ABA team to hold tryouts

ABA team to hold tryouts

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Former Pima College men's basketball coach Mario Ramirez has been hired to become the first head coach the Tucson Buckets.

The Buckets are scheduled to begin play this November in the American Basketball Association.

The league is classified as semi-pro with players making a salary of anywhere between $3,000-$5,000.

Club general manager Brandon Miller says the squad is pursuing former Arizona Wildcats alums such as Joseph Blair and Brendan Lavender.

Blair most recently spent two seasons as a volunteer assistant for the Wildcats working with Sean Miller's big men.

Lavender averaged four points in four seasons with UA and played professionally in Sweden during the 2012-13 season.

The club was co-founded by Miller and Jatai Gonder. Ramirez also was head coach on the high school level here in Tucson at Pueblo. He spent four seasons leading the Aztecs program (2005-2008).

The modern day ABA began play in 2000 but has been plagued with franchise instability. A reported 50 teams folded operations in the leagues first six seasons. 66 clubs played games during the recently completed 2014-15 campaign although none played the full 30-game schedule.

The league did however have a broadcast deal this past season with ESPN in which two games a week were distributed online via ESPN 3.

Tucson will likely be placed in the Southern California division which was won this past season by the Arizona Scorpions, based in Phoenix. The Scorpions play their home games at Glendale Community College. The rest of the division has teams located in San Diego, Oceanside, Orange County and Inland Empire.

Tryouts for the Tucson Buckets will be Saturday, June 20 from 8 a.m. to Noon at the Sporting Chance Center on West Curtis Road.

The club will play a 15-game home schedule. The site of those games is still under consideration but could possibly be at either Pima College (West) or the Tucson Convention Center.

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