By: J. Daniel Pearson
It’s time for country residents to believe in magic, as professional basketball makes its debut tonight, November 16, at Silver Spurs Arena in Heritage Park when the Osceola Magic – the Orlando Magic’s affiliate in the NBA G-League – hosts the Texas Legends at 7 p.m.
It will be the first of 24 home games the Magic will play in Kissimmee, after the team relocated from Lakeland following the 2022-23 season.
Osceola Head Coach Dylan Murphy promises that fans will enjoy the style of play he believes his team will deliver. “For an NBA-G League roster, we are a little older and more experienced than most teams,” Murphy said during the team’s Media Day gathering on Friday at the Amway Center. “We are going to play an upbeat, pressing style of basketball on both ends of the court. We have a lot of guys that have experience both in the G League and some NBA time and that will be a big advantage.”
Some of those experienced players include DJ Wilson, a 27-year-old former first round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks. Wilson has 146 games of NBA experience – where he averaged 4.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He split time last year between Oklahoma in the G-League and the Toronto Raptors, where he played in four games.
Wilson went to camp with the Magic this pre-season and views signing with the Osceola Magic as extension of that experience and another opportunity to return to the NBA. “Because I spent time with the organization in the summer league and pre-season, it made sense for me to sign with the Osceola Magic because I am familiar with their system, their players and how they want to do things. For me, it’s an opportunity to provide some veteran leadership and showcase what I can do.”
Another veteran looking to make his mark is Mac McClung, who originally signed with the Los Angeles Lakers after going undrafted out of Texas Tech in 2021. The 6-2 McClung was a two-way player (contract which allows movement between NBA and G-League rosters) with the Philadelphia 76ers last season and became an internet sensation when he won the Slam Dunk Contest at the NBA All-Star game. He also scored 10 points that weekend in the NBA Rising Stars Game.
McClung averaged 12.5 points in two games for the 76ers last year; while pumping in 19.8 points per game while helping the Delaware Blue Hens to the 2022-23 NBA G-League championship. A free agent, McClung decided to sign with the Osceola Magic after spending time with its Summer League with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he averaged almost 20 points per game. He signed as a free agent with the Orlando Magic this summer and attended pre-season camp where he averaged just under five points per contest in three games.
After being placed on waivers by the Magic, he signed with the G-League Osceola Magic. “I had several overseas opportunities again this year, but for me, it’s all about the NBA and trying to get back there. I believe this organization is my best opportunity to do that. My goal is to develop and just try to get better every day.”
Also look for guard Brandon Williams to provide offensive spark for the team. He averaged 12.9 points per game in his lone NBA season with Portland in 2021-22 and has averaged more than 20 points per games in his last two G-League seasons.
Several players with Florida ties will also attempt to make the regular season Osceola Magic roster. David Nickelberry is a small forward who played his high school ball at Windermere Prep in Orlando; Chris Walker – a native of Bonifay, Fla. — played two years at the University of Florida and averaged eight points per game across the last six G-League seasons; while Tyler Hawkins is a 6-3 point guard who is making his professional debut after playing his senior season at Debary College in South Florida.
In all, the Osceola Magic will play a 50-game G-League schedule. For a third consecutive year, the G-League schedule will be divided into two parts, a 16-game Showcase Cup and a 34-game regular season schedule. After the Showcase Cup, records will be reset for the regular season. In all, each team will play 24 home games, 24 road games and two neutral site games at the Winter Showcase.
The first 1000 fans attending Osceola’s first home game against Texas will receive a free Osceola Magic replica jersey, compliments of Advent Health. Osceola Magic season, group and suite tickets are currently on sale, with season and group tickets starting as low as $10 game. Promotional calendar and single-game tickets availability will be announced in the near future. For ticket information, visit OsceolaMagic.com or call 407-447-2140.
Considered the second best basketball league in the world by talent, the G-League serves as a developmental league for their NBA affiliates. Each NBA team may assign up to two first-year or second-year players who are under a standard NBA contract to its affiliated G League team. Each NBA team may also have two players under two-way contracts that allow them to move freely from their NBA to G-League affiliates. Many current NBA players have gotten their professional start in the G-League.
2023-24 Osceola Magic Home Schedule
Silver Spurs Arena – Heritage Park
- Thu. 16 Texas 7 p.m.
- Fri. 17 Memphis 7 p.m.
- Thu. 30 Memphis 7 p.m.
- Tue. 5 Texas 7 p.m.
- Wed. 13 Birmingham 10:30 a.m.
- Fri. 15 Birmingham 7 p.m.
- Sat. 16 Mexico City 7 p.m.
- Thu. 18 Westchester 7 p.m.
- Mon. 22 Cleveland 7 p.m.
- Wed. 24 Cleveland 7 p.m.
- Mon. 29 Wisconsin 7 p.m.
- Wed. 31 Delaware 7 p.m.
- Thu. 1 Ontario 7 p.m.
- Sun. 4 Maine 3 p.m.
- Sun. 3 Delaware 3 p.m.
- Tue. 5 Maine 7 p.m.
- Mon. 11 Raptors 7 p.m.
- Wed. 13 Raptors 7 p.m.
- Fri. 15 Long Island 7 p.m.
- Sat. 16 Long Island 7 p.m.
- Mon. 25 Des Moines 7 p.m.
- Wed. 27 Des Moines 7 p.m.
- Fri. 29 Indianapolis 7 p.m.
- Sat. 30 Indianapolis 7 p.m.