Monday, December 17th, 2012 at 8:55 am  |  12 responses

More Than Just a League

The UBA is offering pro ballers a good chance to make their mark.

by Drey Wingate / @ProStatus85

For many players across the globe, basketball is more than just a game: It is a way of life, a path taken to make progress and create other opportunities. And for a small percentage, it’s a job. The UBA (Universal Basketball Association) has become a highly recommended platform for aspiring and current professionals to make their mark. Next to the NBA D-League, the UBA is the most stabilized league in the country. Over 70 players have gone on to earn overseas contracts as well earning as spots in prestigious summer leagues, including the NBA. With the minor league market being at an all-time low and many players suddenly finding themselves struggling to finish a complete season, the UBA has proven to be the place to be for players from all levels.

With all the talent in this expanding league, no two players have stood out more than the dynamic duo of Jermaine Barnes and Freddie Williams [pictured right], of the defending champion GIE Maile Matrix. Both players were selected to participate on the USA National Team during the William Jones Cup this summer in Taiwan. Prior to being teammates for the first time during the 2011-12 season, both Barnes and Williams had UBA championships and all-star selections on their resume. Having two of the top players in the league on the same team was more than enough for GIE to claim their spot at the top.

Combo guard Freddie Williams is an NCAA Division II product out of Clayton State. Williams was selected as a JUCO All-American while attending Seminole Community College in Florida, where he averaged just a shade under 20 ppg, 6 rpg, 3 apg, 2 steals per, shooting a shade over 50 percent from the field. Standing at 6-2, Williams is freakishly athletic, scores with great confidence and is very efficient on defense, even against bigger guards. Williams has played in the SEBL, ABA and spent time overseas in the Dominican Republic and Tokyo. His career in the UBA has been nothing short of consistent. During his tenure in the league Williams has earned two UBA titles, two All-Star team selections, and was name ALL-UBA Shooting guard of the year last season.

Reigning UBA MVP Jermaine Barnes was the first player from the UBA featured in a SLAM article, and he is also the main reason why the UBA has received its national attention. In 2011, he was named by all USA Sports Reporters as the United Stated shooting guard of the year, beating a list of candidates that included top-notch overseas and NBA D-League players. Barnes’ resume is pretty impressive for a guy who comes from the small college ranks: He has played in Japan, the Dominican Republic, Saudi Arabia and Mexico. At 6-4 Barnes can play any position around the perimeter and has a respectable post game. His recorded accolades include multiple MVP awards, championships, first-team mentions, and an incredible 63-point performance while hooping professionally in Japan in 2008 (All-Japan Tournament). Even though he has yet to suit up for an NBA game, Barnes is a well known force in the basketball world. When it comes down to hoops, Barnes has been there and done that, except for that one place… the NBA.

With the expansion of the Universal Basketball Association this season, the sky appears to be the limit for this league. With GIE returning their stars, Williams and Barnes, and adding new pieces to an already incredibly balanced team, this is definitely looking like the year for the UBA to obtain the nationwide respect they have been working for years to get.

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  • 22ATLBaller

    The GIE Movement is unlike anything I have seen. SLAM never covers minor league guys. I watched them play online for USA and the UBA highlights. Dudes can ball. ANd stupid funny. I will be attending the game Jan. 6th. See what all of the fuss is about

  • TrainingMyKids

    These guys are an inspiration for my kids. Keep up the good work gentlemen. I look forward to watching your games this season.

  • Dr.Crook2013

    Love it. Keep working guys

  • MikeT69

    Freddie Williams is a true under dogg story. Love to see it. See you guys on the 6th

  • MissLadie82


  • Lovenlive2000

    who is cuter? Jb or Fredre.lol.

  • DySin

    I’m so happy for you, Freddie! Good for you

  • The Invisible Man

    I’m not here to judge but the UBA has to be the top minor league. I played in the ABA and all of the teams in the South went under. ANd I mean all. I played in the UBL it was ok. I joined the PBL and it was good. But the problem was we didn’t go anywhere. Now I see why the UBA gets so much respect. The league is about the players. My boy Chris Miller-Williams avr. 5ppg at SCSU and played in the UBA one year and got to Europe. That’s love. I’m looking forward to playing this season. And putting a stop to this GIE stuff, and Juice and all that talk. I love those guys. JB is a big time trash talker but has the game to back it up. Freddie is JB jr. it seems because he talks just as much. GO PRIME!!!!!!!!!!!! Damn right. Georgia PRIME baby.

  • 侯以糯

    Jemine Barnes is my favort player on team usa. great shooter and very good person. i cant wait until next jones cup. i will bring more gifts for you and williams. :)

  • MikenMike

    Been to several UBA games. Both guys are good players. Great Duo. Great job guys

  • Braian Proenza

    WOW. Jermaine Barnes is amazing. I remember uruguay

  • CaptainK

    Look at these dudes killing doin it. Much love to the UBA and the Juice. Now stop playing and go back overseas. or at least help these Hawks