With every basketball player it is always about taking the next step in their basketball career. Four former Junior Basketball Association (JBA) players have found a new place to live out their basketball dream as part of The Basketball League (TBL).
One of the players that gained this opportunity is former Philadelphia Ballers guard Jaylen Nixon. Nixon was a walking highlight reel during his time in the JBA and still is to this day. He has been playing in various Pro-Ams, such as the Rumph Classic and the Miami Pro League, as well as being a member of Fernhill Hoops in Philadelphia. Nixon was drafted 8th overall in the TBL Draft by the Reading Rebels but was later traded to the Wenatchee Bighorns, allowing him to team up with a former teammate.
That former teammate is forward Quadir Croston. Croston signed with the Wenatchee Bighorns on January 4th. Croston has played for many teams since his time in the JBA. In 2018, Croston played with the Rochester Razorsharks of the Pro Basketball Association (PBA) where he averaged 14 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 assists. After his stint in the PBA, Croston played for KK Pljevlja in Montenegro and Elbasani in Albania. He returned to the United States, where he played with the Lehigh Valley Flight of the East Coast Basketball League (ECBL). During his time with the Flight, Croston averaged 7 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in just 13 mins. After his time with the Flight, Croston joined the New Jersey Sport Club of the PBA, averaging 17 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks. JBA fans will be excited to see Croston and Nixon on the same court once again.
Another JBA alum Xavier Johnson, who played for the Atlanta Ballers, was selected 33rd overall in the TBL draft by the Georgia Soul. Before joining the Soul, Xavier Johnson was a member of the Atlanta Storm in 2021 and 2022. The Atlanta Storm participates in the Triple Threat Basketball League (TTBL) and previously the American Basketball Association (ABA). Due to his production with the Atlanta Storm, he has earned an opportunity with the Georgia Soul.
The final JBA alum that has joined the TBL is Deon Lyle. Lyle is one of most well known JBA alum outside of the Ball brothers. Lyle was known for his ability to get a bucket at any time during his time as a Chicago Baller and a JBA USA member. After his time in the JBA, Lyle signed with Aragats of the Armenia Basketball League A in October of 2019. Due to his performance in Armenia, Lyle returned to the States and made his first splash in the TBL with the Albany Patroons in February of 2020. After a brief stint with the Patroons, Lyle signed with the Tijuana Zonkeys of the CIBACOPA in March of 2020. Lyle returned to the TBL in 2021, but this time it was with the Enid Outlaws. Later that year, Lyle signed with FAP in Cameroon to play in the 2022 BAL qualifications. After his time in the BAL, Lyle once again returned to the TBL as part of the Potawatomi Fire, where he was a big piece to their season’s success alongside TBL MVP Deshawn Munson. On Tuesday, Lyle signed with the Albany Patroons, reuniting with former Potawatomi head coach Derrick Rowland.
Be on the lookout for all these former JBA players to succeed in the TBL this season. Quadir Croston and Jaylen Nixon will make their debut with the Wenatchee Bighorns on March 2nd vs. the Seattle Superhawks. Xavier Johnson will make his debut with the Georgia Soul on March 4th vs. the Central Florida Force. Deon Lyle will make his return with the Albany Patroons on March 3rd vs the Syracuse Stallions