PORT ANGELES — A new professional men’s basketball venture based in Port Angeles is ramping up with the intention of beginning its inaugural season in November.
Tryouts for the Port Angeles Rams will be held in the coming weeks as the new American Basketball Association (ABA) preps to take the floor this winter in the Washington Division of the Pacific Northwest Region, competing against teams in the Seattle and Tacoma areas.
Neah Bay boys basketball coach Gerrad Brooks and former Neah Bay girls basketball coach Lisa Halttunen are the team’s co-owners.
Brooks said fielding the team serves a multitude of purposes.
“Over the years seeing that in most of our communities we have a lot of problems with drug and alcohol abuse, with depression with groups of men from age 18 to 25,” Brooks said. “There’s a lack of opportunity, and the common thread has been that many of these guys like basketball and what it can offer. There are a lot of talented guys but not doing anything with it and don’t have an outlet to be seen in this area, so we want to create a platform and help them achieve the goals they have for themselves.
“We look at basketball as a positive way to uplift the community, showcase players’ skills and growth, and possibly get them further along in their career and create some opportunities.”
The team roster won’t be limited to ages 18 to 25, however.
“Age 18 and older who are not playing high school basketball,” Brooks said.
But if you are 45 or 50 and you can play ball, you can play ball. We don’t mind.”
Brooks said the team was looking toward the end of August and in September to hold tryouts.
“We have a head coach in Kenrick Doherty and we are looking for assistant coaches now.”
Doherty is a former Neah Bay player and Red Devils boys basketball coach.
Brooks said he was hoping to play home games at Peninsula College or Port Angeles High School.
“Right now PC is an option and we are looking at one other place, hoping to talk with them soon and see if that’s an option,” Brooks said. “We’d love to play at PA high school but haven’t had those conversations.”
Brooks said admission to ABA games is normally $10.
“We will pay our players, not every ABA team is able to do that, but we will,” Brooks said.
Brooks has scouting connections to leagues in Europe, so there could be a potential path for those with the talent necessary to move up the basketball ladder.
As for the team nickname, Brooks said it came about by glancing up at the Olympic Mountains.
“Those mountains seem like a place where an animal like a ram can thrive,” Brooks said.
Rams’ games could potentially be built around themes of community empowerment and improvement as well.
“We want to build a team that is a part of the community, not just a form of entertainment, but about helping the community,” he said. “Each home game would have a community-theme like youth sports, or raising funds for cancer research or drug and alcohol awareness and we would spotlight those groups while trying to create a home team, a team that people relate to and feel a part of.
“We are really trying to get things on the ball and create some good times and some fun in the city,” Brooks said.
Brooks said he’s looking for potential team sponsors as well.
For more information, call Brooks at 540-220-4160 or email [email protected].
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]