Lone Star Strikers bring professional basketball to the area

By: Doug Sarant, Special to WOL Sports
| Published 04/01/2014

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THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- Professional basketball is back in the area and the Lone Star Strikers are about to make a huge splash.

The International Basketball League's Lone Star Strikers are gearing up for their break out season. Strikers owner Glenn Shepherd said he would like the organization to join the NBA Development League in three years.

The Strikers will field a team of 12 players, including five from the NBADL (NBA D League). (The IBL and NBADL have a close working relationship.) The team holds invitation-only tryout games which are free to spectators at the Conroe YMCA every Saturday at 4 p.m. The team is in their preseason evaluation for players that want to be on the Strikers. The Strikers have players coming in from all over in hopes they will be selected for this year's team.

The IBL, based in Vancouver, Wash., is entering its 10th season. The Bellingham (Wash.) Slam are the two-time defending champions of the mostly West Coast league.

The Strikers are building a facility in the area in which to play. Until then, their home will be Oak Ridge High School. The season runs from April to late July with the IBL schedule starting in mid-May. CISD Athletic Director, Danny Long, along with Oak Ridge high school are working on available dates and times.

Shepherd said there have been talks with the North American Hockey League and Women's Blue-Chip Basketball League to have teams become joint tenants in their soon-to-be-built facility. The complex will seat 3,200 people for basketball and hockey games and 4,200 for concerts and other stage events. It will include suites and a Kid Zone on the second level. Parents will be able to check in children younger than a certain age, leave them until the end of the third quarter and then check them out for the rest of the game. To find out more about the facility, visit the website link below.

The Strikers have hired Jermaine Byrd to coach the team. Byrd was an assistant coach last season for the NBADL's Sioux Falls Skyforce. He held the same position with the Tulsa 66ers the season prior after serving as video coordinator and basketball operations assistant in 2010-11 and 2009-10, respectively, according to the Skyforce website.

Byrd is a Houston native who graduated from the University of Sioux Falls in 2006 with a BA in Social Science. He helped the Cougars to their first NAIA Division II Final Four in 2004, and was the director of women's basketball operations at the University of Houston from 2006 to 2008.

In 2011, Byrd was an assistant coach on the USA men's basketball team that won a bronze medal at the Pan-American Games.

The Strikers already have several promotions slated for this season, including Armed Forces Night with free admission to all current and retired military members; Middle School Night, with free entry for middle school students with an ID; and Hot Dog Night, when the first 200 fans get a free hot dog. The team will also have meet and greets with the players at various events in the area.

The team will be hosting a contest that everyone can get involved with to help design and name the team mascot. Radio stations, newspapers and the CISD schools will help by uploading a picture and name of the mascot they are creating on the website.

The organization is also looking to add Striker Dancers. An audition form is located below.

"We want to reach out to community programs in the area and assist where we can. We will work with Habitat for Humanity and other like organizations," Shepherd said.

"The Season is fast approaching and we are offering advertising and looking for sponsors of all sorts", Shepherd said. "Companies can email info@lonestarstrikers.com to receive info on packages. We are looking for Students that want to work the games and get paid. They will be trained on game day software that the professionals use. Jobs are posted on the website so just apply."

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