Those in the Willamette Valley might see a familiar face if they catch a SlamBall game this summer.
Vincent Boumann, who played for the Salem Capitals during their inaugural season in 2022 and a McMinnville native, has been playing for the Ozone this season.
SlamBall, which has come and gone four previous times since it was introduced in 2002, returned to the sports world this year. And while there may be a ball, hoops and similar scoring, SlamBall is most certainly not just another basketball league.
“The owner created it for basketball and football players to have a common sport basically,” Boumann said. “So there’s a lot of physicality in the open floor”
And while the physicality may be a key, SlamBall takes the high-flying highlight poster dunks of basketball and takes them up. About 15 feet up.
SlamBall is played on a modified court that utilizes trampolines to take their players to the sky. And for a player like Boumann, that’s probably the biggest adjustment.
“I’m afraid of heights, so it’s been a little rough getting used to being 15 feet in the air,” Boumann said. “And not only that, there’s also a collision in the air.”
Aside from the height, the trampolines have made Boumann shift his game in multiple ways.
Traditionally, Boumann is a back-to-the-basket, low-post, offensive minded player. It’s what he relied on at Western Oregon University, how he shined for the Capitals and what got him signed by the Mazatlán Venados of the CIBACOPA league in Mexico.
In SlamBall, that element of offense essentially doesn’t exist. So while not being able to use his usual bag of tricks, Boumann has relied on his size and embraced the position of stopper.
At 6-feet 9-inches and 285 pounds, Boumann is the biggest in the league. And in a sport with much more physicality than basketball, that size is a major plus.
“Nobody really wants to come and hit me when I’m dribbling, but I think guys are also scared of me when they see me coming, when I’m coming to jump on the tramp or something,” Boumann said. “Really, nobody wants to collide with me in the air. I’m the tallest and the heaviest player in the league. Everybody tells me that guys are scared of me.”
Another plus for Boumann in SlamBall is his experience playing professional rugby for the Colorado XOs.
“I can take a hit and I can give that as well, I learned those skills in rugby and actually I might have not even got this opportunity if it wasn’t for rugby,” Boumann said. “When they first found me, they said that obviously I was a basketball player, I played professional basketball, but I also have some rugby experience under my belt within the last few years. And that made me very interesting is what they told me.”
The SlamBall season ends Aug. 17, and Boumann said he plans to shift his focus back to traditional basketball.
“I just had a good season down there in the CIBACOPA league, so I’m hoping to get another basketball contract and we’ll see what happens with SlamBall in the future,” Boumann said.