December 27, 2007
Hardhats scout Holly Springs for new home
Representatives of the World Basketball Association’s Mississippi Hardhats were in town last week seeking a new home for their team, known as the Atlanta Hardhats last season.
Kenny Lester, president of basketball operations, and Gregory Humphrey, director of player development, said the 12-team association is a training ground for player development for the National Basketball Association.
Lester said the Hardhats are seeking a place to play during the season which begins in April and ends in June. The representatives are talking to the Holly Springs School District and Rust College, hoping to get an agreement for the use of a gym, he said.
The Hardhats would play 10 home games, two exhibition games and 10 games on the road, he said.
“We want Holly Springs to be home base,” he said.
The team’s home base was in Hattiesburg two years before spending last season in Atlanta. The league is four years old, he said. Teams are also located in Tunica, Jackson and Biloxi, plus in Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and South Carolina.
Humphrey said the interest in basketball in Mississippi high schools and colleges is a driver for the developmental league.
“We develop players,” he said, adding that the Memphis Grizzlies and the New Orleans Hornets of the NBA would have interest in the league as a source of players as well as a place for injured players to come play while they recover.
The Hardhats would recruit players from colleges.
In a handout to the mayor and board, Lester stated over the last three years, the organization has worked with high schools to develop a great partnership between WBA owners and the community. It stated the Mississippi Hardhats would make a donation to the school for use of the gym, hire students part-time to assist with game management/operations, create a scholarship and conduct at least one health fair and youth clinic for the students.
Mayor Andre’ DeBerry thanked Lester and Humphrey for their interest in Holly Springs and said, “Basketball is big in this neck of the woods. People would come out to see a good product.”
Tryouts for the Hardhats is expected to take place in a few months, Humphrey said.
Jerry Montgomery of Atlanta is owner of the Mississippi Hardhats.
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