LOGAN SQUARE — Sharone Mitchell says recreational basketball leagues are stuck in time.
The founder of Chicago Stats League hopes his new venture changes that belief immediately.
"A lot of people are paying a lot of money for a product that's really inferior," said Mitchell, a Logan Square resident and West Pullman native. "Everywhere, you see companies and businesses that are doing things better, with more innovation and providing a better customer experience, and that's not really happening with rec leagues."
Mitchell said the CSL, which will play Saturdays beginning Aug. 17 at Hamlin Park, 3035 N. Hoyne Ave., will offer a "similar experience to the NBA treatment."
On the court, players will receive team T-shirts with numbers, starting lineups will be announced prior to games, and printed box scores will be provided immediately after the final buzzer. Also, all referees will be certified by the Illinois High School Association.
In addition, there will be Player of the Week awards and an all-star game after the nine-week regular season. An MVP will be named along with a Sixth Man of the Year, Mitchell said.
The league will have 10 to 12 teams, with eight qualifying for the playoffs. The registration fee for each squad is $1,099.
"I feel like you're getting a little more bang for your buck," said Streeterville resident Matt Fleming, a manager at Pony Inn, the league's sponsor, and a former guard on St. Ignatius College Prep's varsity team. "It's definitely a different realm in terms of the sporting leagues we have in Chicago."
Chris Marshall, who will play guard on one of the three teams that already has registered for the league, is particularly interested in the statistics available with CSL.
"I coach middle school basketball [at St. Clement School in Lincoln Park], and am big into tracking stats," said Marshall, of the West Loop. "Most of my teammates have played on the same rec teams for several seasons together, and it will be fun to be see how we all stack up."
But his main passion is sports, specifically buckets. He won't have time to play in his league since he'll be serving as the PA announcer for every game, using his background when he was a DJ at legendary U of I bar Kam's in Champaign.
"I was a debate dork in high school, but my true love was always sports," Mitchell, 29, said.
Coincidentally, Mitchell's 30th birthday is Aug. 17, also the league's birthday of sorts.
He hopes basketball hatches other CSL offspring, specifically softball in the spring, and eventually indoor volleyball and outdoor soccer.
"A lot of people who play in these leagues, they work hard for 50 to 60 hours a week, and they want something to look forward to," Mitchell said. "I just want to create a viable alternative to the rec leagues that currently exist in the city."