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BLOOMINGTON — The Bloomington Flex expect to build a rivalry with the newest Midwest Professional Basketball Association franchise.

The Champaign Swarm were announced as the MPBA's third charter member Wednesday, joining the Flex and the Chicago Force.

“Having such a close rival in the league will be perfect for the Flex,” said Scott Henderson, owner and president of the Flex. "Our fans will be able to make some road games, and their fans will easily be able to come over here as well. It’s going to be a great situation for everyone.”

Jim Sheppard, the former public address announcer at Memorial Stadium and Assembly Hall for the University of Illinois, will serve as general manager for the Swarm, adding to his duties as the league's director of sales and marketing.

“They’ve got a rich basketball history in that area, and with Jim Sheppard on board, they’ll have a very solid operation," said Henderson.

The inaugural MPBA season begins in January.

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