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Bloomington Flex vs Springfield Xpress Basketball 5

Nate Fuqua drives to the basket while playing for the Flex in 2013 at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington. Fuqua will face his former team Wednesday as a member of the Windy City Groove.

BLOOMINGTON — The Bloomington Flex career scoring leader, Nate Fuqua, will be in an opposing uniform when the Flex visit the Windy City Groove for a 7 p.m. Midwest Professional Basketball Association game Wednesday at Chicago’s Kroc Center.

Fuqua, who won a Defensive Player of the Year Award with the Flex, switched franchises to be closer to his family and its business in Chicago. After scoring 711 career points with the Flex, he averages 15.0 points and 9.5 rebounds for the Groove.

“Nate is a great player and we wish he were still with us,” said Flex owner Scott Henderson. “He’s a great young man and we understand his desire to be closer to home. He made tremendous contributions while he was here.”

The Groove (1-1) have split a pair of one-point games, beating the Gateway Steam, 92-91, before losing to the Chicago Force, 86-85. Christopher Dillard, the reigning MPBA Player of the Week, leads the league with 13.5 rebounds per game.

The 6-foot-7 Dillard, who has no college experience, averages 20.0 points.

“He’s big. He’s raw,” said Flex coach Carlnel Wiley Jr. “I’m sure they’ll have a nice supporting cast around him.”

Wiley plans to use a “team effort” to contain the 6-3 Fuqua, who dazzled Flex fans for three seasons with his ability to draw contact, make shots and complete three-point plays.

“We’re not always going to have the same guy on him,” Wiley said. “We’ve got a guy who can be physical. We’ve got guys who can finesse so we’ll kind of keep him off his toes a little bit.”

The Flex (2-1) are led by 6-4 guard Justin Bocot, who averages an MPBA best 30.3 points while shooting .636 from the field. The Bloomington native is a perimeter player in name only.

“He’ll get to the rim,” Wiley said. “We know he’s probably not that good of a shooter, but who in the heck is going to stop him from getting to the basket?”

Other top scorers for the Flex are Anthony Slack (17.7), C.J. Hampton (15.3) and Fabyon Harris (13.3).

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Reporter

Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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