TSD Memphis

Sat04192014

Sports

When it’s the Reign, ‘serious ballers’ try to stand out

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Sidney Adkins, head coach of the ABA's Bluff City Reign, approaches tryouts for the team looking for players that will fit into a winning mix.

That was the case again last Saturday (June 8) during a tryout-session at Carver High School.

"(We're) looking for guys with good defense skills," said Adkins, "and if the guys are good, team-concept players."

The session attracted a good group, although not as many big men as he would have liked to have seen, said Adkins. The energy, however, reflected "serious playing," he said.

Recent college graduates, local professional players and "serious ballers" were invited to the first tryouts of 2013.

The ABA exists to give basketball players an opportunity to continue pursuing their dream of playing professional basketball at a high level, says Adkins and the Bluff City Reign administrators.

"It could be a veteran coming off injury or on the downside of his career. They all get a chance to be seen by scouts from all over the World....In the end, we're here as a brief pit stop for our best players.

"If he can really play at a high level, we want him to move on and do bigger and better things. We'll constantly replenish our roster with solid local talent, and we will win."

The Reign has made the playoffs each of their two years in existence, including a trip to the ABA Elite Eight following the 2012-'13 season.

Last season, despite carrying as few as six players out of town for road games, the Reign made serious noise in the ABA with a roster of nothing but Memphis players. Point guard Maurice Mickens (Middle College High School, Southwest Tennessee Community College and The LeMoyne-Owen Colleage) made the ABA All-Star roster and was the All-Star Game MVP with a monster performance: 35 points, 8 assists and 8 steals.