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NAZ Suns to face G League champ 3 times as club releases 2018-19 schedule
NBA G League

The Northern Arizona Suns released their 2018-19 schedule on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018. The Suns are set to open the 2018-19 campaign against the Santa Cruz Warriors on Saturday, Nov. 3. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (Les Stukenberg/Courier, file)

The Northern Arizona Suns released their 2018-19 schedule on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018. The Suns are set to open the 2018-19 campaign against the Santa Cruz Warriors on Saturday, Nov. 3. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (Les Stukenberg/Courier, file)

Former coach Ty Ellis set to return to PV with Kings on Dec. 8, Jan. 29

PRESCOTT VALLEY — For the third consecutive year, the Northern Arizona Suns will open the season at the Prescott Valley Event Center, hosting the Santa Cruz Warriors on Nov. 3, the club announced Monday afternoon.

A record 27 teams will play an NBA Gatorade League schedule this season. Northern Arizona enters its third year in Prescott Valley after being purchased by the parent-club Phoenix Suns and moved from Bakersfield, California, in April 2016.

2018-19 Northern Arizona Suns Schedule

Date Team Time

11/3 Santa Cruz 7 p.m.

11/6 at Iowa 7 p.m.

11/7 at Sioux Falls 6:30 p.m.

11/9 at Austin 7:30 p.m.

11/13 Santa Cruz 6:30 p.m.

11/16 Agua Caliente 7 p.m.

11/18 at Santa Cruz 5 p.m.

11/20 Salt Lake City 6:30 p.m.

11/23 at Stockton 7 p.m.

11/24 at Agua Caliente 7 p.m.

11/27 Memphis 6:30 p.m.

11/30 at Sioux Falls 7 p.m.

12/1 at Iowa 7 p.m.

12/4 Austin 6:30 p.m.

12/6 at Austin 7:30 p.m.

12/8 Stockton 7 p.m.

12/11 Capital City 6:30 p.m.

12/13 at Salt Lake City 7 p.m.

12/16 Memphis 3 p.m.

12/29 at South Bay 5 p.m.

1/6 Sioux Falls 3 p.m.

1/9 at Wisconsin 7 p.m.

1/10 at Grand Rapids 7 p.m.

1/12 at Maine 7 p.m.

1/15 at Canton 7 p.m.

1/19 Texas 7 p.m.

1/22 Salt Lake City 11 a.m.

1/25 at Texas 7:30 p.m.

1/26 at Oklahoma City 7 p.m.

1/29 Stockton 6:30 p.m.

2/1 Lakeland 7 p.m.

2/2 Delaware 7 p.m.

2/5 at Rio Grande Valley 7 p.m.

2/8 at Memphis 7 p.m.

2/12 Rio Grande Valley 6:30 p.m.

2/14 at Agua Caliente 7 p.m.

2/20 South Bay 6:30 p.m.

2/23 at Stockton 7 p.m.

3/1 Oklahoma City 7 p.m.

3/3 at Oklahoma City 2 p.m.

3/5 at South Bay 7 p.m.

3/10 Texas 3 p.m.

3/12 Agua Caliente 6:30 p.m.

3/15 Greensboro 7 p.m.

3/16 Rio Grande Valley 7 p.m.

3/19 Iowa 6:30 p.m.

3/23 South Bay 7 p.m.

Named the club’s third head coach in as many seasons in July, Bret Burchard will take the Suns through a 50-game schedule that begins Saturday, Nov. 3, against the Warriors in Prescott Valley. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

Buchard said he likes the way the scheduled worked out to begin the season, with Santa Cruz, Sioux Falls and Austin on the list.

“Those three are pretty good G League programs, Santa Cruz, Sioux Falls and Austin. Those teams are typically atop of the standings,” Burchard said Monday night in a phone interview.

The Suns will face the reigning G League champion Austin Spurs three times this season, the first matchup coming Nov. 9 in Austin. The Spurs make the trip to Prescott Valley only once this season on Dec. 4.

Northern Arizona will also see inaugural head coach Ty Ellis and his Stockton Kings four times this year. The Kings, formally the Reno Bighorns, are the G League club of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. Ellis led the Suns during the 2016-17 inaugural campaign and was called up to Phoenix to be an assistant coach the next season.

”It will be way cool to play against [him],” Burchard said. “He’ll get a warm receptions in his first trip back to Prescott Valley. I can’t wait to see his set up in Stockton, it’s all new. It will be fun to go head-to-head.”

Burchard said the two have yet to connect via phone, but he’s sure it will happen soon.

“I’m sure we’ll make dinner plans when he comes to town, then go to battle,” Burchard said.

Ellis, who was hired to coach the Kings earlier this month, will be in town Dec. 8 and Jan. 29, 2019.

Northern Arizona is scheduled to play three of its first four games on the road, with trips to Iowa (Nov. 6), Sioux Falls (Nov. 7) and league-champ Austin on Nov. 9.

The longest road trip of the season is Jan. 9-Jan. 15 when the club will travel to Wisconsin (Jan. 9), Grand Rapids (Jan. 10), Maine (Jan. 12) and Canton on Jan. 15. The road trip against the Herd in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, will be the first time in G League history the two clubs will meet.

The Suns end 2018-19 campaign with a season-long six-game homestand. The season finale is March 23 against South Bay.

As for the annual NBA G League Showcase, which is rumored to be in Las Vegas this season, no dates have been announced by the league, but could likely fall within Dec. 17 and Dec. 29.

Brian M. Bergner Jr. is sports editor for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @SportsWriter52, or on Facebook at @SportsAboveTheFold. Email or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.


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