Billington looks for a future in ABA

Jason Reed, Reporter

With the help of the Internet, Tim Billington, a Bakersfield College student, did some searching on Google and found a semipro American Basketball Association team that was having tryouts.

Billington’s searching paid off when, earlier this year, he signed with the Orange County Novastars.

“I just did some searching on Google,” Billington said when asked how he came across the NovaStars. “They had open tryouts, the coach liked me and now I’m playing for him.”

The Novastars are among dozens of teams nationwide that are members of the ABA. The season began last month, and the Novastars have a 5-6 record and are scheduled to play the Fresno Griffins on Dec. 7.

The ABA, no relation to the ABA of 40 years ago that merged with the NBA in 1976, has been operating since 2000 but has a history of some teams succeeding but many teams folding in that time.

When asked about the competition, Billington said, “It’s not that different (from college). You can’t see it as if someone is above you. At first you get a little nervous, but it eventually goes away.”

Billington didn’t play basketball for Bakersfield College and said that he didn’t feel comfortable playing in BC head coach Rich Hughes’s system.

Billington graduated from Bakersfield High and also played basketball for the Drillers.

“My high school coach knew I could play but he didn’t think I was mature enough and (he) felt I couldn’t do anything,” Billington said.

Billington said he was motivated to try the ABA because of the doubt by family, friends and others around him who didn’t think he would take the next step in basketball.

“People thought I was working out and training for no reason,” he said. “So I had to take action and prove everyone wrong who didn’t think I was going to do anything.”

Billington said the ABA is just a step to where he really wants to go.

“I’m trying to go overseas, this is just a step. I have a couple of options to go overseas, but I haven’t heard back at the moment.”

Billington said he hopes to be overseas before December.

He went on to explain that he had contact with teams in Finland and the Philippines.

Billington said he would be interested in the NBA, but he also understands the degree of difficulty it would take for someone like him to get there because he didn’t play any college basketball.

“They’re mainly looking at division one players and I didn’t go to a D1 school. If you didn’t get that far, you basically have a one percent chance of making it, and I would love to be in that one percent,” he said.