By John Denton
August 8, 2017
ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic’s NBA G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, will be under the direction of a couple of names quite familiar to basketball fans all throughout Central Florida.
Anthony Parker, a former Magic player and a scout for the organization for the past five seasons, has been named as Lakeland’s General Manager. Meanwhile, Stan Heath, the men’s basketball head coach at the University of South Florida from 2007-14, was named as Lakeland’s inaugural head coach.
The Magic purchased the Erie (Pa.) Bayhawks in December and announced plans to move the franchise to Lakeland and it will begin play there in November. The Magic are the 17th NBA team to own and operate their own NBA G League franchise. Having it in close proximity to Orlando should allow the Magic to better maximize its utilization of the Lakeland franchise.
“With Anthony and Stan, we have established solid basketball leadership for our G League team in Lakeland,’’ Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman said. “Having our G League team closely aligned and in unison with the parent club is vital to our success. Bringing Anthony and Stan on board to guide those operations and lead that group will be of great value to us.’’
The Lakeland Magic will play their 24 home games at the RP Funding Center. The NBA G League season is made up of a 50-game regular season, plus a postseason, and the season runs from November to April. Season ticket deposits for the 2017-18 season are now being accepted by calling 863-825-3258 or by logging onto LakelandMagic.com.
Parker, 42, has worked for the Magic for the past five seasons as a scout both domestically and abroad. Prior to that, Parker played in 494 NBA games over nine seasons with Philadelphia, Orlando, Toronto and Cleveland. The older brother of WNBA superstar Candace Parker, Anthony averaged 9.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists and shot 40.4 percent from 3-point range in his NBA career. Additionally, he spent six seasons playing professionally in Europe where he won two EuroLeague MVP awards, two EuroLeague championships and five Israeli National Cups.
Heath, 52, was a successful collegiate head coach for years, leading Kent State, Arkansas and USF to NCAA Tournament bids. His greatest success came in 2002 when he guided an upstart Kent State program to 30 wins and a spot in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA tourney.
From there, Heath was the head coach at Arkansas from 2002-07 and guided the Razorbacks to two 20-win seasons and two trips to the NCAA Tournament.
Heath then made the move to Central Florida’s Gulf Coast and Tampa where he coached USF from 2007-14. His Bulls won at least 20 games in the 2009-10 and 2011-12 seasons. They made it to the NCAA Tournament in 2011-12 (winning two games) and to the NIT in 2009-10.
Heath, who won a National Championship in 2000 as an assistant coach for Michigan State, has worked the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Boston College.
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