Getting a chance to play in the NBA can be like winning the lottery. So for guys who have played basketball their whole lives and when a player doesn’t hit the lotto he goes to a league like the United Basketball League hoping to be seen.
“I want to be able to get each one of these young men that make this team an opportunity at a higher level,” said Texas Wranglers Head Coach Ozzie Denson. “Maybe it’ll be the D-League. Maybe it’ll be the NBA. Maybe it’ll be overseas. That’s my goal to try to get those twelve guys an opportunity just once in their lives.”
The league has come a long way and now Denson runs the league as its Commissioner. The Wranglers practice at Dallas Christian University and play their home games in Addison. Players who have been around like thirty four year old Wranglers Forward Reggie Griffin point to a number of positive differences from other minor leagues.
“You won’t have dates that are cancelled,” said Griffin. “If you buy tickets to come to a game you’ll have a game and you’ll have a professional game.”
Aside from running a high caliber basketball league Coach Denson also preaches value to his players and you can hear it in their voices.
“They’re not just looking for a basketball player,” said Griffin. “They’re looking for somebody that can conduct themselves the right way.”
“We don’t put up with all that cursing on the court,” said Denson. “You can come to a game and it’s a Christian atmosphere. You can bring the kids and the family. There won’t be cursing or arguing. We don’t tolerate that.”
With eight teams across the south from Jackson, Mississippi and Springfield, Missouri to Austin, Texas, Denson says he would like to expand but won’t rush it.
“I want good owners,” said Denson. “I want people that have a passion for basketball and want to build an organization.”
In the mean time, the teams that are in the league will continue to showcase their players hoping to get the same opportunity given to the NBA’s most recent phenom.
“You look at a guy like Jeremy Lin,” said Wranglers Forward Greg Baker. “He’s getting an opportunity that a lot of rookies don’t get. He got a chance.”
Watch the video in HD above produced by our News Without The Blues team – the only news team in Texas that only reports on positive news! The video was reported by Journalist Chris Blake and shot by Videographer Chris Ghanbari.