The perfect fit is important when it comes to building a professional basketball team and finding success. It's just as important when considering where that team is going to play.
That's why the Sauk Valley Predators will be taking the season off this spring, according to team owner Brad Grenoble.
"We want to make sure we get in a league that's been around and is run properly," Grenoble said Friday afternoon. "We want to make sure we're doing what's best for us as a family, for the team as an organization, and the communities that support it. We want to do the right thing here, and not bring something bad to the fans in the area."
Two years ago, the Predators arrived in the Sauk Valley amid much fanfare, bringing the Premier Basketball League to fans in the surrounding communities. Last year, the PBL merged with the Independent Basketball Association, but problems arose with IBA teams failing to show up for games against PBL squads.
When the two leagues split after last season, the PBL was taken over by a group from central Illinois. The new league-runners moved the start of the PBL season to January, and Grenoble and his wife, Leah, determined that it wasn't what they wanted.
"They didn't even vote on it, they just made the change," Grenoble said. "It was easier for them to book dates in January, but it's not at all for us, with all the high school stuff going on around the area at that time. Leah and I talked, and decided not to do it this season."
The toughest part of the situation was breaking the news to the players and the Grenobles' four children.
"I think it was harder on the kids," Grenoble said with a laugh. "The guys kind of understood, but the kids begged us to do it. Even Leah and I, when we're watching TV at night, we'll get that feeling like we wish we were there at the game in person."
Grenoble said he's keeping a close eye on the progress of the PBL, and how the league is run under new management, as well as watching the Continental Basketball Association. The old CBA has been revived in recent years, and were as interested as the PBL in having the Predators on board as one of their teams.
Grenoble termed the hiatus as himself and Leah biding their time and weighing their options. The two will determine which league is best for the Predators, and are planning on getting back into professional basketball next season.
"We just want to make the right move for all parties involved going forward," Grenoble said. "We want to play in a strong league, a well-run league, a financially-stable league, and we're watching closely to figure out the next step for next year.
"We left things on a good note with our sponsors and the local communities after the last two seasons, and we're ready to pick up right where we left off next season."
The team may look different by the time that rolls around. Coach Ryan Vasquez and his players supported the Grenobles' decision, and a lot of the Predators have found new teams to play for. Some have gone overseas, others are working hard on their own, but all are keeping an eye on their own future, as well as that of the Preds.
"They're doing anything they can to help build their résumé, and that means not waiting around but getting better somewhere," Vasquez said. "They're trying to reach their goals, and that's great for them. It's always a possibility that we could very well lose a few guys out of this situation, but they love this area and the fans and the support, and they all love playing here.
"All we can do right now is roll the dice and see what happens. It was very tough telling the guys, and things didn't turn out the way we wanted them to this year. But as a team, we're all here for Brad and Leah, and we have big plans of bouncing back next year."