AMAYA NAMED TO SKAGIT COACHING STAFF
Slam assistant coach Tyler Amaya is extending his foray into the coaching world after being named to the staff of the Skagit Valley College men’s basketball program.
Amaya will serve as an assistant to Skagit’s new head coach Brock Veltri, who was named to the position by the college in July, after coaching at Carroll College in Montana for the past four seasons.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to coach at Skagit Valley,” Amaya said. “Coach Veltri is a great guy whom I can learn a lot from and I believe we can be very successful here.”
Amaya made his debut in the coaching ranks as an assistant coach for the Slam during the team’s 2013 International Basketball League season. Under head coach Rob Ridnour’s tutelage, the pair helped lead Bellingham to an 18-2 record and the team’s second straight IBL championship.
“I want to thank Coach Ridnour and the Slam for the opportunity to coach with them this past spring, it was a pleasure to learn from him while coaching many good friends,” Amaya shared.
First joining the Slam in 2008, Amaya played an instrumental role in the team’s first IBL championship win that season, and went on to compete in parts of four seasons with Bellingham between stints with professional teams overseas, which took his basketball career to five different continents, until injuries forced him to the sidelines.
A native of Skagit County, Amaya has been a notable figure in the region's basketball community for over a decade. He led Mount Vernon High School to a 3A state championship in 2001 and Western Washington University to consecutive NCAA-II West Regional Tournament appearances in 2005 and 2006, with stints at Gonzaga and Dixie State College in between.
Amaya and the Cardinals open their season at home on November 29 against Green River Community College.More info:
- View Amaya's career profile
- Watch Amaya's game highlights from Saudi Arabia
MATTESON SIGNS WITH NORWEGIAN TEAM
The Slam has announced that center Evan Matteson has signed a contract to play professionally in Norway this winter.
The 6-foot-10 native of Edmonds, Wash., and former Meadowdale High School standout will be departing next week to Bergen, Norway to join the Gimle BBK team.
Matteson will be tasked with helping improve Gimle’s fortunes in Norway’s BLNO league, the country’s premier men’s basketball division. The team has finished with losing records in the previous three seasons and most recently lost in the first round of the 2012-13 BLNO playoffs. The 2013-14 season tips off on October 4 and runs through March.
Matteson was a key figure in the Slam’s 2013 International Basketball League championship season, helping the team to an 18-2 record and posting averages of 15.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He was also Bellingham’s leading shot blocker with 1.5 per contest.
His biggest moment of the 2013 IBL campaign came on May 27, when he nailed a buzzer-beating three-point shot to give the Slam a 106-104 win over the Portland Chinooks and helped preserve what was then an eight-game winning streak for the club.
This will be Matteson’s first experience playing professionally overseas. Last fall, Matteson was drafted by the NBA Development League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers, becoming the first Slam player to earn that distinction.
This summer, Matteson participated in the Jamal Crawford Summer Pro League in Seattle, earning First Team All-League honors and had the opportunity to play alongside Crawford, Isaiah Thomas and NBA All-Star Blake Griffin.
Matteson will become the second Slam player to compete in Norway’s BLNO league. Swingman Paul Hafford, who played for the Slam from 2008 to 2012, competed for the Ulriken Eagles during the 2009-10 winter season.More info:
- View Matteson's player profile
SLAM TRIO PICK UP POSTSEASON HONORS
Slam guards Jacob Stevenson and Rico Wilkins and center Blake Poole each picked up postseason awards for their play in the International Basketball League, as selected by the basketball website USBasket.com.
Stevenson was named both the IBL’s Guard and Player of the Year, Wilkins was selected as Sixth Man of the Year and Poole the league's Center of the Year by USBasket.com, a subsidiary of the popular website Eurobasket.com, which serves as an online resource for teams, coaches and players from around the world.
Stevenson, in his eighth season with the Slam, led the team in scoring with 22.6 points per game and also led in field goal percentage at 61 percent. He also provided a valuable defensive presence, ranking second on the team in both steals and blocked shots, with 51 and 21, respectively. Three times in 2013 Stevenson scored a season-high 30 points.
Wilkins, in his rookie campaign as a pro, came off the bench to average 16.9 points per game and finished as one of the Slam’s top three-point shooters, connecting on 39 percent of his outside shots. After a slow start to the season, Wilkins went on to score in double figures in his last eight games, and scored a season-high 34 points on May 24 against the Salem Sabres.
Poole averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds per game in his third season in Bellingham. As one of the league's top post players, he was named IBL Player of the Week in mid-June following dominating performances against Vancouver and East Bay.The trio helped the Slam capture their second straight IBL Championship, which they won in dramatic fashion, 117-114 over the Vancouver Volcanoes, on July 5 in Portland. Wilkins led Bellingham with 27 points on 5-for-7 shooting from beyond the arc, while Stevenson was just behind with 26 points. Poole finished with a double-double of 20 points and 12 boards and was selected as the game's MVP.
BACK-TO-BACK IBL CHAMPIONS!
The Slam held off a furious comeback from the Vancouver Volcanoes as they captured the 2013 International Basketball League championship, 117-114, on Friday at Eastmoreland Court.
The Slam opened the game on fire, bolting out to a 16-5 lead just five minutes into the game, and led 29-16 after the first quarter.
After Bellingham scored the first three baskets of the second quarter to go up 19, Vancouver went on a 15-2 run buoyed by back-to-back three-pointers by guard Paul Hafford to trim the deficit to six, at 37-31.
The long-range shooting of Hafford would be a theme of the night as his shot largely kept Vancouver in the ballgame. But the Slam went into halftime with all the momentum and a 57-40 lead after forward Chas Kok drilled a buzzer-beating shot from just inside half court.
The Slam held serve in the third quarter to take a 90-75 lead into the fourth, but aggressive play by the Volcanoes and missed opportunities at the free throw line by the Slam allowed Vancouver to creep back into the game.
With Bellingham still leading by 15, at 115-100 with 3:08 left following a Rico Wilkins trey, Hafford nailed two more threes on consecutive possessions to pull the Volcanoes within 9.
Bellingham came up empty on their next two possessions and Vancouver took advantage with an and-one play by guard Garret Sim to narrow the gap to 6, at 115-109 with 1:30 left.
Guard Drew Ready made one of two free throws the next trip down, before Sim and Hafford each hit a two and three, respectively on their next two possessions sandwiched between a pair of free throw misses by Bellingham with under a minute to play to close within two, at 116-114.
Ready connected on one more free throw to go up by three with under 30 seconds to play, before Vancouver's Josh Tarver missed a game-tying three attempt that appeared to spell the end of their comeback try. But the Slam again came up empty on two free throw tries to give Vancouver a glimmer of hope with 2 seconds left. The Volcanoes drew up a great play to give Hafford a solid look as time expired but it hit the front rim.
Wilkins led the Slam with 27 points on 5-of-7 shooting from downtown, while guard Jacob Stevenson finished with 26. The game's Most Valuable Player honors went to center Blake Poole, who posted a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Forward Chehales Tapscott led Vancouver's losing effort with 25 points and 13 rebounds, while Hafford put in 21 on 6-of-9 three-point shooting.
The victory gives the Slam their second consecutive IBL title and third overall for the organization, and also marks the first time in league history that a team has won the IBL title playing on the road.More info:
- View box score
- Watch the game's final play
- View IBL playoff tournament information