Bryan Beaver has dreamed of owning a professional basketball team since he was 11. Next November, that dream will be realized.
Beaver and co-owner Jerald Smith are bringing semi-professional basketball back to Augusta, beginning next year.
The Georgia-Lina Hurricanes will join the American Basketball Association and will play teams in both the Mid-Atlantic and Atlantic South divisions.
“We felt it was the right time to step up a level to the ABA,” said Beaver, who is the chairman and founder of Elite Sports Group. “We know the owner of the ABA, Joe Newman, is a guy who works day by day to assure things are in the team’s best interests. It’ll be quality basketball for the fans and city.”
Beaver and Smith are currently in talks with Paine College on using its facilities as the Hurricanes’ home venue, according to Paine athletic director Tim Duncan. A deadline for submitting the Hurricanes’ schedule to Paine has been set for Jan. 21.
“Their group has visited the facilities and talked to us, and they are very impressive,” Duncan said. “We’re currently working out the details to make it happen. It’s not done, but it’s something that’s being pursued.”
Beaver said the core of what will be the Hurricanes roster is in place, currently eight to 10 players who are making the transition from the amateur level. The group has been competing at the amateur and recreational level in Augusta since 2005.
“The stage of quality basketball gets better at the semi-pro level,” Beaver said. “It’s better competition and a chance to travel. We felt this was a good opportunity to do that.”
Beaver will be head coach of the Hurricanes. Michael Bennett, Barry Burnett and Christopher Stallings will join him on the bench as assistants. The team’s main colors will be green, orange and white.
Beaver said details of a January tryout would be announced at a later date. The team will play in a charity showcase in February at the Bernie Ward Community Center.
The ABA schedule runs from November to March, with games played throughout the week. The league was founded in 1967.
Along with the men’s team, Elite Sports Group will begin a women’s semi-professional team set to start in May. The Lady Hurricanes will play in the Women’s Blue Chip Basketball League and are also in talks with Paine to use its facilities.
The women’s team will be coached by Bennett and assisted by Burnett. A tryout will be held Jan. 26 at Dogwood Terrace Boys and Girls Club. The WBCBL schedule runs from May to August.