tryout.”
As the head coach of the Stallions, Perioli looks forward to the season as well as his expectations for the group of guys he looks to coach.
“I fully expect to compete for a championship,” Perioli said. “I’ve got to believe in my team. We will have our ups and downs so we have to stay composed and just grind towards the end and expect at the end to compete for the championship.”