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Mavericks/ABA Finals notes: Mavs go through Easter practice after full week of events leading up to Finals

By Kirk Copeland
(318) 525-8853 cell
kirk@abamavericks.com

Sunday, April 5th


(Shreveport, LA.) – Just two days remain before the defending ABA champion Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks welcome the Jacksonville Giants, Miami Midnites, and Chicago Steam to Hirsch Memorial Coliseum for the Championship Finals, and the past week has been filled with appearances, parties and camps for the players, coaches, and staff of the host team.

“I’m ready for a little break,” said guard Anthony Jackson Saturday night at the Susan G. Komen Dancing for the Cure benefit held at Horseshoe Casino and Hotel’s Riverdome. “We’ve done a lot of appearances this week. I’ve personally made nine. It’s great to be out in the community, though. We get to meet some fantastic people and feel like we’re making a difference.”

The ABA Championship Finals start Tuesday, April 7, with Jacksonville facing Miami in a 6 p.m. game, followed by Shreveport-Bossier and Chicago in the late game. The teams will play double elimination Tuesday through Thursday, with the remaining two squads facing off Saturday, Sunday and Monday (if necessary) in the best-two-of-three Championship Series. Visit abafinals.com for a complete schedule for the Finals.

The Mavs went through practice Easter Sunday, putting in final preparations for this week’s games.

“We have had good preparations throughout the last three-plus weeks, and we’ll be ready,” said Mavs top assistant coach Sarah Gayler. “The guys are focused and excited about the experience to chase a championship.”

MAVERICKS/ABA FINALS NOTES

***** The Mavericks will be hosting the official ABA Finals Press Conference and Luncheon Tuesday at noon at the Mavericks Training Facility (the MTF). Media members and sponsors that have still not RSVP’d should do so as soon as possible to Kirk Copeland at 318/525-8853 or by email at kirk@abafinals.com. Members and coaches from all four teams will be on hand to answer questions and share their thoughts on the ABA Finals.

***** The Mavericks are excited to present the SPAR Athletics 2015 ABA Championship Finals Fan Zone and 3-Point Contest Preliminaries. The Fan Zone will begin Tuesday, April 7, from 1-6 p.m. at the MTF (located across Pershing Blvd. from Hirsch Memorial Coliseum). Fans will enjoy free food, music and interactive activities. The 3-Point Contest has a $5 entry fee and will consist of four groups: Girls age 13-15, Girls age 16-19, Boys age 13-15 and Boys age 16-19. Contestants will shoot from the high-school regulation 3-point line, with winners getting a chance at $4000 in scholarship money.

***** Mavericks players and coaches spent the past week visiting local schools to further develop the relationship the team has made with area youth. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to give back to the community that has welcomed us so warmly,” said guard Tony Hooper. “When I was a kid, I looked up to athletes. I wish I’d had the opportunity to meet some of my heroes like these kids are getting. It’s really rewarding to work with these kids.”

***** The Jr. Mavericks Club celebrated the end of the season with a party Friday night at the MTF. Mavericks players Alex “The Ticket” Sanders, Hooper, Jackson, Josh “The Silent Assassin” Pace, and Big Jon Rogers hung out and shot hoops with members of the Jr. Mavs Club. “We came out to a game about 2 ½ months ago to see the Mavs play the (Texas) RimRockers,” said Brad Long, whose seven-year-old son Caden was among the Jr. Mavs having the best time. “Caden enjoyed everything about the game so much, and then getting to meet the players after the game, so we were obviously hooked. The Mavs are such class guys, on and off court, and I think it’s important for kids to be around strong role models like them. It’s so cool that he’s getting a chance to watch these champs play in the same league that his grandfather watched the Iceman (George Gervin) and Dr. J (Julius Erving) play in.” One of the highlights of the party – which also included members of the Lady Mavs Dance Team, assistant coaches Gayler and Al Waldvogel, Maverick the Mascot, and members of the Mavs staff – was when Waldvogel, sitting in a folding chair at one end of the court, sent a high, arcing bounce pass that Jackson gathered and turned into a rim-rattling alley-oop dunk. The Jr. Mavs erupted in awe as Jackson strutted to give Waldvogel a high five.

