After a long time gone, Windy City Bulls finally return to their home court

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • After 20 months of darkness, the G-League's Windy City Bulls will finally return to action on Wednesday at NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates against the Motor City Cruise. Former Northwestern star Scottie Lindsey is also scoring in double figures.

    After 20 months of darkness, the G-League's Windy City Bulls will finally return to action on Wednesday at NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates against the Motor City Cruise. Former Northwestern star Scottie Lindsey is also scoring in double figures. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 11/16/2021 10:07 PM

The post-pandemic rebirth was a little slow getting around to the Windy City Bulls.

But after 20 months off, a skipped season and four-game road trip to begin this year's schedule, the local G-League outfit will finally return to the basketball court on Wednesday at NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates against the Motor City Cruise.

 

"It's been 20 months and just talking with our season ticket holders, talking with group leaders, basketball fans in general, there's a lot of anticipation and excitement I think to see us back on the court," team president Brad Seymour said. "It's a sign of things kind of getting back to normal. We're thrilled to have the opportunity. It's been a long time."

G-League play ended when everything else did on March 11, 2020. Last season, the G-League held a shortened season in the Orlando bubble, which the Bulls did not participate in. That's why it's been so long since Windy City has hosted a game at the renamed NOW Arena.

The Bulls are off to a 1-3 start through four road games. They're a little short-handed since big men Marko Simonovic and two-way player Tyler Cook are on the West Coast with the NBA Bulls, now that center Nikola Vucevic is sidelined by COVID protocols.

Former Minnesota power forward Daniel Oturu has been solid, averaging 23 points and 11.5 rebounds in the opening four games. Two-way guard Devon Dotson is averaging 16.8 points and 6.3 assists. Rookie guard Ethan Thompson and former Northwestern star Scottie Lindsey are also scoring in double figures.

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Naperville native Henry Domercant will make his home debut as head coach of Windy City.

"I'm trying not to focus too much on the outside things and focus on the game at hand and put our team in position to win," Domercant said. "It's tough when you start the season with four road games, but I think we're competing and we're headed in the right direction."

The naming rights to the arena have changed, but Seymour said there won't be much different about the game-day experience. The team is not using the curtain to section off the end zone seating area, in order to create more room to stay distanced on the floor.

Seymour said fans sitting on the floor will need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. Fans sitting in the regular seating areas will not need to show proof of vaccination.

The G-League schedule is a little different this year. November and December will feature the Showcase Cup, where each team will play 12 games, then finish off a leaguewide tournament in Las Vegas at the end of December. A more traditional schedule follows for January, February and March.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Motor City Cruise is a new team, a Detroit-based affiliate of the Pistons, while their old affiliate in Grand Rapids was taken over by the Denver Nuggets. There are also new G-League teams in Birmingham, Ala., and Mexico City.

Seymour said much of the downtime was spent building stronger relationships and sharing ideas with other G-League franchises.

"In the last six months, it's really been a mad scramble," Seymour said. "We're basically putting a year's worth of work into four or five months to get this thing up and going."

Domercant, a first-time head coach, talked about the biggest difference in leading a team, compared to his previous role as an assistant.

"The biggest transition I think is time management and decision-making," he said. "There's a lot more decisions you have to make than you would ever expect. At the end of the day, it's still basketball and I love it. I'm so thankful to be in the position I'm in."

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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