Lo­cal semi-pro basketball team starts first sea­son

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By CHAR­LENE MAYO cmayo@ches­pub.com

In an ef­fort to keep young men off the streets and steer them in the right di­rec­tion, basketball coaches, along with the Turner Sta­tion Con­ser­va­tion Teams, formed semi-pro basketball team, The Bal­ti­more Lords of War.

Ear­lier this year, coaches Der­rick Gil­more, Vin­cent “Pooh” Wil­lis and two oth­ers formed the team after

years of plan­ning.

“We talked about start­ing a team for years but never did any­thing about it. Fi­nally, we made a de­ci­sion to cre­ate the team after gain­ing re­sources,” Gil­more said.

Ac­cord­ing to Wil­lis, creat­ing the team was sim­ple.

To en­ter in the Amer­i­can Pro­fes­sional Basketball League (APBL), a branch-off of the Amer­i­can Basketball As­so­ci­a­tion (ABA), you have to pay the league fee, form a team, get coaches and uni­forms.

Once the coaches came to­gether and the fee was paid, team lead­ers gath­ered young play­ers from dif­fer­ent ar­eas of Mary­land, Penn­syl­va­nia and former mem­bers of Wil­lis’ youth or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Team Silk, a youth or­ga­ni­za­tion formed by Wil­lis, men­tors chil­dren with the goal of get­ting them some type of basketball schol­ar­ship for col­lege.

“We do SAT prep cour­ses, send the young men on col­lege tours but the main goal is to make sure these kids get a schol­ar­ship in basketball on any level,” Wil­lis said.

“These guys love basketball,” Gil­more said.

Ac­cord­ing to Gil­more, be­fore play­ers com­mit to The Bal­ti­more Lords of War, they must make sure they are fin­ished with col­lege or have no plans on go­ing to col­lege.

Once play­ers sign the semi-pro basketball league con­tract, it for­feits the play­ers op­por­tu­nity to play in col­lege, he noted.

All play­ers must be 19 years or older in or­der to play.

Play­ers are only re­quired to sign a one year con­tract, Gil­more ex­plained, “be­cause the goal is to get them out of here.”

“We want this to be a step­ping stone, an ac­tual segue to get these guys out of the city,” he added.

Ac­cord­ing to Gil­more, the team lead­ers don’t want to keep the play­ers for­ever.

“We want them to take larger op­por­tu­ni­ties as the come,” he noted.

Get­ting the play­ers con­tracts to play over­seas or in some type of pro­fes­sional arena is the ul­ti­mate goal.

“Even if the play­ers don’t leave, we want to grow this team large enough that these guys can quit their jobs, play full-time and sup­port their fam­i­lies,” Gil­more said.

The Bal­ti­more Lords of War’s shoot­ing guard, Gar­ri­son Lamb, has been play­ing basketball since he was eight years old.

His brother plays pro­fes­sional basketball over­seas.

Although Lamb has a de­gree in in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, he hasn’t been able to find a job in his field, so, he’s hope­ful that play­ing pro­fes­sional basketball will open up new op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“I like pro-ball, I like the team,” Lamb ex­plained, “I want to do things I’m not com­fort­able with.”

Ac­cord­ing to Lamb, he wants to go as far as pos­si­ble with basketball and pos­si­ble play over­seas.

“I’m sup­per grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity and I want to give them [the team] as much as I can,” Lamb said.

The Bal­ti­more Lords of War will be play­ing their first game, against a team from New York, on Nov. 3.

COUR­TESY PHOTO

The Bal­ti­more Lords of War take group pic­ture with their coaches

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