Durham News: Sports

Bull City Legacy brings professional basketball back to Durham

Members of the 2014 Bull City Legacy include several players from the Durham area.
Members of the 2014 Bull City Legacy include several players from the Durham area. Tobacco Road Basketball League

There’s a new kid on the block.

The Bull City Legacy professional basketball team is up and running in Durham.

The Legacy is one of the latest members of the Tobacco Road Basketball League, an independent minor league team. The TRBL, which began its third season in January, is comprised of 13 teams that play from January to June, including the Cary Invasion, the Carolina Gladiators and the Greensboro Cobras.

Bull City began as a traveling team. Umar Muhammad, founder of USports Consulting and general manager of the team, then held a series of informational meetings to gauge the community’s interest in a permanent team. Durham had been without a professional basketball team since the ABA’s Carolina Jaguars disbanded two years ago.

With the Legacy, Muhammad said the plan is to showcase Durham’s rich sports history.

“The brand of Bull City is just that – to highlight the sports legacy of the Bull City,” he said. “We need to find a way to honor former N.C. Central coach John McLendon, which is what we are doing with the Bull City.

“McLendon started the fast break, which is why he led the country in scoring. He was a cornerstone who innovated college basketball.”

The Legacy opened their season two weeks ago at Cary. They played the Invasion again Saturday in their home opener at Walltown Recreation Center in a 107-105 shootout.

Muhammad said Walltown is a perfect venue for the team’s mission.

“We were looking for a place that was tied to the city and the community, and we wanted it to be as close as it could to downtown,” he said. “Walltown is a brand new facility, and it’s across from the (Northgate) mall.”

Having local players on the roster is a key to any community involvement when it comes to sports.

J’Mell Walters (N.C. Central), Marqui Bunn (Shaw), Brandon Hobbs (Winston- Salem State), Stewart Holley (Rockingham Community College) and Amadou Sambou (St. Augustine’s) are some of the area players getting a second chance to further their careers.

But the main man is 6-foot-3 swingman Corey Evans from Cincinnati Christian College. Evans scored 33 in the loss against the Invasion and is averaging 22 points per game.

“Corey can play on any level because he’s a tremendous player and wants to get better,” coach Fred Whitaker said. “He’s a great shooter and an outstanding kid.

“The games are free, and it gives people a chance to see a great minor league organization. I’m really pleased about how this league is run.”

But it’s not all just about basketball. Muhammad said future plans include youth camps and clinics. Right now, however, he’s looking for volunteers and interns interested in the business side of sports.

“We want kids to learn more about sports event management,” he said. “There’s plenty that goes on behind the scenes, not just on the court; that’s where the jobs are – game-day operations. We want to give them the opportunity to learn from the ground up.”

Visit http://legacy.trblproball.com/ for more information.