The summer men's basketball league that allows Division I players at Iowa and Northern Iowa to hone their skills finds itself scrambling for extra talent less than two weeks before the June 18 openers.
It's a unique situation for 29th-year Prime Time League director Randy Larson, who in the past has been forced to turn away applicants by the hundreds.
"Those small-college and junior-college guys around that, maybe four or five of their guys applied one year and only one got picked," Larson said. "This year, there's plenty of extra spots."
Applications can be found at PrimeTimeLeague.com and are due June 12. There's also an open tryout in Iowa City on June 13. The entry fee is $50.
Larson needs to fill eight 10-man rosters, up from six a year ago due to the large recruiting classes at Iowa and UNI. By NCAA rule, only one set of college teammates can be on the same team, and this is the second summer that incoming recruits count. Fran McCaffery's Hawkeyes, for example, have five recruits needing PTL court time in Andrew Fleming, Brandon Hutton, Dale Jones, Ahmad Wagner and Christian Williams. (A sixth, Isaiah Moss, is not participating while addressing academic obligations.)
The PTL plays seven games at the North Liberty Community Center and three at the Cedar Valley SportsPlex in Waterloo, a Thursday/Sunday schedule that ends July 30. In addition to scholarship and walk-on players at Iowa and UNI, Larson said Turkey pro Matt Gatens, an Iowa City native, is participating and depending on what happens with his pro career, outgoing Hawkeye center Gabe Olaseni might, too.
But for there to be 80 college-level players available in the June 15 draft, more applicants would help. Larson also is looking for two more corporate sponsors.
"The league doesn't work if the talent level isn't very high," he said.