***** Early Saturday, the MTF hosted the Mavericks Camp of Champions, with over 150 kids ranging in age from 5-17 years old participating in two separate sessions. “It was a huge success in every regard,” said Gayler, who organized the camp. “The younger kids got to have a lot of fun, and the older ones got a lot of good instruction from players and coaches. I think all of us got some good out of this camp. I really enjoy working with young players, and this was a great opportunity for everyone involved.”

***** One of the highlights of the hectic week was Saturday night at the Horseshoe Riverdome, where players, coaches and staff were on hand for the Susan G. Komen Dancing for the Cure breast cancer benefit. Mavs marketing director Miann Ferison served as one of the celebrity judges as six local news icons competed in the Dancing with the Stars-style contest. Three Mavericks players – Rogers, Sanders and Jackson – stole the show when they got onstage for an impromptu dance-off before the huge crowd at the event. While all three players drew roars of approval from the masses, it was Rogers’ fancy moves that ultimately won the dance-off. “I didn’t know what I was doing, but I was having fun,” said Rogers with a majestic grin. “The important thing is the reason we were there: to raise awareness to find a cure for this terrible disease. Even if I did have to embarrass myself.”

***** MIAMI MIDNITES +++ The Midnites are gearing up to head to Shreveport for the Finals, beating the Marion County Stallions of the FBL 153-147 in overtime on March 28. Ray Taylor (50 points, 13 assists) and George Gray (46 points, 12 assists) led the way for a Miami squad that was resting several players in anticipation of the Finals. +++ From the Midnites Facebook page Sunday:

Happy Easter to all those who are celebrating! Tomorrow morning, the ‪#‎Midnites fly out to Shreveport for the‪#‎ABA2015Finals with one mission. Bring back an ‪#‎ABA championship!

****** JACKSONVILLE GIANTS +++ The Giants have been busy doing work in the Jacksonville community leading up to the Finals. Among the events the Giants have taken part in over the last few weeks include a benefit for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville, the Congenital Heart Association Walk of Jacksonville, and Easter dinner service at the City Rescue Mission. The Giants also did several television and radio spots during their preparations to come to Shreveport. +++ Some quotes from Jacksonville players and coaches:

– “First and foremost give God the glory for the opportunity to go in for the 5th year straight to represent Jacksonville in the final four. This year we have a new team and the guys are anxiously waiting to go into Shreveport and try to bring in another ABA championship.” Head Coach Kevin Waters

– "I'm very excited about another opportunity to play for a championship. We as a team are dedicated, focused and determined to bring another title back to the City of Jacksonville. The time is now!" Ty Thomas

– “I am happy that we are going to the final four. I am excited. There are going to be a lot of great teams there and hopefully we will win!” Bruce Brown

– "I feel blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of this championship run. We have a chance to bond together for one common goal. Win!" Terry Martin

***** Other big events will be taking place at Hirsch Memorial Coliseum and the MTF in the few remaining days before the Finals. For a complete list of events, visit sbmavs.com or abafinals.com.

***** Tickets for the Finals can be purchased at abafinals.com or the Hirsch Memorial Coliseum box office. Call 318/631-4930 for more ticket information.

***** For further information on the ongoing ABA playoffs, visit sbmavs.com and abafinals.com.

Stay in touch with the Mavericks, the ABA and the ABA Finals on Facebook, Twitter, and the worldwide web.

Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks

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Facebook: Shreveport Bossier Mavericks

American Basketball Association

Web: www.americanbasketballassociation.org
Facebook: ABA Pro Basketball
Twitter: @ABAProBall

ABA Finals

Web: www.abafinals.com

Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks Basketball

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